When jobless claims soared, CT Department of Labor scaled up in record time.

Eliminating thousands of repeat calls enabled strapped caseworkers to serve desperate citizens.

  • Headquartered

    Connecticut

  • Industry

    Public Service

Chart showing calls increasing and increasing

A 500% increase in case loads during COVID-19 created thousands of calls before the day even started. Case workers were stuck on the phone all day, while thousands of unemployed tried to get help.

Illustrated agent has customer context and intent at her disposal

Purchasing and implementing through AWS Marketplace in under a week made for immediate changes. Every caller had a guaranteed time slot to speak about their case, team members had less heated conversations, and more people were served as the department of labor expanded into scheduling and call center routing.

Agent and customer having a product and efficient callback conversation

In the first week using Mindful, they saw a nearly 60% decrease in repeat calls, while immediately gaining insight into accurate call volumes, hold times, and handling times. Notifications ensured a high successful reconnection rate, and digital scheduling set up for future routing to an outsourced call center.

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Case Study Illustration

Adjusting to WFH, moving to Amazon Connect, and answering 10,000 calls before 9am

In 2020, words like “unprecedented” went from only being heard on Jeopardy! to a near daily occurrence. But for departments of labor around the country, the COVID-torn year was nearly apocalyptic.

Enter Connecticut Department of Labor, whose 80 agents were drowning from the overwhelming influx of cases and calls. No one could have anticipated what was going to happen—yet the CT DOL team adjusted nearly every way of working over the course of a few months to serve over one million recently unemployed.
With the office closed early in the pandemic, the department of labor moved quickly to cloud solutions, implementing Amazon Connect to route calls to agents at home.

CT Department of Labor had 200,000 unemployment cases in all of 2019. During a pandemic year, they had over 1,000,000 new cases. As you can imagine, their agents struggled to answer enough phone calls—on top of adjusting to WFH life and a new call center platform.

And with a million new cases came an overflow of calls. Within just the first hour of the day, more than 8,000 people would call in—around 26,000 in a single day—with only 80 team members to answer phones, while also filing and working cases.

The kicker? Before Mindful, they had no idea how many calls were actually being placed or answered. They were just trying to stay afloat.

 

Implement in less than a week, reduce 60% of repeat calls in a day.

Amazon Connect gave the department of labor incredible flexibility to work remotely and handle calls on a cloud framework, and now they needed to address an unrelenting call volume.

When Amer Khan, Director at the State of Connecticut, came to our team, they needed a fire extinguisher: “Our agency was facing an unprecedented increase in call volume related to COVID-19, so we knew we had to quickly implement a fully productized solution that integrated with Amazon Connect to eliminate hold times and improve our customer experience.”

And it came together in record time.

Day 1: Submit a proposal request on Monday through AWS Marketplace.

Whatever solution they found, it had to be fast. Khan reports, “We were delighted to learn that through Strategic Communications, a partner that manages all the AWS spend for our agency, we could purchase Mindful through AWS Marketplace to streamline the ordering process. It saved us months and gave us the ability to go live in days.”

Purchasing through AWS Marketplace was key to speed. Brands that purchase Mindful through AWS Marketplace can bypass lengthy legal and procurement exchanges. And that’s exactly how the department of labor got ready for Friday.

Mindful showing on AWS Marketplace

Day 5: Finalize the scope and plan by Friday.

Three ingredients led to a very sweet victory: expiring CARE Act funds issued by the government, the DOL’s partnership with Strategic Communications, and purchasing Mindful through AWS Marketplace. In record time, the deal was penned, and the department was ready for relief.

Day 6: Deploy on Saturday.

Time was of the essence for the thousands of callers needing the department’s help every day. So our team wasted no time.

Working on a thorough go-live plan throughout the week, our experienced team was ready to implement as soon as the ink was dry.

“Our tried and tested methodology for deploying the Mindful platform, supported by a collaborative approach with Connecticut DOL and their AWS partner, enabled us to start improving things for claimants in just a few days,” comments Stuart Lambert, one of Mindful’s Solution Engineers on the account. “This deployment ended up as a perfect example of how organizations facing enormous challenges can leverage open cloud platforms, such as AWS Connect and Mindful, to drive value with immediate effect.”

Blake Kelly, Cloud Account Executive with Strategic Communications said, “We knew the DOL had to go live by year-end, so we worked hand in hand with the DOL, AWS Marketplace, and Mindful team to justify cost-to-benefit analysis. We then quickly processed the order to implement Mindful on Amazon Connect within just one week一just in time for the start of the DOL’s busy season.”

With no time to spare, Mindful was set up to alleviate high call volumes for Monday.

Day 8: Pace calls, remove repeats, and stage a pleasant experience.

On Monday, Connecticut DOL received 26,000 calls. But with Mindful handling every single one, they were able to schedule callbacks throughout the week and serve what they found to be only 11,000 unique callers—a 60% decrease in repeat calls.

Still a staggering number for this small team of case workers, but those with cases were now assured a spot to speak with a team member, lowering call volumes and providing peace of mind for thousands of unemployed.

 

 

Notifications keep calls running smoothly.

Offering callbacks was a great first step to lower their hold times and appease call volume. But they also needed efficiency for their team, ensuring they maximized every single minute.

To set up a perfect conversation, notifications save the day. When a callback is scheduled, the claimant gets a text from Connecticut DOL’s number confirming their time. And if they need to cancel, sending a quick reply keeps the claims team from waiting for the claimant to pick up the phone.

 

 

The future is digital.

With callback in place through the voice channel, and messages keeping calls running efficiently, now it was time to create a foundation to manage cases that were expected to remain high for months to come.

As Connecticut DOL started to research and seek out an outsourced contact center partner, they knew they’d need intelligent ways to route simpler needs outbound and more complex cases inhound.

Many companies and agencies do this through their IVR. But this not only incurs telephony costs, it also creates friction for the caller and negates their online journey—which is likely where they’re starting their research and self service.

Developing a new solution specifically for Connecticut DOL, our team enhanced Mindful’s embeddable scheduler widget—which allows customers to schedule calls online—to include their intent for calling. By selecting an intent, the team can route intents like missing payments to the Connecticut team, while sending others like change of address to the outsourced call center.

 

Simply by setting up callback intents, the team got immediate feedback about the needs of their audience. They uncovered insights like 17% of callers need help with claim payment and filling issues, 10% missed a payment, while 16% just needed to change their return to work date. With these insights, the team has been able to adapt staffing and queues, while also beefing up their website content to provide solutions faster through online answers.

 

 

Summing up

When an overwhelmed state’s claims center needs to assist a 500% increase in claimants, a persevering team hits their capacity fast.

Through a quick implementation using AWS Marketplace, thousands of additional people were able to be served in a matter of days. The team was able to address more cases, and keep conversations on-time and efficient with SMS notifications.

Moving forward, a lean and agile team is able to know more about their claimants than ever before, and connect them with the right team member the first time. Now they can serve more people in dire need, help them in record time, and provide a reassuring experience along the way.

See it for yourself.

Want to see how Mindful’s callback, digital scheduling, or notifications can work for your organization? We can’t wait to show you around.