Staff at Rhode Island's Unemployment Insurance Program have to enter two correct addresses for every claim: the claimant's and the employer's. Getting even one small detail wrong means delays, frustration, increased workloads, and the potential for sending checks to the wrong person.
The Program's call center staff now use QAS Pro to validate addresses in real time, during data entry.
Call center staff now know right away, while the claimant is on the phone, if an address is invalid. This helps the team avoid returned checks and claim forms and saves on researching bad addresses with follow-up phone calls.
More than 75,000 Rhode Island residents filed unemployment claims through the state government last year. With such a steady stream of new data entering the state's legacy database system, maintaining accurate records is essential.
"Before we can approve an unemployment claim, we have to check facts with the employer," said Kathy Conti, Unemployment Insurance Program Administrator for the state's Department of Labor and Training. "People don't always know their employer's address. They know how to get there, but they might not know the actual street number. Having incorrect information slows the process right from the beginning."
Conti works with a team of 60 Unemployment Insurance (UI) Call Center operators, who process UI claims entered by phone or through the mail.
"We used to enter an incorrect address and not know it was incorrect until weeks later, when the claim form would be returned by the Post Office," Conti added.
The number of returned forms and checks was significant and needed to be addressed. Raymond Filippone, Assistant Director of Income Support, assigned Conti to begin researching ways to ensure the validity of the addresses with which they were working.
"This was more than just a matter of increasing operational efficiency," Filippone said. "We have an obligation to protect the Unemployment Trust Fund by making sure we don't send erroneous or incorrectly addressed payments. We were interested in a quick, simple way to address the problem."
The team settled on QAS Pro. QAS Pro validates addresses against official U.S. Postal Service® data in real time, during data entry. It also provides a drop-down menu of valid addresses, which users can simply highlight and select, thus saving time entering data.
"Installation and integration were extremely easy," Conti said. "QAS sent a technician down to Rhode Island who said, 'OK, show me the screens you want to use and how you want them to look,' and he configured every screen for us."
Conti trained the call center staff on the product. "The major training for them wasn't so much how to use the software, but to change the way they ask for an address. It took a while for them to get used to asking for the ZIP Code™ first."
"Our operators like that the addresses appear on-screen from just a few keystrokes," reported Conti. "Street names are already there, correctly spelled, so there is less need to go back and forth over spelling with callers. It definitely makes up for the extra effort it took to get used to asking for the ZIP Code first."
Operators also like that QAS validates addresses in real time. "Now we know if an address is invalid right away, while the caller is still on the phone. Rather than having to go back later and look things up in the phone book, we can simply ask for clarification. It saves an enormous amount of time."
Finally, Conti's team has noticed a dramatic reduction in returned checks and claim forms. Staffers are so pleased with QAS Pro that they have incorporated it into another Income Support division, called Temporary Disability Insurance Program.