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Court Notifications Best Practices

In a previous post, I discussed the importance and value of providing outbound court notifications.  Today we'll take a look at some best practices for sending effective outbound notifications.

Notification Content

There are multiple posts and sources, including the link below, which cite that reminding people of court dates, when combined with other messages regarding the consequences of FTA (failure to appear), is more effective than just sending date, time and location notifications. 

In addition, notifications are being customized with remote appearance instructions (number to call along with PIN, or video link information) or Covid-related instructions, such as "if you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive in the last 10 days, please call the court."     

Frequency and Quantity of Messages

Depending on the type of event, consider sending multiple notifications leading up to the event date and time.  In the example of an upcoming hearing, an initial notification might be sent two weeks before the hearing date, followed by additional reminders one week, one day and two hours prior to the scheduled time.  It can also be beneficial to send notifications after events for FTA or past due payments.

Notification Methods

It can be useful to provide notifications in multiple ways, and if sending multiple notifications for a single event, it might be good to combine different types of notifications, such as post cards, emails, automated calls and text messages.  

The New York City Criminal Justice Agency has provided a comprehensive publication that shares summary data from multiple studies, and delves deeper into best practices, including data collection, messaging templates, when to send notifications, how to evaluate the success of your program and more.      

https://www.nycja.org/publications/court-date-notifications-2

 

 

The Value of Outbound Court Notifications

We get notifications reminding us of our many things in our daily lives, such as dentist appointments, package deliveries, or the expected arrival time of the cable TV repair technician.  There has been a dramatic increase in usage by the public sector - perhaps most notably regarding the Covid-19 vaccine. While attending the NACM (National Association of Court Management)  in mid-July, we had some interesting conversations that underscored the importance of court notifications, the focus of this post.

Courts use notifications for a variety of things, including jury service reminders, hearing reminders, payment reminders, collections notices and more. When it comes to criminal cases, nationwide, 35% of defendants fail to appear for court dates.  As a result, warrants are issued, people are detained for days weeks depending on the nature of the charges, and the court date is rescheduled.  This slows down an already backlogged system, and the cost of issuing and serving warrants and detaining people is staggering.  Courts that have implemented hearing reminders have experienced a reduction in failures to appear, and since the cost of each reminder is pennies, it is a valuable tool.  

Payment reminders are an effective way of improving cash flow.  Collections notices are also effective because most people want to avoid being sent to a collection agency and courts want to avoid this because a significant percentage of the revenue is often retained by collection agencies - as much as 25% or more.  Jury reminders are now offered by jury management system providers and IVR system providers alike, and help to improve jury yields.   

By selecting the right solution for your needs and following best practices, the impact and value of these reminders will be optimized.  We will cover this topic on a future post. 

 

 

ATI Connect Exhibiting at NACM - San Diego

ATI Connect is excited to return to the NACM Annual conference next week in San Diego, and we look forward to building new relationships as well as seeing our long-time friends and colleagues. 

Patrick Bahar and Victor Aranda will be at booth #112 and will be sharing advancements ATI have made in the past year with the streamWrite Portals platform and the exciting plans we have to help Courts improve access to justice and move toward the digital courtrooms of the future.  

Stop by booth #112 to say hello and learn more.

Government Modernization.....Post-Pandemic

Came across an article regarding government modernization and the Post-Pandemic “Digital Transformation”, thought it was a good read and wanted to share.

 

Below is a link to the article as well as a few of the talking points.

https://statescoop.com/pandemic-was-a-tipping-point-for-government-modernization/

 

Talking points:

 

  • Many public agencies are in a transition period between “doing digital” — using digital technologies to augment legacy systems — and “becoming digital,” in which they follow a mixture of physical and virtual processes.

 

  • Several large-scale experiments in government rolled out so quickly and at such a massive scale during the pandemic.

 

  • The pandemic demonstrated just how far many government agencies still must go to become truly digital-first organizations.

 

  • Agencies came through the pandemic saying that the crisis has accelerated their digital transformations, and that more needs to be done, with 80% saying their agencies’ efforts “haven’t gone far enough.”

 

  • Most governments agencies are lagging behind the corporate world in harnessing the power of digital.

 

  • One effect of the pandemic is that governments are finally seeing digital services as vital as corporations have.

 

  • “Typically, previously, we’d see very big discrepancies between government and the commercial sector in how they thought about digital”.

 

  • Among the U.S. public sector, states and larger municipal governments were further along, especially in terms of experimentation and innovation. They launch pilots more frequently, scale pilots more frequently, innovate faster.

 

  • Government at all levels is likely to be more mature in the near future. “All agencies will have strong digital capabilities in five years”.

 

  • While post-pandemic digitization efforts are unlikely to unfold at the breakneck speeds at which state and local governments scrambled during the early days of COVID-19, agencies should try to move more quickly than they did prior to the health crisis. They shouldn’t end up with the speed they had before, It should be somewhere in between.

 

I believe that agencies that are in the process of the digital transformation and are successful in “becoming digital” will create a better quality of life for their citizens, strengthen public trust and improve their overall customer service.

If your organization hasn’t started this process already then now is the time, don’t wait until the next big disruption; whatever that may be.

IVR Phone Payments in 2021

When it comes to making payments, calling into an IVR may not be the first thing that comes to mind.  Personally, online banking is how I like to take care of regular monthly bills - it's fast and convenient. 

However, for organizations across multiple industries, offering payment by IVR as an option is still an important channel, for a number of reasons:

1) Other payment methods may have been affected such as in-office payments due to the pandemic.

2) Customers calling customer service to ask questions about the bill prior to paying want a convenient and secure way to pay by phone. Transferring the caller to the IVR for payment is simple, effective, and efficient, and addresses PCI compliance concerns.  

3) Despite the naysayers, offering IVR as a payment option increases revenues.  The percentage of overall revenues IVR can represent varies greatly, and can depend on many factors (ease-of use, how it's promoted, etc.). For some customers, IVR can be very seasonal, where 90% of the use is just during a few days of the year, but is a must-have because IVR contributes significant revenues.  

4)  For healthcare customers that have added IVR payment as option, it's not uncommon to see IVR payments represents 18%-20% of all monthly revenues received.

5) Offering an additional payment method to the customer, when properly implemented, leads to higher customer satisfaction. 

5) It is available 24/7.

Cloud-based IVR removes previous barriers of premise based systems, often with a fast implementation, and a low set up cost.  Contact us for consultation on how we can help make this happen for your organization.