inContact Makes Scaling to Meet Call Spikes Simple for Milwaukee 211 Contact Center
October 02, 2012
Many cities and municipalities today are finding value in call centers; not just any call centers, but what’s known as 2-1-1 call centers. Residents can use these call centers for non-emergency questions and issues, finding information from trained agents who can direct the residents to the proper channels for their inquiries.
One such call center, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin’s 2-1-1 @ IMPACT, serves as a 24-hour central access point for residents who need assistance with family, health and social services. Its professionally trained community resource specialists help assess callers’ situations and then direct them to the proper resources or agency.
Like any 2-1-1 call center, Milwaukee County’s 2-1-1 @ IMPACT needs to be able to scale up during times of heavy call spikes such as before or after a storm or other county-wide disaster. In the case of Milwaukee County’s center, a recent issue was widespread flooding that was affecting about 15,000 county residents.
So how does such a center, normally accustomed to taking a steady trickle of calls 400 to 600 calls each day, prepare for the flood (both of the natural variety and the call variety)? The answer is by using cloud-based contact center solutions that allow for immediate scaling up to meet escalating call volume.
When the storm hit in July of 2010, the 2-1-1 @ IMPACT contact center received about 1,300 calls in a single 12-hour period. Thanks to the center’s use of InContact’s cloud-based contact center platform, it was able to scale up from 70 ports to more than 1,000 ports as call volume increased, and triple its workforce of agents in a matter of minutes. Callers saw no significant queue times and were able to get the help they needed.
“If it weren’t for inContact, we would have had a busy signal for about 36 hours or more,” says Jacki Bentilla, Information Technology Specialist at 2-1-1 @ IMPACT. “The first full day after the storm was crazy. It was, by far, the busiest we have ever been. Normally, we’re only allocated 500 ports, but when I kept calling inContact every 5 to 10 minutes to increase the ports, they just took over, monitored our traffic and gave us as many ports as we needed. That was crucial in enabling us to help as many people as possible,” said Bentilla in a case study about the event.
inContact also made it simple for the 2-1-1 call center to add more agents. Normally, about 12 agents field calls and respond to the needs of the county’s residents. But with so many calls coming in, they needed to triple their ranks almost immediately. Short on staff, they resorted to training internal staff to take calls and enlist the help of 24 volunteers, a feat that would have been impossible with a more complex technology that required extensive training.
“inContact enabled us to quickly set up and add as many agents as we needed,” Bentilla says. “inContact made it really easy to add agents. We just set up the agent in the system, assigned their skills, and showed the people how to use it. It took just a few minutes per agent. It was great.”
Cloud-based contact centers are ideal for 2-1-1 contact centers for another reason. Since city budgets are often constrained, cloud-based solutions help them meet their needs without large outlays of capital expenditures, something that is often beyond the reach of cities and counties today. Better yet, the call centers pay for only what resources they require, and do not risk having expensive, installed solutions becoming obsolete in just a few short years.
Thanks to the inContact solution, Milwaukee County’s 2-1-1 @ IMPACT contact center is ready to truly meet the region’s needs, ready and able to scale up at a moment’s notice to meet spikes in call volume without a corresponding spike in expenses for the county.
Want to learn more about cloud communications? Then be sure to attend Cloud Communications Expo, collocated with ITEXPO Austin 2012 happening now in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at Cloud Communications Expo. Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
3-Minute inContact Tour
Transform your customer care. Watch our product and company overview.
Business Growth through Customer Experience Strategic and Operational Investment Trends and Opportunities.
Frost & Sullivan has over fifty years of experience as a global research organization.
Competing in today's complex marketplace requires enterprises to adapt to an environment where the frame and basis of competition are constantly shifting.
Related content you may also be interested in…