At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread lockdowns, state unemployment insurance agencies faced an unprecedented surge in call volume from callers in need of assistance filing unemployment claims. One of the largest states in the U.S. swiftly moved to mobilize its contractor partners. It needed partners that could quickly ramp up its contact centers to maximize call handling, reduce hold times, and increase the number of claimants that it could assist.
As a long-time partner, TTEC deployed a fast and effective two-pronged solution: cloud-based virtual technologies to deflect calls from the State’s at-capacity system, and 300 experienced at-home agents to assist with increased call volume and lighten the in-house agent workload. Utilizing our recruiting, hiring, and training best practices, the associates ramped in just a few weeks.
We also worked closely with the State to rapidly stand up a cloud-based Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) automated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that allowed claimants to easily file a claim or get claim status for benefits without having to speak to an agent. The PEUC greatly expedited the filing process, allowing more constituents to sign up for unemployment benefits faster and reduce hold times.
Once operational, TTEC agents handled up to 10,000 calls per day over a six-month period. Our cross-functional response of cutting-edge digital solutions and experienced human support enabled us to deliver results that consistently exceeded expectations. The State’s target for average time on hold, for instance, was 9.2 minutes. Our team beat this target every month with an AHT of about 2.5 minutes below the target.
TTEC handled considerably more calls per agent on average than the other contractor call centers while transferring fewer calls back to an in-house agent. In fact, the percentage of calls transferred to an in-house agent from TTEC was in the low single digits while other partners transferred over 30% of calls.
We also continue to train and upskill our agents to handle more call types and assist more claimants. In addition to assisting with unemployment claims, we have trained our agents to assist with making outbound calls to claimants who have unresolved issues, processing more complex claims, and processing non-COVID-related (i.e. regular) claims. Regardless of what comes next, we’re ready to deliver the key services our client needs, effectively and efficiently.