As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many government agencies turned to virtual meetings to continue serving constituents amid social distancing requirements. Health and human services caseworkers, parole officers, building inspectors and more leveraged video platforms to connect with their clients and deliver the valuable services the public relies on. Even after the pandemic ends, these virtual services are here to stay due to the fact that they’ve resulted in improved access and a more convenient process for constituents.
Government agencies now have an opportunity to capitalize on this innovative service delivery model by making it permanent, but they need technologies to efficiently do so. At SADA, we found that as our clients moved away from traditional physical locations, whether for safety, convenience, or cost reasons, they were struggling to find innovative solutions to offer services virtually. Many solutions are difficult to set up, expensive, and unintuitive. To better support these customers, SADA is excited to announce the launch of a Virtual Appointment Scheduling Tool (VAST) powered by Google Cloud. VAST is a secure, convenient and affordable solution that enables government and public sector agencies to offer a high-level of service virtually. The solution consists of an online virtual scheduling tool for managing and supporting virtual appointments and a chatbot to provide automated support outside of appointments. VAST enables you to:
- Streamline the scheduling of virtual meetings for constituents and your staff
- Simplify administration and workforce deployment
- Apply analytics to better understand gaps in your services
Your one-stop shop for digital scheduling needs
VAST enables constituents to schedule appointments with the relevant department they are seeking to meet their needs. Functioning as a one-stop shop for digital scheduling, it integrates with employee calendars and video-communication tools to allow citizens and employees to coordinate and communicate virtually.
The chatbot provides 24×7 support to constituents via Google’s state-of-the art Contact Center AI (CCAI) technology. Not only does the CCAI chatbot understand the intent of the user and serve up relevant content, but it also offers multi-language support. With the ability to easily add new intents and questions, and the ability to run at Google-scale, it provides users with an excellent self-service experience.
When paired together, SADA’s online virtual scheduling tool and Google Cloud’s CCAI Chatbot provide a seamless way for citizens to find the information or get the support they need, whether virtually or through an automated tool.
VAST offers a variety of benefits for public sector organizations
It’s no secret that government and public sector organizations have a reputation for inefficiency and slow pace. VAST turns these commonly held assumptions on their head by providing an easy, consistent experience for citizens that need to connect with government workers virtually. It simplifies the scheduling of virtual sessions between applicants and counselors (case/appointment managers or employees), and it provides a 24/7 chatbot to answer the most common questions applicants may have, with up to 2 languages. In addition, VAST provides a secure way to enable collaboration by leveraging existing investments (e.g. Google Workspace / Chromebooks).
Our client, the State of Arizona, is using VAST to better serve its citizens. In response to statewide shutdowns in March of 2020, Arizona’s unemployment rate skyrocketed. In late fall of 2020, Tim Tucker, Director of Workforce Development for the Arizona Department of Economic Security, started preparing for an influx of candidates re-entering the workforce and began working with SADA to deploy VAST. Tim knew that in order to properly serve the citizens of the State of Arizona, he would need a tool that would allow them to easily book an appointment, upload corresponding documents and forms, and conduct career counseling virtually. VAST speeds up the scheduling process, gets Arizona’s constituents the information they need faster, and reduces the burden on the agency.
SADA can get you up and running on VAST quickly
You’ll be happy to hear that VAST only takes approximately six weeks to deploy, meaning you’ll be up and running quickly. Our experts will design and develop the VAST application for you, working with your organization to align the tool’s functionality to meet your unique needs. VAST is designed to support the following functionality and user types:
- Applicants (customers/citizens) are able to go into their interface and see the public-facing section of the booking application. They’ll be able to see things like when appointments are available or what types of documentation they may need to provide for the appointment.
- On the agency side, Counselors (case/appointment managers or employees) are able to easily see the interface and manage their calendar and upcoming appointments and contact applicants for outstanding documentation.
- The Application Administrator side has a higher level of control, and they have access to analytics that enable them to better understand what their constituents’ needs are and where requests are coming from. The ability to analyze this data empowers the organization to respond to the needs of citizens in a very timely manner.
SADA will also develop the chatbot and embed it in your website. We’ll work with you to understand the frequently asked questions (FAQs) your organization receives and incorporate the answers into the chatbot’s responses. This process will ensure that the chatbot provides accurate and current information to users. In addition, we’ll provide training for adding new FAQs and updating existing ones, allowing you to easily maintain the chatbot after the project is completed.