Bill Payment Kiosk
Shelby County Trustee finalist in three categories for KioskCom Excellence Awards.
The Shelby County Trustee has made it a priority to offer taxpayers convenient methods to access tax information and to pay taxes. To this end, the Trustee web site was launched in 1999 to provide on-line services regardless of time or location. However, even with availability of on-line tax services, the number of people visiting branch offices increased indicating taxpayers lacked or felt uncomfortable with computer resources.
Staffing and convenience issues surfaced at both permanent and seasonal locations. Even though permanent branches were staffed year-round in downtown Memphis, Arlington, and Millington, taxpayers became frustrated with long lines during peak periods. Likewise, the same issues surfaced at the seasonal branches located in the city halls of Germantown, Bartlett, Collierville, and Whitehaven where staffing was limited to October through February. Specifically, one tax collector rotated daily between these sites. As volume increased, the employee struggled to meet the demand and ultimately, more resources were required. Finally, municipal authorities voiced requests for additional staffing.
Leveraging payment technology against the demand for staffing, kiosks were believed to be the best solution. By investing in kiosks, the Trustee expected a decrease in labor costs and an increase in collections. Further, tax services could be available all year, not just seasonally. Based on a history of cooperative working relationships, this initiative was welcomed by local governmental entities and viewed as a benefit to taxpayers.
In retrospect, the primary challenge to the project was the acceptance of new technology by the taxpayers. Knowing the variance in skill levels throughout the community, the Trustee worked to create a kiosk that bridged the gap between the computer savvy and those unfamiliar with computers.
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