In the first half of the year, I had the pleasure of visiting a Queensland Department Of Transport office. I turned up in my lunch break, with the expectation that I’d be in and out in a jiffy. What I was confronted with was an automatic ticketing system which seemed to be at a stand still and an ever growing number of people. The swift expectation was shot down when 20, 40, 60 and 80 minute markers lapsed while waiting to get served.
With the previous experience under my belt, I arrived at the Department Of Transport on Friday morning at about 7.40am. As expected, the office wasn’t open yet and it didn’t open until about 8.30am. What I couldn’t believe was that there was someone there before me! In the next hour, another fifteen people turned up to get in the door when it opened. Once the doors opened, the stream of people was unrelenting and by about 8.45am, there would have been close to 50 people waiting to get served.
When waiting for the office to open, I chatted to a man who works near by. He informed me that it was normal to have lines of people at that hour and that it got worst. Apparently in the 9am to 10am window, there are close to 100 people waiting in their office. To help with processing, there were two people in the public area of the office, trying to shuffle fast service queries through. The last time I was there, it was very busy but this was unbelievable. I wonder what it must be like in the lunch hour period now?
I think this experience has become common in many service industries. Companies and employers are trying to decrease costs but at the same time, they are frustrating their customers. You can turn up to nearly any bank, any time of the day to find the same scenario – 15 tellers and only 3 of them are active. Meanwhile, the queues continue to grow and customers become more and more frustrated.
It surprises me that more companies aren’t turning to technology to ease the pressure. A vast portion of queries that people go to an office can be done online or voice prompted over the phone. To me, it’s about working smart, putting resources where you get the best return. Having a good quality, clear and functional website would reduce load on these offices by significant percentages. A normal website can service hundreds, even thousands of requests per second – no matter what sized offices you had, it’d be impossible to match those figures. The numbers are compelling, so what’s stopping them?