Attorneys have options when it comes to setting up a contact center for a class action settlement, but how do you choose the best option for your case that will satisfy the courts?
In class action settlement administration, a contact center offers the options of using interactive voice response (IVR) or trained live agents to provide important information about a class action settlement and help class members navigate the claim filing process as needed.
The decision to use IVR or live agents depends on the type of settlement, the demographics of the class and the court-approved budget. Providing efficient and effective call service support can make or break a class action settlement program, so it’s important to understand the benefits of each option.
What Does IVR Mean for My Settlement?
IVR is a cost-efficient telephone technology that can read a combination of touch-tone and voice input. It gives potential claimants the ability to access a database of information via phone, without waiting for a live agent. A typical IVR system has several menus of pre-recorded options that the caller can choose from.
IVR is ideal with large consumer class action cases, as it’s the most cost-efficient way to gather information over the phone. Since IVR handles larger volumes at a quicker rate, it’s also a great option for settlements with a large class and smaller settlement benefits.
IVR Features to Look for From Your Settlement Administrator
Having an on-site contact center allows an administrator to handle on-demand requests and large call volumes. State-of-the-art technology and efficient processes implemented by an experienced administrator ensure quality service.
Compliance and Flexibility
Making sure the script is derived from the court-approved notice is an IVR best practice. This lowers the risk of having to get the script re-approved or worse, having to re-notify the class. Your settlement administrator should mitigate these risks along the way, making sure administration does not delay final approval.
In-house services allow an administrator to make easy changes to the script throughout the duration of the process, offering greater flexibility for counsel and the class alike. That flexibility also comes into play with IVR’s multilingual capability, allowing for greater reach to potential class members speaking any language.
In addition, a scalable contact center is critical during both settlement administration and crisis communication to handle any size case or project. It’s important to make sure operations can quickly ramp up or down, depending on different needs during the life of the administration. An experienced administrator should determine peak times of a case and adjust accordingly.
Accurate Data That Stands Up to Scrutiny
Accurate statistics are incredibly important to develop the level of reporting required by the courts today. An administrator should offer real-time review in a landscape where the courts are looking for more transparency of the settlement administration process.
The Northern District of California United States District Court, a commonly recognized hub for procedural guidance, released guidelines that call for strict levels of transparency in the class action process. A settlement administrator should provide you with as much data as the case requires, including call recordings for quality assurance.
Obtaining accurate historic case data from a settlement administrator can also help you make informed decisions about how the contact center should be structured for optimal results.
IVR systems provide the most consistent avenue to keep a settlement class informed with the most up-to-date information about a settlement. In addition, an automated system is always available for class members to reference frequently asked questions, while having live agents available 24 hours a day may prove to be more costly. Capabilities such as multi-language services contribute to the cost-efficiency of an IVR model.
When Should I Use Live Agents?
Well-trained live agents are beneficial in many ways, particularly in cases when the claims process is complicated for the class member. Live agents are important to use in consumer or securities cases that require class members provide a significant amount of supporting documentation to file their claim. Live agents are trained to anticipate common questions that may arise from class members.
Often, live agents are asked questions that may be off script. It’s extremely valuable to work with an administrator who has an in-house contact center with experienced project managers at arm’s reach to offer added layers of security and mitigate risks of human error. Settlement administrators should be in constant communication with their clients, keeping them involved in the process to maximize efficiency.
Attorneys should work with a settlement administrator to determine how many live agents should be trained for the case. It’s easier for a settlement administrator to reduce the number of live agents and harder to increase the size of the staff once claims have begun being made. Class size, the difficulty of the claims processes and estimated audience behavior should all be taken into consideration before determining how many agents to hire.
Can I Use IVR and Live Agents?
Many cases require both IVR services and live agents, often to accommodate diverse class demographics.
- Is some of the class more likely to trust a live agent?
- Do the class demographics show the class is more likely to participate in a fast claims process?
- Is your class made up of mixed behaviors, likely to utilize both IVR and live agents?
The projected demographic of every class should be taken into account when considering the structure of a contact center. For example, a class of individuals who are educated in trading stocks and bonds may have more detailed questions regarding a securities settlement, requiring well-trained live agents. A class made up of individuals who simply purchase a widely used inexpensive product may be better served with simple answers to common settlement questions.
A well-planned strategy results in cost-effective ways to keep class members who have detailed or simple questions informed throughout the settlement process. Structuring the contact center utilizing an IVR script first, with an option to connect with a live agent for more detailed questions, can prevent bottle-necking of the agents and longer wait times, and help control administration costs.
Engaging a settlement administrator early can ensure each step in the claims process is tailored to fit your case, maximizing class benefit and minimizing costs.