How Tennessee’s government maintains an 84.5% CSAT score

By Chow Li Ying

Published July 16, 2015
Last modified July 16, 2015

Imagine having to answer 803,000 customer calls. That’s the number of calls the Department of Labor & Workforce Development at the Tennessee State Government fields in an average month.

The Department deals with employment issues in the State of Tennessee and fulfills the dual role of helping businesses find ideal employees and protecting the workplace safety and rights of its citizens. However, unlike most government agencies, the Department maintains high levels of customer satisfaction (in the high 80s).

Ease of implementation—a gem to public sectors
In most government agencies, extensive procurement regulations means it can take months to build and implement software. However, Deputy Commissioner Dustin Swayne told us the Department easily set up the system within the free trial Zendesk provided. Additionally, the department achieved significant improvements in agent performance after only a few days of using Zopim.

Problems solved under 3 minutes
In the past, customer service agents typically spent 30-45 minutes trying to solve a problem. With live chat, it’s possible to serve 2-3 chats concurrently—effectively reducing problem resolution times by half.

Helping agents chat better
When they first switched to live chat, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development realized that agents were having problems communicating with customers effectively. Despite providing the same kind of service, talking to a customer over the phone is vastly different from live chatting with them.

To help agents communicate better, Dustin setup simple shortcuts that made the conversations friendlier and more personalized.

Traditionally, shortcuts have been used by businesses to reduce the time taken to answer frequently asked queries or explain certain processes. However, using the feature to help agents say hello or introduce themselves can help customers feel more comfortable and at ease while chatting.

Offering help before it’s needed
The Department of Labor & Workforce Development focuses on matching employees with prospective employers. On the “Employment” page of their website, there is a list of currently available jobs frequently visited by job seekers. By using Zopim to monitor and track visitors who visit this page, agents are able to manually identify visitors who need help. Triggers come into play as well, automatically initiating chats when a visitor spends a predetermined amount of time on a page. This way the department is able to identify and provide help to interested parties.

Telling a story with analytics
Government customer service doesn’t have the best reputation, but the Tennessee State Government tells a completely different story. Using analytics, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development can demonstrate they are doing things right. It is also easier to convince stakeholders that customer service is made better with live chat by pulling out positive numbers such as 84.5% customer satisfaction rates and the short time taken to resolve a customer complaint.

Administrators are also able to take a deeper look into agent performance by reviewing bad ratings. However, it’s not always the agents’ fault. Dustin shares that some of the agents are rated negatively simply because they told a customer they are ineligible for a claim. There are many reasons why customer service can go wrong in the public sector. However, the Tennessee State Government’s Department of Labor & Workforce Development has proven that with the right tools and the right people, it’s possible to provide the public with quality customer support.

This post was originally published by Zopim. Since joining Zendesk, Zopim has been welcomed into our product family as Zendesk Chat, along with a number of treasured belongings.