The Prince William County court system in Virginia is home to over 470,000 residents, many of whom face an increasingly common problem in counties across the United States – lack of convenient access to government services.
Prince William County residents regularly take an entire day off work to complete essential government business during limited business hours. Recognizing the need to make these services accessible for everyone, court officials in the community turned to Advanced Kiosks to find a solution that allows citizens to handle their business on their time.
“Our ultimate goal is to allow customers access to essential court services outside of regular business hours, said Clerk of Court Jacqueline Smith. In our community, we have one courthouse centrally located in the county. Still, for people who live on one side or the other, if they don’t have reliable transportation, it takes them up to 3.5 hours to get here by bus.”
With Office Extension 2.0, residents can access essential court services outside of court office hours at times convenient for them. Once fully rolled out, the six self-service kiosks will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and accessible in both the courts and the local public library.
What is Office Extension 2.0?
Office Extension 2.0 is the kiosk solution that helps courts and government agencies across the country save time and resources by automating court services such as:
- Marriage licensing
- Gun permits
- Pay traffic violations
- Notary oath
- and more!
By automating these tasks with the self-service documentation kiosk, residents avoid taking entire days off from work to practice their fundamental rights as citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Instead, residents can access one of the documentation kiosks, accessible within the court complex, for court services after business hours end and on the weekend.
How Office Extension 2.0 Does Good Business During Covid
When the Covid-19 pandemic swept the nation in March 2020, court officials recognized that adjustments to their daily processes were needed to ensure court services would remain available to residents for the pandemic duration.
“Before Covid, we were a completely open office, and that meant we didn’t have any disease protection, said Smith. In the beginning, I think people felt comforted working with the kiosks because it limited that human-to-human contact. People who are still reluctant to have face-to-face interaction have an option to go to the kiosks. I have not seen anybody reluctant to use the kiosks because of concerns of cleanliness.”
To ensure Prince William County Courts comply with CDC guidelines, the staff at the court disinfect the kiosks between customers and have supplied disinfecting stations throughout the complex for citizens visiting the court.
To date, the customer response has been overwhelmingly positive and provides peace of mind to residents as the pandemic continues.
Results That Deliver
Office Extension 2.0 is a modern solution to many outdated processes. Still, like many forms of technology, the risk of technological failure due to improper installation or messy engineering is a concern many customers understandably have.
“We employ a lot of technology in the office, and there’s always hiccups and glitches, says Smith. We’ve had none of that with Advanced Kiosks. They have thought through everything; While it was not quite plug and play, it’s about as close to plug and play as a kiosk could be. I’ve been so impressed!”
Office Extension 2.0 is easy to use and self-guided for each customer. The menu is customizable to the needs of your specific court and residents and designed to your liking.
“To have a kiosk that somehow communicates with every kind of user in a meaningful way, whether they’re the Android people, the iPhone people, or the no technology people. It’s amazing to me how flawless it’s been.”
In addition to allowing customers to do business themselves, one of the biggest game-changers for Prince William County has been the ability to offer services to community members who do not speak English as their first language.
“If they have language separation, customers can go on the kiosk and utilize our online tools that will communicate with them in their language and help them understand better than our employees could,” said Smith.
Overall, residents’ response in Prince William County has been positive, with one of the most notable pieces of feedback coming from within the court itself.
“The most notable feedback is the chief judge and clerk of one of the lower courts came upstairs to look at the kiosks and said, ‘we need these.’ Smith said. I have been in this position for three years, and the chief judge has never come up here previously. People are talking!”
In the short-term, the kiosks have satisfied the immediate needs of its residents. In the long-term, the expectation is to expand the availability of the kiosks to meet demand.
“Long-term, the kiosks are going to allow everyone in the population to exercise their fundamental rights, and right now, we can’t necessarily say that people can do that, said Smith. I don’t think there’s any greater thing that any piece of technology could do for us right now than to allow people to access those systems without any burden.”