The Hall County Tax Commissioner’s Office has added a new information table to its lobby as the first step in an effort to improve customer service.
The table, which is manned by bilingual receptionist Gabriela Munoz-Vazquez, is designed to provide customers with the correct information and paperwork before they wait in line.
The new title ad valorem tax that went into effect March 1 has caused a large increase in customers and consequently wait times. The table is partly a response to the increasingly untenable situation and to the office’s shrinking budget.
“Since the TAVT law went into effect, we have seen a significant increase in our lines,” said Tax Commissioner Darla Eden.
“It takes approximately five to eight minutes to process the forms and many people wouldn’t have the right paperwork.
“The information table helps customers make sure they have the right documents and paperwork before they have to wait in line.”
The tax commissioner’s office had $122,684 cut from its budget this year, approximately 9 percent from the previous year’s. The tightened budget caused the office to look for cheaper solutions.
“We already had all the materials we needed for the table and we redirected a employee to operate it,” Eden said. “It has been there for about two weeks and so far it’s been worth it.
“Our goal is to reduce all wait times to 15 minutes or less.”
The tax commissioner’s office serves a wide range customers and situations. Another goal of the new table is to provide a welcoming environment.
“By nature the tax office can be an intimidating place. Some of our customers have been here before but many are new. We want everyone to be greeted with a friendly face,” Eden said.
The commissioner’s office is also debuting a new communications and call center in early July. The center will redirect four employees to answer telephone calls and emails while processing renewals during down time. It will require those seeking information about the TAVT to listen to a short recording answering common questions before they talk to an operator.
“We have a few other possible ideas to improve customer service that are still being discussed,” Eden said.
Some of the ideas being considered are a new kiosk in the lobby of the Hall County Government Center, an updated website and social media accounts that would provide current wait times, upcoming events and information on deadlines.
In the meantime, Eden recommends residents subscribe to Hall County’s monthly newsletter for information on the Tax Commissioner’s Office. Go to www.hallcounty.org to subscribe.