Mecklenburg County Courts Slam the Gavel on Major IVR System Upgrade
December 27, 2012
In the United States, the court system is of vital importance not only in an operational sense but also to our overall society as a whole. Anyone who's served a turn in jury duty is quite aware--almost painfully so, some might say--of how the right to a speedy trial is one of our most cherished freedoms. In North Carolina's Mecklenburg County, they've recently made a few changes that should not only help ensure that speedy trial, but also improve other services that the court system would offer.
More specifically, Mecklenburg County brought in an upgrade to its interactive voice response (IVR) system that allows potential jurors to get information about their jury summons. As, again, anyone who's done a turn at jury duty knows, cases are often settled at the last moment--sometimes even just before jury selection can begin--so having access to the latest information is a necessity. Jurors can even request a deferral through the system, as not every potential juror is able to serve when called due to a host of other issues.
What's more, those who have previously gone through the court system as defendants with instructions to repay money due to the court can easily access their balances outstanding with the new system.
Both the automated lines for potential jurors and for former defendants operate on a 24/7 basis with information available in both English and Spanish to ensure that the information reaches the largest number of people possible. Even better, those who find themselves as potential jurors can request a reminder call through the system that gives them three days advance notice ahead of their date of service, and can request a reminder e-mail as well via the Mecklenburg County's juror website.
IVR systems have provided a lot of benefit for users of all stripes by allowing information to be easily disseminated regardless of the hour. Whether it's a potential juror calling to find out his or her jury status before work the next day, a former defendant checking on an account balance with the court system, or a regular person calling to find out when a store is open or who to talk to about a warranty replacement, IVR systems serve as an easy way to provide information. They can provide simple information directly--things like times, dates, account balances--or failing that, route them to the live person best suited to solve their particular problem.
With IVR systems, there's a decreased need for escalation--chances are in an IVR situation the user is sent to the person best suited to solve a problem, and if it can't be solved from there there's little other hope--as well as a decreased need to commit live operators to answering simple questions that a machine could more readily tackle. This cuts down on hold times, and user frustration, as it increases the chances of getting just the right person with a few simple questions the machines can handle.
Only time will tell just how far the Mecklenburg Courts' IVR upgrade will go with the community at large, but it's a safe bet that things will get more efficient, and with better service, thanks to the improvements offered by an IVR system.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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