Riverside’s “One Stop Shop” Boosts Customer Service, Welcomes Investment

Published: 5/31/2017

Innovative approach combines city departments on one floor, improves customer service at City Hall

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The City of Riverside has upped its commitment to customer service even further by creating a “One Stop Shop” that brings together on one floor all City departments that are part of the development process, with exclusive use of an express elevator, cell phone charging stations and a concierge-type system that helps customers obtain permits and approvals faster than ever.

The business-friendly change means that people who want to invest in Riverside are welcomed as they come off an elevator that operates only between the City Hall lobby and the third floor, where the One Stop Shop is located. Customers are assisted through a series of work stations staffed by experts from several city departments, including planning, building, fire, utilities, business license and public works

By grouping together in one place everyone that customers will need to interact with before they can build a project, the One Stop Shop focuses the development review process on the needs of the user. In the process, it makes a statement about the City’s values and priorities.

“Riverside is the City of Arts and Innovation, and the One Stop Shop shows how a commitment to innovation can generate real value for people who are investing in Riverside,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “This transformation sends a message to the business community that we are committed to helping you create jobs in our community.”

The One Stop Shop is a marked difference from the traditional way of doing business in local government, where someone trying to open a business or complete a project often is required to move from floor to floor in a government building to receive information and required approvals. In some cases, they have to move from one building to another or from one part of town to another.

This traditional process, while practical for government workers, is time-consuming for business people. The One Stop Shop approach reverses those roles and embraces the adage, “time is money.” By reducing the time it takes to get a building permit and increasing the speed with which a business can open, the One Stop Shop can save business people money and potentially make them more likely to invest in Riverside.

“Everything about the One Stop Shop screams out that this is not a typical government office,” said Community and Economic Development Director Rafael Guzman. “From the furnishings to the bright colors to the amenities, including a water bottle refilling station, there is a different look and feel to the One Stop Shop than you get anywhere else.”

Large television screens track customers by name, letting them know when they can expect to receive service. Work stations allow customers to work on their laptops while waiting their turn. Customers who want to grab a coffee or a meal from the City Hall lobby receive a text message when staffers are about to take up their issue.

The One Stop Shop approach is the latest evolution of the Streamline Riverside effort, which seeks to encourage development and investment in Riverside by reducing barriers and cutting wait times. The Streamline Riverside effort is part of an overall commitment to excellent customer service that the Riverside City Council made a top priority.

The new approach already is showing results. The City of Riverside utilizes the “Happy or Not?” tool to gauge customer satisfaction around City Hall, and the data has trended upward since the One Stop Shop was first introduced.

“Customer service is the Riverside City Council’s top priority,” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Gardner said. “Streamline Riverside, and the One Stop Shop in particular, show that Riverside is serious about providing the best customer service in Southern California.”