Adapting to the ‘New Normal’ of bookings with Stopford

You hear the phrase ‘New Normal’ a lot coming out of lockdown. Whether it’s referring to the priority placed on smaller gatherings and the guaranteed presence of hand sanitiser, or the remote conferencing revolution and home working, no one is without some change to their life before the pandemic.

Services relying on bookings are no different, with new challenges being posed from changes to their traditional service delivery, the restart of some booking types, their ability to adapt to the online landscape, and other pandemic related factors.

While other companies may talk about rising to meet the challenge or acting decisively, Stopford have been making a number of functional innovations to our software to help our customers adjust to the new normal.

Today we lay out 3 objectives for services post-lockdown and how we’ve adapted our solutions to those face those challenges.

Minimising Direct Contact –

The Challenge:

Social distancing measures and more recently the recommendation of masks in some locations give a similar message – close contact can lead to the spread of COVID. Whether it’s meeting rooms or office spaces, not all services and locations have the room or processes in place to support social distancing or restrict the number of necessary contact points within the existing user journey. Minimising spread through reduced contact adaptions and thoughtful journey design will benefit both users and staff alike.

How we’ve responded:

Mobile Check-in: Currently available for agenda for registrars and to be rolled out in future across all solutions, Mobile Check-in was created with the intention controlling the flow of visitors in register offices, preventing queues and removing the need for face-to-face contact in reception for check in. By moving the process to digital, users could transition from arrival to waiting room in a couple of clicks from their mobile device, no direct contact required.

Online Copy Certificate Purchase: Collaborating with our registration partners, we’ve helped make the online booking process an all-inclusive journey; facilitating the purchase of certificates for some councils online in order to resume the offering offering despite the circumstances. Alternatively, we have worked with a number of councils to better signpost different methods of purchasing certificates, including text directing users to make copy certificate purchases during their telephone appointment. These adaptions have allowed services remain accessible for residents, while reducing the need for face-to-face certificate purchase.

Emphasising maximum booking numbers and ticket allocation: For the booking of meeting rooms and attraction tickets, we highlighted the use of maximum booking and ticket allocation limits to users. This has allowed services to more actively consider how many people they would like at their location at any one time and factor in safety as part of their reopening strategy.

Reducing Appointment Backlogs –

The Challenge:

At the beginning of lockdown the increasing threat of infection warranted the discontinuation of several appointment based services to best manage the increase in demand for death registrations. With many restrictions now lifted, appointment types including birth registration and notice of marriage are becoming slowly reinstated, with a significant backlog of parents and couples waiting. Determining how to best manage this backlog and catch up on these appointments is crucial to returning services to normal.

How we’ve responded:

Priority Birth Appointment Allocation: Working alongside a number of councils, we have been able to set council approved appointment timeframes in which people with a birth within lockdown can be prioritised for an appointment. This will ensure those with births within the earliest parts of lockdown can create bookings faster, and that registration services can record births in the most timely manner possible.

Notice Document Vetting: With notice appointments set to resume, an increasing amount of pressure will be placed on registrars due to the time needed to verify various required documentation. With this in mind, Stopford created a new Notice Document Vetting feature, enabling couples to submit their mandatory documentation via a secure link for approval/rejection; enabling appointments to be more quickly completed and greater time efficiency to be gained.

Modifying Service Delivery –

The Challenge:

It’s safe to say the intended service delivery processes of many organisations have been greatly interrupted. Whether it’s been via lockdown or general safety concerns, services have had to adapt fast to keep vital services running in the face of the unexpected climate.

How we’ve responded:

Telephone Appointment Booking: With the GRO turning towards telephone appointments for death registrations in late March, the landscape for conducting and booking appointments was drastically changed. To bridge the gap and enable as many registration services as possible to successfully transition to telephone appointment bookings, we unveiled our free telephone appointment system. Designed to enable appointments via phone call to be booked online with ease and offer registrars features tailored to assist throughout the process, bookings made via telephone were minimised and pressure on contact centres were reduced significantly.

Notice Document Vetting: In a time of high demand for appointments due to the post-lockdown backlog, one of the challenges presented to registrars is streamlining appointment process to maximise appointment efficiency. For Notice appointments in particular, reviewing and scanning a host of documents can require significant time from staff when done in-person at the appointment. agenda for registrars’ Notice Document Vetting module aims to change this, reducing appointment times and increasing time efficiency by allowing users to upload their required documents online. By adding this self-serve option, registrars can review the digital copies online and simply review the physical documents upon arrival.

Want to know more about Stopford’s COVID-19 response features? Get in touch via the contact form here.