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Low-Cost, No-Cost & Doable: Improving the RIDOH Customer Service Experience

Leah McPhail and Mike Simoli - the Rhode Island Department of Health

“If someone’s taking the time to bus, walk or drive to the department, pay to park at a meter and made their way into the building, then they deserve the fastest, quickest service possible.” When tasked with creating his Innovation League project, Mike Simoli of the Department of Health knew he wanted to focus on customer service. Joined by his colleague Leah McPhail, the two focused on finding “low-cost and no-cost, doable solutions” that would improve the on-site experience at the department.

Their fellow Innovation League members helped them navigate this task - literally. “We actually had some of the [Innovation] team come in and sample the various offices,” explains Mike, “They basically approached the way the public would to ask for a service or information. We learned a lot of valuable info, we got some great photos and some concrete solutions to bring back to management.” In an effort to make RIDOH resources as accessible as possible, they will be testing out the use of greeters, improved mapping and signage, and other structural changes.

One of Mike’s greatest takeaways from the Innovation League was learning to “not get hung up in the ‘no’s.” By being willing to experiment and scale down projects as necessary, Mike and Leah realized that they could implement solutions rapidly and then invest in ones that really work. They also valued the learning other Innovation members brought to the table. “The freedom and the ability to talk with other colleagues, the ideas that come out of the room and the networking that goes on: you can’t duplicate it outside of this. It’s refreshing,” says Leah, who plans to participate in the second Innovation League cohort. “Although it will be challenging for me because my schedule is insane these days, I find it beneficial enough that I’m willing to make the time to come here. I find it that valuable.”