Helping Government Agencies Meet Spiking Service Demands

April 22, 2020 Greg Sanchez

Six Constituent Service Essentials to Consider

COVID-19 has produced uncertainty everywhere, in the drastic changes to people’s lives, health and livelihoods, to the economic downturn that has put enormous strain on organizations across the public and private sectors. 

As our nation learns to cope with the pandemic’s public health implications and financial consequences, state and local health and human services agencies must find a way to mitigate the crisis’s impact, and continue delivering services to those in need.

The pandemic’s fallout is driving increased demand for contact center services, for example, as agencies work to answer calls from panicked constituents, especially those who have lost their jobs. Unfortunately, most states were not prepared for the skyrocketing volume of calls, leading to long wait times and dropped calls, which is preventing people from getting help when they most need it.

As a result, the societal disruption caused by the pandemic has forced health and human services agencies to adapt to new ways of working and leveraging technology to enable contact centers that can handle increased call volumes, prioritized tickets and the ability to allow call center agents to work remotely.

As a leading, diversified, public sector services supplier with decades of experience delivering mission-critical operational services to support a wide range of government programs, Conduent is well-positioned to help state and local health and human services agencies navigate through the crisis by enabling the delivery of modern constituent service experiences that are more efficient, seamless and satisfying.

As a trusted partner who is already helping multiple state agencies deliver support services through the COVID-19 pandemic, here are six "contact center as a service" essentials that state agencies can use to generate a better constituent experience.

Keep employees safe. Keeping employees safe and enabling them to work from home is among the most essential elements states can provide. This also makes the need to manage a remote or reduced workforce mission-critical. Agents can work from anywhere as long as they have a computer and a high-speed Internet connection. They must log in to begin taking or making calls. This helps you maintain resilient operations even when your state’s population is under “shelter in place” rules. With our Virtual Contact Center module, state agencies gain a complete cloud-based and hosted contact center solution that provides the telecommunications contact center tools needed to help agents deliver an exceptional constituent experience.

Seek to scale up quickly. Several government entities have seen a large spike in inbound contact center volume since the COVID-19 outbreak began. To meet growing service demands, your contact center software must include two critical capabilities: 1) elastic scalability, and 2) support for rapid changes to contact flows, IVR dialogs, and other operational processes. Our agents can help handle overflow calls, providing call triage and answering constituent questions to help bolster your agency’s response to higher-than-usual call volumes. Using existing contact center staff, and adding cloud-based and remote services in some situations, we can help you gain the contact center staff you need, trained and equipped to take your agency’s calls in days, not weeks.

Offer an uninterrupted response. In the near term, if agents are sick or quarantined in self-isolation, or taking caring for an ill family member, ensuring continued support without interruption is key. The last few weeks have caused supply and demand shifts, which has created an unprecedented need for qualified contact center personnel. To this end, we can quickly train, re-deploy our agents to help meet your most pressing contact center needs.

Automation is pivotal. Many calls are about routine issues. These calls can be fielded by virtual agents or “bots” designed to infer callers’ needs and quickly route them to the information they need, leaving human agents to deal with more complicated calls that require a human touch. With the help of best-in-class cloud services, we can scale to meet your contact center demands through quick provisioning of back-end computing and storage capacity. Constituents may also choose to self-direct, by using our intelligent, automated call distribution and routing IVR. This can also help agencies increase the speed and efficiency of call resolution. Virtual hold offers callers the ability to opt for a call back that preserves their place in the queue, rather than waiting on hold. Standard/ad hoc reporting and quality assurance management are a few additional components that can help agencies deliver better constituent experiences.

Innovation makes a powerful difference. During the crisis, some state agency leaders want to improve constituent services to gain better outcomes, faster, delivering a more seamless constituent experience. This is where innovations such as virtual agents, Augmented Reality, and AI conversation platforms are a game changer, enabling Conduent to typically deliver 20% shorter calls and a 30% reduction in general inquiries. These technologies can significantly enhance each constituent’s experience. Our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies transform how we engage with all types of customers by anticipating their needs, connecting them to the right services, and automating steps to resolve their issues quickly and efficiently. Natural Language Processing (NLP) can detect customer sentiments with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven suggestions to display analysis and recommend replies.

Ensure secure communications. While it is paramount to keep delivering services and ensuring that constituents are able to reach the contact center, even in the event of network or voice service outages, data and information security is also crucially important. We work to secure communications and data management in multiple ways that may include SSL, Virtual Desktop Interfaces (VDI), extensive training, and two-factor authentication. We are committed to protecting agency data, and your constituents’ information as well. We understand that those conversations will include personally identifiable information (PII), which is why communications and stored recordings are transmitted using encrypted channels. For every system, we also provide operational continuity and disaster recovery features.

Navigating the challenges

We are working hard to help our government clients overcome serious challenges as they arise from the pandemic. We know that providing a good user experience for constituents is vital to your agency’s mission. Even before the crisis, health and human services sought to provide customer service levels on par with the best consumer brands.

With our depth and breadth of expertise providing contact center solutions, we handle nearly one billion customer communications each year in our contact centers. Whether you are dealing with unemployment insurance claims, supporting sensitive healthcare program applications, fielding general inquiries or meeting other specialized service demands, Conduent can make our resources your resources so you don’t have to bear those burdens on your own.

Even during uncertain times, our people, processes and solutions can help you realize better outcomes, while delivering personalized experiences to those most in need.

Reach out to us about your unique requirements during this crisis. Please call at (844) ONE-CNDT or email publicservices@conduent.com to learn more about how we can help.

About the Author

Greg Sanchez

Vice President, Business Product Management, Government Solutions

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