News : City Hall Opens the Door to Better Customer Service
July 3, 2014 -- The city hall lobby may never be someone’s idea of a place to hang out, but thanks to renovations, customer service will be the name of the game the moment people walk in the front door.
City hall’s renovated lobby was unveiled on Wednesday (July 2) following a month of renovation work that created not only a more inviting space, but a more functional one as well.
Described by Mayor Joni Baechler as "an important first step for Service London," the renovated lobby offers residents better access to the more than 100 services currently being offered by the city.
"We want a city hall that functions better. The lobby now functions as a concierge centre, a front door to city hall, which hasn’t happened," Baechler said. "It is a much-needed change. It was come to city hall and try to find your councillor, try to find the service representative that could assist you. Now, we are here to service customers right at the front door."
The Service London initiative is focused on "improving the customer experience," Baechler said, by reducing red tape, providing navigational support and a single entry point, particularly for business customers. It was back in April that council approved the next steps associated with the Service London initiative, including the lobby renovations.
Through the use of modular system walls and furniture, the lobby area now offers enhanced seating capacity and collaborative work and meeting spaces equipped with access to power and data.
Upgrades include a more energy efficient LED lighting syste , enhancements to the heating system, and a front counter that includes a point of sale system that will now allow customers to — among many other things — pay their taxes without ever leaving the lobby.
Business customers will now have the on-site assistance of a city planner to support their needs. Through what city manager Art Zuidema called "an unprecedented collaboration" the city is working with a number of partners to expanded availability of service.
Rosanna Wilcox, manager of Service London, said the new lobby space embodies what the city is striving for with its shift to a more customer-focused mentality.
"I think that embodies what we are striving for, shifting the way we provide service, a more collaborative approach," Wilcox said. "We don’t want people to feel they are coming to one door to be sent to another door. There is now a no-wrong-door policy."
Partners include Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, London Economic Development Corporation, London Fire Department, London Police Service, Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour, Middlesex-London Health Unit, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Small Business Centre.
People can now pick up everything from planning applications and 911 stickers for taxis to bus tickets and pet licenses.
The city is planning an official open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on July 21.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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