Product & Feature

How online booking transforms the experience of public services

25 May, 2022

Understanding how a digital shift in the public sector after the pandemic is transforming the customer experience of public services

How booking software transforms the experience of public services

The pandemic has permanently changed the nature of customer relations.

Both private and public sectors have been forced to focus on how to deliver digital services in an effective and convenient way for customers forced online for the majority of products and services.

While the private sector mostly improved existing digital services, the public sector has been forced to fully commit to digitising processes and experiences which have long been rooted in face-to-face interactions. 

“The private sector has driven the acceleration of digitisation to benefit customer experiences and people now expect Government services to do the same. This was already true before the pandemic, but now Covid-19 has fast-tracked people’s expectations of digital than ever before… this is the moment to supercharge efforts to rethink how we deliver public services to take advantage of digital technologies.”

Public confidence in accessing digital public services skyrockets during pandemic, but there’s still work to be done - techUK

For some public organisations this has meant digital transformations have finally been prioritised and embraced, leading to some transformational changes in the sector.

Below we analyse some of those changes and how they can be applied to any public sector organisation with TIMIFY’s digital appointment management software.

24-hour access to services

Most commercial companies have long since discarded the “please call back during opening hours” approach, with the ability to book services or experiences online around the clock and even conduct appointments or events virtually.

In addition, chat bots and social media channels are well established for out-of-hours support. while customers can cancel or reschedule meetings online.

This is starting to be adopted by the public sector, with appointment booking more frequently offered online and alongside better online support.

Resource Management

Public services frequently require in-person appointments, often in conjunction with specialist staff and equipment. This poses a huge challenge for management of both human and non-human resources.

Management structures in the public sector are often more fractured than private firms, with different departments or locations having different processes and more autonomy.

Assigning resources across a complex network of departments and appointments can be a nightmare, which is why many commercial companies use an appointment management software like TIMIFY.

A system which can automatically assign staff to events or appointments, reserve equipment and rooms, and instantly update changes in a shared calendar ensures accurate resource allocation and eradicates double bookings.

Transform drop-in services

Drop-in appointments continue to play a major part of many public organisations’ operations – though overcrowded waiting areas and long delays can deter clients from engaging with services, often to their own detriment.

TIMIFY’s virtual queuing system allows drop-in arrivals to quickly select their desired service, receive the next available appointment slot and monitor their wait time from a smartphone.

This gives clients the freedom to wait for an appointment away from your premises, and only return when their appointment is due to be called.

Waiting times update in real-time, while clients can leave the queue from their phone. Cancelled slots immediately become available for other drop-in clients.

The result of such convenience means clients are far more likely to engage with new digital services as word-of-mouth spreads, while the pandemic has opened many eyes to the benefits of high quality automation.

​​​​​​​60 percent [of people surveyed] …felt more confident accessing public services online than they were before Covid-19, and 75 percent said they would feel comfortable accessing digital public services via their smartphone, suggesting an opportunity gap that exists between people’s current usage and their openness towards engaging fully with future digital public services”

Public confidence in accessing digital public services skyrockets during pandemic, but there’s still work to be done - techUK

​​​​​​​Harness the power of data

In the public sector, organisations already have the quality and quantity of data on its users that most private sector firms can only dream of.

The problem is that it’s held on different systems, digital and paper-based, across sprawling departments and disconnected public bodies.

TIMIFY streamlines and standardises data collection, alongside an extensive insights system to benefit everything from appointment experiences to data-driven organisational change.

“Digitisation can foster the delivery of smarter public services through allowing organisations to make better use of the data they hold. This can translate into improvements in the way information is displayed – allowing public sector practitioners to make evidence-based decisions – and into improvements in the detection and prediction of issues”

Digital public services: What’s next? –

Online application forms can be customised across different services to gather data exactly how it is required, in a common format.

Use it to speed up appointment booking by pre-populating forms, setting reminders for certain customer groups and ensuring front-line staff are pre-prepared for every client.

Meanwhile, the centralised insights engine offers a huge variety of custom metrics, from most-popular services, peak times, cancellation rates or pinch points on resources.


About the author


TIMIFY is a global leader in scheduling and resource management software-as-a-service (Saas). It is known for its sophisticated, secure, and customisable enterprise-focused technology.