Järfälla Municipality Cut No-Show Meetings by 80% Using SMS Reminders
With a population of 75,000 residents, Järfälla Municipality is an average-sized municipality within Stockholm County. It is the responsibility of Social Services in Järfälla to care for the well-being of municipality residents. This job is hard to do when clients often don’t show up to their booked meetings. In order to remedy this problem, and thus make the work that Järfälla Municipality carries out more efficient, they realized they needed to find a solution that would help them get people to attend as many scheduled meetings as possible.
Hans Berkvall, Business Developer, is the project manager for digital development within Järfälla Municipality. He received the tasked of finding a solution that would help Social Services reduce the number of no-shows for scheduled meetings. Because this involves clients who need government support, it’s not just about making the best use of case workers’ time. Vulnerable residents in need of government help are also directly affected by making meeting booking more effective and efficient, because the municipality has more capacity to get them the help they need.
“We needed a new solution for two main reasons. First, these meetings involve some degree of secrecy, which means that case workers cannot handle them by email. Another reason was that the administrators were experiencing an enormous amount of no-shows for meetings they had scheduled. In the end, this meant that it was costing both time and money when case workers, along with costly translators, were booked for meetings that didn’t end up happening,” says Hans Berkvall.
Case Workers’ Needs Form the Basis of a Pilot Study
With the aim to improve services for citizens and case workers, as well as to reduce the number of no-show meetings, Järfälla Municipality hired an external consultant to conduct a pilot study. In this study, they looked at how other organizations, public and private, handle the problem of no-shows for important meetings.
“When our case workers demanded that we find a better solution, we started looking at how others handled similar issues. Dentist appointments, and slots for test drives at car dealerships both provided good examples for how we could handle our own meeting booking,” says Hans Berkvall.
After this initial research, Järfälla Municipality looked at the options the market had to offer.
LEKAB’s Solution – the Perfect Fit for Järfälla Municipality
When Järfälla Municipality hired a consultant to complete their pilot study, that consultant introduced them to LEKAB’s SMS-based solution. When presented with LEKAB’s offering, Hans Berkvall recognized that they’d found the right solution!
“LEKAB presented a solution that offered SMS reminders sent directly from Outlook, which was perfect for our needs. The other players we looked at were just not workable for our IT environment.”
The next step was a test project done by the Social Services department, where 150 case workers started using SMS confirmations and SMS reminders before meetings.
Successful Implementation, Despite Järfälla’s Closed IT Environment
Implementing new systems and tools can often prove challenging. In the public sector, such as municipalities, that challenge can be even more complicated.
“You shouldn’t under estimate the work it takes to implement new IT solutions, especially when you don’t own the system. We have a relatively closed environment where we don’t have much flexibility to do what we want, in terms of adding new applications and systems. That can make our the job considerably more difficult,” says Hans Berkvall.
The project of implementing LEKAB’s tool for Järfälla Municipality has, according to to Hans Berkvall, been an clear success.
“Our personell who use the tool to improve client attendance to their booked meetings are very happy. Digital natives have taken to the tool very easily. We have a ways to go with older case workers, who’ve struggled more getting used to the new system. To make that easier, we’ve given them internet courses and cheat sheets that they can use.”
Using LEKAB’s Tool has Made a Huge Difference
Since the Social Services department started using the new solution via an Outlook integration, the positive results have come quickly. By using the tool to send SMS confirmations to clients who book meetings, as well as SMS reminders 24 hours before the meeting is to take place, the number of no-show meetings has dropped by 80%.
“The results have been fantastic! These are clients who need to be at their scheduled meetings in order to get the economic support they need. But they are also often facing multiple challenges that make it easy to forget that they have a meeting booked. Integrating SMS reminders into our process has let us improve our impact on the parts of our community that need help,” says Hans Berkvall.
With their new communication solution, Järfälla Municipality has made case workers’ days more efficient, and improved the services and access to support they’re able to give to their residents.