IVR Enables 24x7 Service for Courts Call Center

For the City of Houston, Texas' Municipal Courts Administration Department, providing better service to citizen-customers and improving efficiency meant going 24x7. No, the city's One Call Solution Center didn't add second and third shifts; it partnered with North American Communications Resource, Inc. (NACR) to give callers 24-hour access to court information via Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
The One Call Solution Center is the first 24x7 call center in a Texas Municipal Court and only the second in the nation. It allows callers to access vital information in English and Spanish, providing self-service for basic requests such as hours of operation and court locations; details about court services and procedures; fine payments and options; and information regarding tickets and citations.
Callers can access the IVR system by dialing Houston's 3-1-1 helpline. The system also routes calls to live agents available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday to provide personal assistance and handle outbound calling duties such as arraignment and fine delinquency reminders. Computer-telephony integration (CTI) provides the agents with screen pops of caller information, and call recording and monitoring capabilities are also part of the new system solution.
"Consistent with most major service providers in the private sector, we see this initiative as a continuation of simplifying our services to be more convenient and accessible for our customers," says Sahira J. Abdool, Director and Chief Clerk of the Municipal Courts Administration Department. "Offering options for self-sufficiency translates into greater usage and customer value."
NACR (, an Avaya channel partner, previously worked with the City of Houston on implementing an Avaya contact center solution -- the IVR addition is an augmentation that the city determined would help the municipal court increase service and improve its ability to collect fines.
A dedicated NACR Project Manager was on site to make sure the solution was implemented smoothly, working with partner vendors to manage the integration of all applications. For instance, the solution must support proper integration between the courts database and a separate IVR used to process credit card payments, allowing for correct and prompt updating of the database when fines are paid.
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Rose Polchin — 9:25AM on Nov 28, 2011

Sounds like a great use of technology, however the real "deal" on usability comes from the end it would be great to hear from anyone from Houston who has used the new IVR and what their experience was!