• March 1, 2018
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Running a Contact Center from the Inside Out

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What technology requirements are involved in outfitting facilities inside prisons? Are the needs any different than other facilities?

As partners with the corrections departments of Arizona and Indiana, we embrace their concerns for safety and security. The main difference is that the technology to which incarcerated agents have access is controlled and monitored. All of our systems have the look and feel of any other contact center, but behind the scenes we control and monitor that access.

Who is responsible for installing, maintaining, and updating the equipment—Televerde or the prisons themselves?

Televerde maintains that responsibility.

Do customers calling into the contact centers ever know that they are talking to prisoners? If so, what kind of pushback, if any, has Televerde or its clients received, and how do you deal with it?

On top of the fact that we are proud of all of our employees and are up front with our clients about how we do business, we’ve been in the market for 23 years. Our business model is pretty well-known.

During our 23-year history, we have completed millions of communication transactions, and the number of issues we’ve had can be counted on one hand. One of those instances was actually funny. I received a visit from the FBI, and it had nothing to do with our business model. The problem was that we contacted an FBI location that no one should have known about. After spending some time with us and reviewing the campaign transcripts, the FBI agent gave us a “thumbs up” for a job well done. The contact was in conjunction with an integrated justice campaign we did on behalf of one of our clients.

Seeing is believing, and anytime clients have concerns about the model, we invite them out to visit. Once they tour the facility and meet the ladies that work on their accounts, any issues or concerns wash away.

In general, what is the benefit to Televerde from operating inside a prison? What is the benefit to Televerde’s clients? And what is the benefit to the prison, and to the prisoners?

The benefit to Televerde is that we have a passionate, motivated, tenured staff that is interested in learning new things and developing marketable skills. Our clients receive a group of professional people who represent their brands with world-class communication skills. This allows them to focus on their core competencies while being involved with a social mission that makes our communities better. The prisons are alleviated from managing these individuals during business hours each day and know that the participants are developing marketable skills that will assist with reducing recidivism rates. The women develop marketable skills that will help them secure employment upon release, improve their confidence and sense of self-worth, and have the means required to make a successful transition back to society. In the Televerde value system, this is known as “Win to the Power of 4”.

I understand that quite a few of the prisoners continue to work for Televerde when they are released from prison. Are there any success stories you can share?

We have hundreds of them. We refer to the women who have transitioned from “the inside” as graduates. Our graduates have gone on to reunify their families, obtain college degrees, purchase homes, and advance their careers into management or executive levels. Some have stayed with Televerde, and others have gone on to serve various roles with our clients or other companies.

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