SMS solution for Ministry of JusticeApril 23 - 12am 5
National contact centre manager Nicola Hogg says the MOJ wanted a less confrontational channel of communication to address fine and debt collection. “We especially wanted to address the male 18 to 30 year-old age group, who perceive a SMS message to be less threatening.” Another goal was to increase the Ministry’s fine collection rate and reduce fine defaulters.
Datasquirt says the CONTACT system is similar to a traditional call centre automatic call distribution (ACD) system. “It processes and queues inbound SMS contacts and manages outbound SMS contacts using a call centre’s existing business process.” The solution is ASP-based, which runs off Datasquirt’s centralised WAM-e server and is accessed via a secure internet connection. A reminder message to pay can be scheduled to be sent as a text message, email or fax in the future which reduces agent handling time.
Initial results from the pilot showed that 66 per cent of all the customers contacted preferred to be contacted and communicate via text messaging rather than by traditional means such as a telephone call or post.
The MOJ found that clients were more willing to volunteer additional information and talk about money owed because of the discreet communications channel.
Hogg says because of legal reasons the SMS must be offered to ‘clients’, rather than sent to them without prior notification.
Last year, from 125,000 sent messages, the MOJ received 40,000 responses. According to Datasquirt figures, financial results at the Collection Unit contact centre from March 2006 revealed that agents using SMS systems collected 16.6 per cent more than the average contact centre agent. The amount of cash collected also showed good results, with 11.5 per cent improvement from their previous month’s results. Agents also arranged 30.4 per cent more deals than the average contact centre agent.
The Ministry has also noted further opportunities for the use of SMS messaging. Reminder messages about payments, notifications to victims of crimes, that fines have been paid and reminders about hearing times at the District Court are some of the possibilities the MOJ could investigate.