Case Study – Customer Flow and Queuing in Hennepin County
Minnesota is one of the few states in the USA where human services programs and services are State supervised and County administered. Within Hennepin County these are managed by the Human Services and Public Health Department (HSPHD). The HSPHD provide an array of social, safety net and public health services including more than 80 programs in 22 service areas.
Over the past decade, Hennepin County has become more diverse and the human service and public health needs of its residents have changed. At the same time there have been significant policy and financing changes at the federal and state levels that have greatly affected how the organization does its work.
In response to these and other challenges, the Human Services and Public Health Department (HSPHD) examined the long-term, strategic priorities for their organization. One of their priorities was to implement a queuing system in their customer-facing services divisions, namely the Social Services and Public Health portions of their business.
Hennepin County HSPHD released an RFP with the intention of purchasing a queuing and reporting solution that would be able to:
- Maintain a tracking mechanism for clients in each area of the building so that they are served in an efficient manner.
- Provide a mechanism for visually reporting the number of transactions, what services clients are seeking and wait and transaction times in the lobbies.
- Offer clients a more comfortable and relaxed environment while they wait for services.
- Incorporate case assignment into the client monitoring process.
- Provide a mechanism to educate clients about services in their building as well as throughout the County.
- Find a single web-based queuing system that could be used at multiple sites simultaneously.
- Capture and transfer important client data using Web navigation and integration.
- Implement a system with commercially available software with as little customization and software development as possible (to save revenue).
- Provide reports that capture information mandated by the State of Minnesota such as Interpretive Services and Expedited Food Support.
After a lengthy RFP process, Q-nomy, Inc. was selected as the customer flow and queuing vender for the project. Once the project was awarded, Q-nomy worked with HSPHD management to configure the software, source the hardware and set up a deployment schedule. Q-nomy technicians arrived onsite for installation, user training and system launch. Some of the system features, implemented by the county, included:
- Customer Data: Ability for attendants to enter detailed customer information into the system at the time of customer queue entry.
- Unlimited Categories of Service: Support of more than 150 service types allowing customers to be routed to the appropriate customer service counters.
- Self-Serve Features: Allow customers to find the appropriate service type and join the right queue.
- Customer Routing: Delivered an assessment tool that can direct clients to the correct areas.
- Client Assignment: Ability to assign applicant interviews to teams according to language needs, specialty and balanced work loads.
- Customer Direction: Broadcast system that calls client by number in English in 4 different zones.
- Basic Queuing Functions: Recall customers from the same queue, transfer to additional counters, etc.
- Historical Reporting Capabilities: Keeping track of, monitoring and reporting functions based on wait times, transaction times, and performance of the entire system, individual departments and personnel.
- Remote Management: Ability to generate real time and historical reports from anywhere on the network.
- Service Prioritization: Configurable controls for setting service priorities and rerouting customers when needed based on customer wait times and available staffing.
- Managerial Controls: Support multiple administrator level sign-on capabilities for individual departments to control customer routing.
- Alert Notifications: Audio and visual alarm notifications when customer wait and/or service time goals have been exceeded (thresholds).
- Third Party Report Capability: Compatible with and provides appropriate interfaces to other ad-hoc report writing tools.
- Email Notification of Staff: Capability of notifying 40 cubicle workers at their desks that clients are here to see them through email Lotus Notes E-mail system.
Q-nomy fully trained the 700 user staff and was able to launch the system in one week’s time. The Q‑Flow solution provided by Q-nomy both met and exceeded the complex needs of the Hennepin County HSPHD.