Sonoma County Department of Human Services Remodels Lobby and Updates Technology to Better Serve Families and Safety Net Clients
"We wanted to improve the experience for our clients who come in person to sign up for Medi-Cal or CalFresh benefits," says Director Kim Seamans, County of Sonoma Human Services Department Economic Assistance Division. "With a caseload increase of 150% in just seven years, we hoped to lessen the time it took to complete an application, speak to the right eligibility worker, or get information. We also wanted to physically remodel our lobby to improve client comfort and streamline our processes through client flow. We hired InTelegy to help us reach those goals."
Sonoma County has been steadily improving its customer service since 2007, when they launched the Continuing Economic Assistance Service Center. From 2007-2014, the number of cases grew 150%. It was extremely challenging for staff to keep pace with this growth. The county needed to make it easier and more convenient for residents to obtain the benefits they needed. Sonoma County started with changing their business processes and installing new technology to improve customer service while also simultaneously handling the large volume of incoming cases. County officials were so committed to building a system that served clients well that they conducted a customer survey to determine the most urgent and desired changes. Since then, the county redesigned intake service and application processing as well as expanded their internal workload management system to more effectively improve work flow and efficiently service customers.
Perhaps most notably, Sonoma County remodeled and modernized its Human Services lobby. The team installed new floors, new windows, removed walls, simplified signage, and also added automated self-help stations for client check in. The bright and spacious lobby is now much more inviting for clients, and they can feel comfortable when they come into the facility. The overall objective of these changes was to put the ‘customer’ back into customer service, and to improve the dignity of the experience so that clients can more easily obtain needed benefits.
“Our updated lobby, new systems and more efficient processes have helped our division be more client-friendly,” said Seamans. "We continue to improve since these changes were completed."