Speed-dialing agency call centers
- By Natasha Haubold
- May 24, 2000
As agencies continue to downsize, the need for more efficient and customer-friendly
call centers is growing.
The Labor Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service
have tapped industry to create call centers that can respond in less than
20 seconds to a customer's question, said John Kathman, the director of
call center operations for Datatrac Information Services.
Datatrac handles about 15 million calls a year for the Labor and INS
By quickly routing calls and linking to agency databases, representatives
can access information to help people find office locations, fill out forms,
file documentation and get in touch with a person in a requested department,
such as an agent who specializes in approving green-card applications, Kathman
At Labor, customer service representatives, trained by Datatrac, respond
to queries on matters ranging from where to find federal assistance after
being laid off to filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint.
A Datatrac supervisor monitors customer service representative calls,
and representatives are given constructive criticism. "Even the difficult
callers are calling for a reason, and it is our job to make sure they get
the information they need," said Leslie LeCompte, who helped establish the
Labor and INS call centers.
Datatrac never records customer's personal information and serves simply
as a link between the customer and the appropriate agency department, LeCompte
When INS implemented its system, many agency representatives were fearful
of losing their jobs, a spokesman said. "Instead, no one lost their jobs,
and agency employees were able to switch their focus to the problems that
needed their attention," he said.