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State government agency

Answering the SOS to overcome
COVID-19 disruptions

Industry: Public Sector / State and Local Government
Region: United States

When phone inquiries skyrocketed to 70,000/day, Atos helped this state agency lower the abandonment rate from 83% to less than 1% in one week

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One of the vital activities of this Atos client, a state agency, is to field resident calls regarding unemployment benefits. As companies within the state reacted to COVID-19 lockdowns with unavoidable layoffs in the first half of 2020, inbound calls to the agency jumped exponentially overnight. What is an agency to do when its call center is suddenly overwhelmed causing service levels to plummet? Atos provided the manpower and technology to answer the call.

The challenge

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Atos was contacted by a state office late on a Friday afternoon requesting urgent assistance with the state’s unemployment call center. Due to COVID-19 business adjustments, call volume from residents seeking unemployment benefit information had exploded from 800/week to 70,000/day. With that dramatic surge, call
abandonment rates soared and wait times stretched from minutes to hours. Agency management needed an emergency rapid response plan quickly to meet the challenge.

The solution

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Atos answered the call and − over just one weekend – rolled out the necessary components to have 50+ Atos agents ready to accept level one calls by 8 a.m. the next Monday. Steps were taken to update the agency’s telephony systems, ticketing process and overall operations including:

  • Setting up Skype and Microsoft Teams instances with Atos
  • Establishing a “live” conference bridge across all working hours for instant IT help
  • Creating and onboarding a qualified team using an aggressive recruiting policy, including Atos volunteers

Business benefit

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As process improvements were aligned with hundreds of newly-trained phone agents, the state agency lowered call abandonment rates from 83% to less than 1% in one week. Average answer speed was reduced from 1.5 hours to under one minute. By Day 8, nearly 1,000 associates were on the phones and working extended hours to meet the call volume. During the three-month period since the first urgent call for assistance, Atos helped resolve over 90,000 incidents.

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