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The 2015 CRM Service Elite: Genesys Helps Michigan Aid Families in Need
Call center technology makes reaching help one less hurdle for struggling parents.
For the rest of the March 2015 issue of CRM magazine please click here

With roughly 9.9 million residents, Michigan ranks eighth among U.S. states by population, but has the third highest number of child support cases in the country.

Unfortunately, until about a year ago, many needy single-parent Michigan families were not receiving the child support, public assistance, and other benefits to which they were entitled because of an antiquated customer contact center system at the state's Office of Child Support (OCS). OCS was only able to process about 55 percent of its incoming calls, leading to widespread delays that left many families short on funds for bills, rent, food, and other daily necessities.

Amid an increase in its caseload and a decrease in staffing, OCS decided it was finally time for a change. In January 2014 it ripped out its old, inefficient interactive voice response system and replaced it with the Genesys Customer Experience Platform.

Where callers previously had to leave voicemail messages that might not get a response for weeks, now they always get a live person, says Monica Bowman, director of operations at OCS. And the amount of time that callers have to wait in the call queue is typically about five minutes.

The Genesys Customer Experience Platform integrates self-service applications and caseworker-assisted transactions with a natural language interface, customer interaction management, analytics and reporting, workforce optimization, self-service capabilities, a routing engine, presence and visibility, and more.

At the same time, OCS brought in Genesys Interactive Voice Response, Genesys Advisor for resource management, Genesys Survey to poll callers about their experiences at the conclusion of their calls, and Genesys Interactive Insights for reporting.

The technology now "is an enabler" rather than a hindrance, Bowman says.

"We went through a transformation," Bowman states. "We removed a lot of the barriers that we were experiencing and moved to a new business model that allows us to process all of our cases more efficiently."

The transformation has been working. "Previously, I would get at least one complaint per day," Bowman says. Or worse yet, frustrated callers took their complaints to their state legislators or the governor's office. "I haven't received a single complaint since the implementation," Bowman adds.

With the new system, the customer experience begins with a self-service system that collects caller information and then routes calls to the appropriate caseworkers. Before caseworkers answer the calls, the Genesys solution provides detailed information about who is calling and why.

The implementation has also led to reduced call volumes, thanks to greater efficiency, and improved customer care. Inbound calls have dropped from 26,000 calls a month to around 16,000.

As an added benefit, "the tone of the conversations is much different now when a client reaches a caseworker," Bowman says. That has led to an increase in employee morale and efficiency, she adds.

Caseworker productivity has increased 40 percent; case backlog and case escalations have been practically eliminated. Added efficiencies brought on by deploying the technology in a virtual environment have enabled 90 percent of caseworkers to work from home.

Another key to the success of the deployment was the fact that OCS worked closely with its caseworkers when implementing the Genesys Customer Experience Platform. Caseworkers don't consider themselves call center agents, so the deployment had to be framed in that context. Collaboration included organizing job shadowing and focus groups as well as involving caseworkers in design sessions and process improvements.

Furthermore, the initial Genesys implementation has established a proven, scalable solution for OCS to leverage as it works to allow a broader network of child support professionals to access and use the platform across the state.

"The Michigan Office of Child Support's amazing results are the perfect example of how innovative technology can fuel real social change and make a positive impact for citizens," said Tom Eggemeier, chief customer officer at Genesys, in a statement. "We are honored to be a part of this important work supporting Michigan families."

Since deploying the Genesys Customer Experience Platform in January 2014, the Michigan Office of Child Support has seen:

  • Response times drop from an average of two weeks to five minutes;
  • Employee productivity increase 40 percent;
  • Call volume decrease from 26,000 calls per month to 16,000; and
  • A near elimination of case backlogs and escalations.

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