For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
(H. L. Mencken)
The report presents the findings of a survey of major inland office walk-in clients. The objective of the study was to provide client input into some of the CIC Client Service Initiative projects within the context of the Treasury Board Service Improvement Initiative. The analysis is based on 284 questionnaires completed by clients who visited ten offices spread out from Halifax to Vancouver between October 11, 2000 and November 2, 2000; 28 in-depth interviews of clients were conducted at the same times and locations by the CIC project authority. Observations include:
- Visits to inland offices represent a small part of the service provided by CIC.
- Three quarters of walk-in clients came to the office without an appointment. Among them, more than one quarter came to the office after failing to obtain the service from the call centre. About one quarter of visits to inland offices can be traced back to not obtaining the service from the call centre (however, this represents only 4% of all calls handles by the call centres).
- While the availability of telephone access to the call centre from the waiting rooms is valued by some, considering the responses to this survey, it is unlikely to significantly improve access to services for walk-in clients.
- One third of clients indicated that they would like to have access to CIC services through the Internet. A majority of survey respondents did not find enough on the Internet to avoid the visit to the office. It is unlikely that Internet access from the waiting rooms will do much to improve access to services for walk-in clients.
- Walk-in clients were generally satisfied with the service they received. The ratings indicate a decent, albeit not stellar, level of service. Clients were most satisfied with staff fairness, competence and courtesy. They were least satisfied with office hours and accessibility for the disabled.
- Walk-in clients support the implementation of a formal comment and complaint system.
- Service in languages other than English and French is not perceived as a crucial issue by most walk-in clients.
- Based on the joint analysis of levels of satisfaction and of the importance clients attach to various service features, to improve overall client satisfaction, the most effective service improvements would deal with: clients' perceptions of staff helpfulness and the availability of information.
- In brief, the issue of access to services, as perceived through the lens of the walk-in clients, is not primarily about waiting time to get telephone service or physical access to in-land offices. It is about getting the information sought for and accessing staff who display a helping culture.
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