Spherix, Inc.

State of Maryland
Department of Budget and Management
State of Maryland, Department of Budget and Management
Call Center/Contact Center Services
July 1995 - October 1998

Quality Support, Inc. was a subcontractor to Spherix, Incorporated and together we were re-awarded the Call Center Services contract from the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, previously performed from February 2000 through October 2004. This contract consisted of two specific areas: the Constituent Services hotline and the Child Support hotline. We provided English speaking and Spanish speaking bilinguals to operate both hotlines. The Constituent Services hotline handled calls for general information and referral, welfare fraud, child abuse and neglect, adoption, temporary cash assistance, food stamps, foster care, adult abuse and neglect, energy assistance, customer complaints and concerns, appeals, crisis management and other Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) services/programs. The Child Support hotline is in place to provide local child support offices with telephone support answering initial calls for general information and referrals. This was a highly sensitive area given that this was a statewide enforcement program intended to ensure that non-custodial parents fulfilled their obligations to provide financial and medical support for their children. Our CSR’s coordinated with the State of Maryland to assist public inquiries via telephone and email, reviewing their case accounts while maintaining confidentiality and professionalism at all times. In December of 2004, this single call center was responsible for handling approximately 313,000 cases statewide. Quality Support’s staff answered at least 68,000 calls on a monthly basis lasting for approximately three to four minutes.

We consistently met or exceeded the AQLs on this contract. All calls were entered and tracked in the DHR database. Answered and Processed Inquiries, Including Telephone, Email, Web, Mail, and Fax Inquiries: Email, phone, fax, and mail inquiries were responded to on a daily basis. All inquiry responses had to adhere to the DHR Policies and Procedures at all times, safeguarding all proprietary information, as is mandatory under the Privacy Act. Like HUD TAC, our CSRs responded to a variety of public inquiries of a case-specific and general nature. Define and Categorize User Problems and Support End-User Problem: CSRs researched each case they processed, which included reviewing payments made to primary care-givers. Work orders were then sent to alert the local office regarding action on the case. The local office determines if the case needs to be taken to court or if the responsible party’s driver’s license needs to be suspended.

There are various enforcement tools that are used to enforce cases. Quality Support, Inc. also generated work orders for case workers and for enforcement, processed information regarding the absent parents’ job information and location, and issues garnishments, as necessary. Monitor Hotline Status and Physical Inspection Report Quality: Calls were monitored by the Quality Support, Inc. Project Manager to assure accuracy and professionalism and compliance with court orders. Due to the sensitive nature of these issues, all CSRs were required to sign an annual Non-Disclosure and Confidentiality Statement. All supervisors were obligated to monitor at least 10% of the calls daily. Monitoring ensures that the caller receives accurate information. The CSRs customer service skills were also monitored. One 100% of the calls were documented daily by mandate. Our CSRs processed a range of 65 to 100 calls a day. Each call that came into the child support hotline was documented by the CSR in the custom database.

A report was printed weekly to assure that each call matches. Our CSRs were given a weekly report that indicated their talk time, number of calls taken, and number of supervisor calls that were elevated during that week. Our Project Manager met with each CSR and together they assessed areas that needed improvement as well as areas that had improved. Quality Support’s original level of effort employed seven operators. Due to our proven low personnel turnover, in 2002, Spherix expanded our contract participation to include an additional 10 full time CSRs. We constantly aspired to motivate and encourage team spirit, and have been proven successful as a result of the re-awarded contract. Updated Problem Reference: CSRs researched each case they processed and then recommended cases for action. Work orders were sent to alert the local office regarding action on the case. Quality Support also generated work orders for case workers and for enforcement, processed information regarding the absent parents’ job information and location, and issued garnishments, as necessary. Our CSRs followed specific procedures as to where to direct and how to track cases. Collaborated on Issues Requiring Business Area Decisions: Inquiries were received via phone, email, fax, and mail. All inquiries were entered into the database for tracking purposes. After researching the case, the CSRs responded, as appropriate. When additional assistance was required, beyond that of the Task Leads and Project Manager, our CSRs worked with local DHR offices, case workers, and even police enforcement at times, to bring satisfactory close to the cases. Business Process Support: Our CSRs were trained in Federal, State, and local policies and procedures and State Agency operations. CSRs also went through a two-week training course regarding child support enforcement.

The class covered procedures and policy for child support and how to determine if/when a case should be enforced. This training was provided by the State of Maryland. “Refresher” courses were required for employees whose statistics required improvement. Training recommendations were made, as deemed necessary, from both our Task Lead and our Project Manager. Standards: All supervisors were obligated to monitor at least 10% of the calls daily. The CSRs’ customer service skills were also monitored. 100% of the calls were documented daily. All inquiry responses adhered to the DHR Policies and Procedures at all times, safeguarding all proprietary information, as is mandatory under the Privacy Act. Also weekly, as mentioned, CSRs were given a report that indicated their talk time, number of calls taken, and number of supervisor calls that were elevated during that week. Our Project Manager met weekly with each CSR to assess areas that needed improvement and areas that had improved.

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