Virtual Contact Center update!

Submitted by Clay Butcher on January 19, 2017 - 3:00pm

Good afternoon everyone!

We wanted to provide an update to you pertaining to the Virtual Contact Center (VCC).

What is it?
The Virtual Contact Center (VCC) will allow customers to contact the Division in various ways and our staff will be located throughout the state (not like a call center where staff are in one location). The access point that we will initially focus on is phone calls. This VCC product is currently being used by other Departments and Divisions throughout the State of Alaska. Therefore, it is a familiar product and will be fully supported by IT and the State Enterprise Technology Section as we grow with the use of the VCC.

Through easy-to-follow prompts, the system maintains a rolling roster of incoming callers and pairs each call with the next available eligibility technician assigned to answer calls within the system. There may be times when all technicians are conducting interviews and a wait time is experienced. However, customers have the option to leave a call back telephone number and not lose their place in “line”. If the customer chooses to exercise the call-back feature, the system ensures a sequential return-call process according to the caller’s original place in the queue.

All calls to the VCC are recorded and tracked for quality assurance purposes. This has been really handy during the training phase so assistance can be offered immediately. Keeping in line with BPR, interview calls are received between 8:00 and 3:00 Monday through Friday and the call functionality will allow general questions to be received by the system until 4pm.

The Phases of VCC:
We have asked approximately 40 staff to work in the new system. We want these staff to be comfortable and efficient in the system and to do so, we need to take small steps. The First phase is to implement the “call” portion of the system in four offices.

The second phase of VCC will include incorporating the system in additional offices. This will enable us to reduce the number of staff utilizing the VCC in all of the offices because the work will be spread across the state. We are working with the Change and Innovation Agency to determine a ratio of staff per office. This means that the 40 staff currently involved with the VCC will change as time progresses (other staff added and removed).

The third phase of the VCC will include an Electronic Document Management system (EDM). This will allow us to scan documents into one system, so determining and utilizing one naming convention is really important for each document type. Eventually, all staff will be trained and will need to be comfortable working with this part of the VCC.

What’s Happenin’?
“Who are these 40 staff and where are they?” you might ask…. Select staff in the Wasilla and Coastal offices began a soft implementation of the VCC on January 9th and specific staff in Fairbanks and Gambell Offices began a soft implementation this week. The soft implementation means that these staff are:
1. Pulling work from the Non-Lobby Interview tracks in PathOs (NL- Red, Blue and Green only).
2. They are making outbound calls (cold calling) customers and completing the phone interview.
3. If they are unable to reach the customer, staff will send a notice from EIS with the date, time and office interview number so the interview will be conducted at a later date. However, the non-interview program(s) or other items related to this customer will be worked to an eligibility determination before they take the next call.

What this means to our customers calling into Field Offices:
Initially, the process currently in place for office staff remains the same- do not provide the VCC phone number to customers calling the offices yet. To be fair to the VCC staff, we need to allow time for them to work in the system and become comfortable before additional calls are directed to this number.

If customers see the VCC number on their caller id, they may return calls to the VCC and staff will complete the case. Ideally, in the near future, we want the VCC to be used for customers who: 1. Received a notice from DPA to call for an interview and are responding to the notice for that interview or 2. Received a notice of a scheduled interview and would like to complete their interview before the scheduled date. Since these staff are retrieving work from the PathOs system, all work associated with their case will be bundle or cleared.

The data from the first week in VCC is very promising! Even as a learning week, January 9-12, the specific Wasilla Office staff assigned to the VCC were able to Claim 269 cases, worked 190 for a completion rate of 76.5%. In addition, they had a cold call success rate of 71%. The Coastal office claimed 188 cases and worked 130 of these for completion rate of 83%. Their cold call success rate was 69%!

Many thanks and we heard you!
We would like to express our THANKS to the 40 staff who are learning cutting edge technology which will make the Division more efficient and enable us to communicate better. Also--we appreciate the feedback on the headsets! We are actively working with the contractor to order the most popular USB headsets worn while conducting this type of work. We hope to have these ordered by the beginning of next week for you.

This has been a team effort--Thank all of you who took the time to participate in the VCC training of the system and our 40 staff as we learned together! Thank you for taking the time to be interrupted by phone calls and placing them to the VCC. We appreciate your willingness to offer a hand and ears to the process!

Lastly, as this project progresses, we will continuously provide updates, including FAQs for staff and partners. We plan to have these posted on the internal DPA web page.

Thank you!
Tammie and Aimee