We all know that queuing has long been an intrinsic part of British culture. In fact, Brits are infamous for it worldwide. The stereotype is so widespread that there are many well-known phrases that include the word queue, which are part of the English language. However, following a recent announcement by the Minister for Employment, it seems that ‘joining the dole queue’ could soon be one phrase consigned to the past.
The Government is investing in a major digital revamp at more than 700 Jobcentres across the country. The move will see old-fashioned ways of ‘signing on’, job cards in the window and the dole queue scrapped, and replaced with more hi-tech solutions, including around 23,000 electronic signing pads, free wi-fi and 6,000 job search computers.
Of course, the headlines have focused on the fact that this technological revolution will bring about an annual cost saving of £2m. However, here at Tensator, we are also interested to see the benefits the changes bring to jobseekers too. Thanks to the digital revamp, claimants will be able to access all the Jobcentre’s services from one device. The new computers will allow people to update their CV, look for suitable jobs and work out their benefits.
As tech pioneers ourselves, we believe this new approach is well positioned to overhaul the entire user experience at Jobcentres, making the process more efficient, engaging and innovative. Some may say it is long overdue for a sector that has long been tarnished with an old fashioned image, where long queues and lengthy waits have been considered the norm.
Of course, allowing users to take control of their own journey, albeit controlled and guided, frees up staff time and resources to focus on more complex enquiries.
The main thing to note is that the announcement brings about clear benefits for both the organisation in question and its customers. It is this fact that is closely aligned with Tensator’s own beliefs when it comes to the use of technology. Technological solutions should be used by companies to improve efficiency, profitability, and revenue while at the same time providing an enjoyable customer experience.
The golden rule is that technology should never be used just for technology’s sake. It needs to offer a viable solution to a problem or issue that makes life easier for all concerned and presents the potential for some form of growth – ideally financially or in terms of reputation.
Take the Tensator Virtual Assistant that we recently installed at the Grafton Shopping Centre in Cambridge as an example. From the customers’ point of view, it offers a convenient source for answers to frequently asked questions, general centre information and access to exclusive in-store offers. For retailers within the centre, it provides a new, innovative way to market to shoppers, with the potential to increase both footfall and dwell time.
The approach the Government is taking in relation to the Jobcentres reflects a trend we have seen in other sectors such as retail, the finance sector, public sector, transport and healthcare. The use of technology to create a hybrid online / offline experience is being implemented by a number of organisations to adapt to changing behaviours and expectations.
It is interesting to now see this approach filtering into other sectors too and we firmly believe it will continue. As a reflection of our technology driven lifestyle and culture, it is one trend that is here to stay.