You may have heard us talk before about the amazing results our friends at Cabarrus County Department of Human Services (DHS) have seen since redesigning their lobby, upgrading technology, and modernizing business processes. Now, we’re also sharing the nitty gritty details behind how Cabarrus County made the project—and its resulting success—happen.
The short story: Cabarrus County DHS transformed its lobby from chaos to calm. Changes that reduced frustration, improved lobby flow, and sped up timely application processing have helped save caseworkers 1-2 hours per day, meaning they have more time to focus on helping people in need.
So, how exactly did they achieve these results? During a recent Webinar hosted by APHSA featuring a panel from Cabarrus County’s Income Maintenance unit, we received a ton of questions from attendees wanting to know the specifics. How many windows does the lobby have? What system was used to capture the client wait time? How long did it take to implement the new process in the lobby? How much has productivity increased?
We added 10 bonus slides to the Webinar spelling out the specifics, You can access the full deck here or scroll through the Q&A portion below:
How do you staff the greeter? Are your greeters trained/certified caseworkers or can you use staff trained specifically for greeter tasks?
We staff the position with one FTE Income Maintenance Caseworker I (several staff are trained). Greeters are certified caseworkers trained in basic eligibility policy for SNAP and Medicaid. Caseworker Is are cross trained to work at the front desk, call center, and as greeter.
Is your greeter more of a triage station that redirects customers or do they have the ability to answer questions and take actions?
The greeter is more of a triage station that redirects clients.
How does the greeter get the clients to the worker? How is the worker identified? Is this a round robin process?
The worker is identified through a notification in Compass® Appointments from Northwoods. The round robin process is used for walk-in clients. The system automatically selects the next available caseworker based on availability.
What system was used to capture the client wait time when they entered the lobby?
Compass Appointments captures wait time because the client's check-in time and the time when the worker starts the appointment are tracked.
How do clients identify themselves on the wait board?
When a client checks in, the greeter puts the client into a pre-determined queue based on the reason for their visit. The queues feed the lobby monitors where the client can see the order to be seen.
Is the customer served in real-time for redeterminations and case changes at the window?
Caseworker 1s are making basic changes and conducting SNAP interviews at the window and assuring the client has all the necessary documentation. Reports are available to determine the average time for the various queue types.
How long did it take to implement the new process in the lobby? From analysis to implementation?
The implementation took about six months, which included the reconfiguration of Compass Appointments.
How much has productivity increased?
We reallocated the FTE previously handling the manual process to processing mail. CWIs previously doing the mail are able to assist with more eligibility related duties. CWIIs have increased productivity with improved processes for routing clients, identifying clients with late recertifications and applications to ensure interviews are conducted and verifications are gathered.
What was the waiting time prior to the lobby improvements? What is the wait time now?
We do not have data for prior to implementation. The wait time from the queue to being seen at the window is 3.6 minutes.
Why did the county need Northwoods to provide help improving the lobby flow? What wasn't the county able to do without help from Northwoods?
Northwoods has a team, called the Complex Solutions Group, that has previous experience and expertise in understanding human services processes. The Northwoods team was able to observe processes from an outside perspective to identify opportunities for improvement.