Why Cities Should Go Appointment-Based

March 24th 2022

There are many reasons why cities should switch to an appointment-based system for city services. Whether you’re a State, Province, City or County, an appointment-based system can vastly increase the efficiency of your services.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about appointment-based models and why they are more effective than walk-ins. Let’s explore!

What is an appointment-based system?

 

An appointment-based system refers to a service delivery model in which customers can make an appointment to access a service. Typically, an online booking site is used for this, but other channels such as call center or a Smart Kiosk can be used. Using an appointment approach can also allow for better help for walk-ins.

What is the difference between appointment-based and walk-in systems?

 

Walk-in systems allow customers to access services without making an appointment. Walk-in systems aren’t efficient because they can lead to long wait times and customers clogging up the service area.

Walk-in systems mean that you have no control over the arrival time of clients and your staff can quickly become inundated with requests for services. This can cause service delays, staff burnout and frustration from clients.

In contrast, an appointment-based system allows you to manage client demand by controlling the number of appointments available each day. You can control appointment times and lengths and can schedule a manageable workload for your staff. If you have less bookings than expected you can manage staff planning accordingly. If you in contrast become fully booked, you can easily release more times if your staff planning allows it.

What are the benefits of using an appointment-based approach?

 

An appointment-based system is more professional and client-focused than a walk-in system. When you make an appointment, you are committing to a time and date to provide the given services. This means that clients know when they will be served and aren’t left waiting in line.

Appointment-based systems also allow you to manage your resources more effectively. You don’t have to worry about having enough staff, as you are able to schedule staff to meet the appointment load of any given day. You can also ensure that you have the necessary resources available, such as forms, brochures and computers.

An appointment-based system allows you to provide a high level of customer service. By managing demand and controlling appointment times, you can ensure that clients are given the attention they deserve. You can also improve the safety of your queues – if any – as you’ll be able to set up for the predicted client load rather than just estimating.

Using appointments to connect residents with city services

 

Now that we’ve explored all the benefits of an appointment-based approach, how can we implement this to connect residents with city services?

Cities face unique challenges when providing city services. A walk-in approach can quickly cause city services to become overwhelmed, as clients can show up whenever they like. This means one day, you may have 3 clients, and the next 100 can show up.

Long wait times, queues, and frustrated clients are all common in walk-in systems. In contrast, an appointment-based system allows you to manage your resources and provide a high level of attentiveness to clients, allowing you to resolve more issues on the first visit.

Cities should use appointments to connect with residents and businesses, providing fair access to services in a way that will ensure they get the attention they deserve. An appointment-based approach can quickly reduce workload, staff frustration, wait times and service delays, which can only be good news for city residents.

Research shows that an appointment-based model that takes advantage of automated reminders sees a 29% reduction in no-shows. No-shows are costly for cities, as they represent time and resources that could have been used for other appointments.

All in all, switching to an appointment-based model is an excellent idea for city services.  It allows you to manage demand, provides a high level of customer service, and is more efficient than a walk-in system. Cities that do not currently use an appointment-based system should strongly consider making the switch.

Getting started with an appointment-based approach

 

Now that we’ve explored all the benefits of an appointment-based approach, you’re likely wondering how to switch to an appointment model.

The first step is to assess your current resources and needs. What type of appointments do you need? For example, would you like to offer appointments for utility services, business licenses, or parking permits?

Once you have an overview of the types of appointments you would like to offer, it’s time to start setting up the system. Your system needs to include a way for residents to make appointments and a system to manage appointments.

Since 67% of people prefer to book appointments online, it’s pivotal that you use online booking software. This will allow residents to book appointments from the comfort of their homes, and they can receive automatic reminders, so they don’t forget their appointment.

When looking for the right online booking system for your city, consider one that can integrate with your city’s existing systems. This will ensure that all your data is managed efficiently, reducing manual data entries.

During this time, you’ll also build your appointment schedule, create intake forms, and train your staff on how to use the system. It’s essential that you prepare your team in how to use the system, as they will need to utilize the system for scheduling appointments.

After this, you can then roll out your online booking system and start promoting it to clients. You want to emphasize the perks of using this system, including reduced wait times and more personalized service.

A Hybrid Model

In some cases, it will make sense to offer a hybrid model of appointments and walk-ins. This could be the case to eliminate the digital divide – where e.g. parts of a population do not have access to a computer or telephone. It should also cater to clients who did not know about the ability to book an appointment online.

How do you build the perfect hybrid model of appointments and walk-ins?

Meet FrontDesk

 

Ready to switch to an appointment-based model within your city, county, state or province? Meet FrontDesk, an online booking, queue and visitor management platform that can help you manage your appointments and resources.

FrontDesk can integrate with your existing systems, reducing data entries, manual processes etc. It also offers automatic reminders, letting residents know when their appointment is coming up. If you want to handle walk-ins FrontDesk’s queue management tool and smart kiosk is your main tool to deliver safe, efficient and inspiring customer service.

Get in contact with our team to schedule a demo today and see how FrontDesk can help your city run smoother and more efficiently!

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Key take-aways

  • Online bookings give staff an overview of the day
  • Online bookings free up resources for walk-ins
  • Manage staff resources and planning effectively
  • Get comprehensive data on where to optimize
  • Triage residents to the right channel – in-person or online service
  • Operate a hybrid model of appointments and walk-ins easily

Want to know more? Reach out today.

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