Ground-breaking technology helps remote customers to understand their financial matters

Department of Human Services staff are taking advantage of new technology to help rural and remote customers access services.

Financial Information Service (FIS) Officer Jamie King has been offering FIS appointments via video conferencing for almost a year now, and says it has revolutionised the way he provides services to customers.

“Being based in Swan Hill, I’m the only FIS Officer in North-western Victoria, which means I used to travel the five hour round trip each fortnight to the Mildura Service Centre to hold FIS appointments and seminars,” Jamie said.

“Now I can do almost all of my work from Swan Hill, whilst still being able to meet with customers when they need it, saving us both the time and hassle of having to travel.”

While FIS Officers can also help customers over the phone, Jamie says the video conferencing technology adds an extra element of customer service that phone calls cannot provide.

“I’ve found the service is particularly beneficial for those who have forms or documents they need help with.

“By being able to see the customer’s face on the screen, I can read from their facial expressions whether they have understood the information I’ve provided, or whether I need to explain it to them in more detail.”

Jamie said the word is quickly spreading in Mildura, as the community gets wind of this great service he is offering.

“Once customers have had an appointment via video conference and understand how it works, they often tell their friends and families about it, and sometimes even bring them along the next time!

“This can be really helpful in some situations, for example when a family member is being placed in Aged Care and all other family members involved are able to attend at once.

“Momentum has been building over the last few months, and it’s really nice to see people spreading the word about the service we offer.

“I still travel up to Mildura about once a month to meet with customers face-to-face, but the video conferencing technology saves them having to wait up to a month for an appointment when they don’t need to.

“It’s a really cost-effective way for the department to assist customers living in remote areas and frees up my time so I can assist more customers. It’s a win-win situation.”

Jamie is one of a growing group of FIS Officers offering appointments via video conference. The video conferencing service Jamie offers in Mildura is soon to be extended to Colac.

The Financial Information Service (FIS) is a free, confidential service that provides education and information on financial issues to all Australians.

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