In 2001 the Alachua County Tax Collector’s office had 64 employees, four computers, and no email. Since then, the agency has come a long way, growing to multiple offices serving more than 200,000 walk-in customers and processing over 265,000 web-based and postal transactions. Spurred along by a deep commitment to customer service and the knowledge that they couldn’t rely on instinct to scale, the Tax Collector’s office sought an expert in customer experience management. They wanted hard numbers, industry insight and a system to reduce customer wait times. They engaged ACF Technologies to design and deploy a citizen engagement platform based on Q-Flow® Queue Management System to achieve their objective.
The tipping point came when the office took responsibility for issuing driver’s licenses. Overnight, transaction volumes jumped 56% from 130,918 to 204,896. John Power and his team knew they needed to take action. Tax collector's offices already have notoriously long wait times. In some instances, wait times range from 45 minutes to 90 minutes per customer, with times as high as 3 hours being recorded. Like most tax collectors' offices, Alachua County deals with a broad range of transactions, from the simple issuing of hunting or fishing licenses to more complicated matters such as dealing with a revoked driver’s license. However, regardless of the transaction type, the Alachua team wanted to keep wait times below 10 minutes. To achieve their goal, Power knew they would need real-time insight into trends across their operations, including:
- The ability to evaluate staff training and ensure that customers are sent to appropriately skilled agents
- The ability to measure service times and understand how much time is deemed reasonable for a given transaction
- The ability to spot trends in wait times based on various factors, such as the time of day, the day of the week, the month of the year, all by the specific transaction
To address these obstacles, Alachua County joined forces with ACF Technologies to introduce the innovative Q-Flow® solution. This all-encompassing solution offers the following features:
With Q-Flow®, a customer checks in and the system assigns them a ticket routing them to an appropriately skilled agent. Further, they use Q-Flow® to shift staff between offices based on demand.
For instance, the Northwest office almost always had the shortest wait times. By moving agents from that office to other offices at peak times, all three locations can handle customers at roughly the same transaction time.
Testimony to the success of Alachua County’s initiative is evident in the average wait time for a cashier to process your transaction. On a normal day, the office handles 820 walk-in customers, each service time taking around six minutes. Other benefits include:
- Since implementing Q-Flow®, staff have been able to identify the busiest times. Wait times on Mondays and Fridays are the longest, averaging around nine to ten minutes, respectively, while wait times on Wednesdays are typically the shortest.
- The tax collector’s office website publishes real-time wait times for each of the three offices, giving customers easy access to up-to-date wait times.
- The ability for customers to make appointments has reduced waiting time significantly.
- Over 80% of customers received service within 15 minutes while 50% of those were within 5 minutes.
- Customer satisfaction was rated an average of 98%, transaction accuracy achieved an average of 99.8%, and workforce satisfaction attained an average of 90%.
- Consistently, costs have remained below budget and external audits are clean and error-free.