Local Government

Treasurer's Office gets more customer-friendly

Additional employees, new technology aim to shorten wait times

People wait in the hallway for their number to be called at the Linn County treasurer’s office at the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 29, 2016. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
People wait in the hallway for their number to be called at the Linn County treasurer’s office at the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 29, 2016. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — With a few new hires on the way and some new technology, the Linn County Treasurer’s Office is upping the ante when it comes to customer service.

Or, customer satisfaction, as county officials like Treasurer Sharon Gonzalez call it.

In her office, that means shortening the time it takes to complete services like paying fees or transferring vehicle titles and renewing license plate tags.

“We want people to flow in and out of here as quickly as possible,” she said.

For more than a year, Linn County officials have been working to improve customer satisfaction across the board in all county departments.

With more than 100,000 annual customers in 2015 and closer to 108,000 last year, the Treasurer’s Office, located in the Jean Oxley Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW, Cedar Rapids, is the county’s busiest department in terms of customers.

Sometimes lines are so long customers leave before they’re served.

To address that, employees have been cross-trained, but in addition, the Linn County Board of Supervisors this budget session granted the department an additional $170,000 to hire three new full-time employees to the more than 30-member staff.

One hire is being trained while the other two will be hired in July, Gonzalez said.

In addition, Gonzalez said the department has installed a computer desk at one of the office’s windows to allow the public access to the state tax and tags website, which is used to pay property tax fees and renew vehicle registration. Those services can be accessed at home, but Gonzalez said sometimes customers either don’t realize that or don’t have home access to a computer.

With that amenity in-house, some customers can skip the lines and take care of those needs themselves, she said.

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In a few months, the office looks to add an online feature to its website that allows customers the ability to see wait times for specific lines — depending on the service needed — in real-time from home.

“We want to cater as much as we can to their needs,” she said. “Our goal is to get our wait time down to as short as we can.”

Examples of enhanced customer service in other departments include cross-training county employees to better aid customers and streamlining the application process for new home building permits.

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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