The RI Department of Labor and Training has launched a new call-back feature in its Unemployment Insurance and Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) call centers so that customers do not have to wait on hold to reach a department representative. When a customer contacts the call center, an automated message will inform the caller of the approximate wait time, and then give the customer the option of either waiting on the telephone line for a representative or receiving a call back from the department as soon as the wait time has passed.
Department Director Charles J. Fogarty states, "The call-back feature is the latest in a series of technology upgrades the department has made in recent years to make claims-filing a more user-friendly experience. Investing in customer service innovations has been a key priority for Governor Chafee and his leadership team."
The department has been piloting this program for the past several weeks. During the pilot, the department found that call backs occurred within five minutes of the originally estimated wait time. To date, approximately 20 percent of all Unemployment Insurance claimants and 40 percent of all TDI claimants have chosen the call-back option.
The call-back feature option only becomes available when call center wait times exceed 10 minutes. Last week, the average wait time for Unemployment Insurance and TDI callers ranged from 20 to 24 minutes. The department receives approximately 4,000 Unemployment Insurance calls and 1,200 TDI calls each week; these counts do not include self-service options or weekly payment certifications made through the automated TeleServe program.
Funding for the call-back feature comes from a federal grant that also helped fund an upgrade of the department's telephone system. Currently the call-back feature is only available in English, but the option will be offered in Portuguese and Spanish later this summer.