While the health impact of COVID-19 on the world has been devastating and tragic, the economic impact in the United States has also been profound. As businesses shuttered to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, revenues dropped and jobs were lost, leading to record high unemployment figures across the country.
In this particular state, layoffs and furloughs were occurring at staggeringly rapid rates over a matter of weeks. As a result, calls for assistance and applications for benefits began to flood and overwhelm the state’s Department of Jobs and Family Services (JFS). The JFS office’s contact center normally handles an average of 12,000 calls per day, but that number spiked to more than 1 million calls in a day and eventually settled on approximately 800,000 calls per day.
Additional issues included busy signals and dropped calls that callers often received when trying to contact the JFS office. End users were also not confident that their claims were being processed even in the event they managed to speak with a JFS agent, due to the lack of benefit status updates.
Fortunately, JFS personnel had anticipated the need to keep up with the drastically increased call volume. The JFS office engaged CBTS to help them manage the overwhelming number of calls to address the various service issues that constituents were facing. CBTS was able to design and implement a solution within a week’s time. The solution included scaling existing call paths, organizing remote call center operations, and designing and configuring a new IVR solution.
Sorting out the chaos
CBTS stepped in with a customized suite of telecommunications solutions to enable JFS agents to cope with the massive call volume they were facing while also improving the user experience for constituents seeking assistance during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the solutions implemented was a self-service system designed to allow JFS applicants to manually check the status of their claims. All of the JFS Unemployment directory numbers were sequestered into separate carrier trunks to increase available bandwidth and reduce strain on the rest of the state agencies. Additionally, the contact center capacity was optimized by 400% to allow for all callers to be answered by automation or an agent.
Remote access licenses for Jabber softphones were also increased and extended to hundreds of additional users, boosting the number of available call center agents. Cisco’s Unified IP Interactive Voice Response (IVR) was deployed at a large scale specifically to answer mass layoffs by major companies.
Another improvement implemented was the redirection of calls away from busy signals to holding messages, which engaged constituents and informed them that their calls would be answered momentarily or offer self-service options to every caller.
Lastly, an extensive effort was made to design and deploy an optimized IVR system to generate responses to benefit inquiry, simplify call tree structures, and create more efficient queue management programs. Moving forward, CBTS will be partnering with the state’s JFS to introduce new functionality that will provide tier one agents with basic caller benefits status info that will assist them in answering initial questions. Callback scheduling will also be used to address more advanced questions that can’t be answered by tier one agents at the time.
CBTS and the state’s JFS planned ahead and collaborated closely to prepare for a pressing issue that would prevent vulnerable citizens from accessing the assistance they needed. The standard reporting and dashboard programs built for this client are part of an ongoing process to optimize solutions in accordance to customer experiences.
Contact a CBTS specialist today for more information on what a customized Cisco collaboration solution can do for your enterprise or government organization