Launching a COVID-19 hotline

Providing equitable vaccine access to schedule appointments in a USA state.

Challenge

Facilitating Efficient Vaccine Distribution

As the COVID-19 vaccines became available, a state in the USA was determined to ensure an efficient and equitable distribution process. Amidst the excitement and urgency to vaccinate the population, the state faced the significant challenge of managing an overwhelming demand for information and scheduling, especially among vulnerable populations. The goal was to streamline the process, making vaccine information and appointments accessible to all citizens, thereby reducing public anxiety and facilitating a smooth vaccination rollout.

Challenge

Facilitating Efficient Vaccine Distribution

As the COVID-19 vaccines became available, a state in the USA was determined to ensure an efficient and equitable distribution process. Amidst the excitement and urgency to vaccinate the population, the state faced the significant challenge of managing an overwhelming demand for information and scheduling, especially among vulnerable populations. The goal was to streamline the process, making vaccine information and appointments accessible to all citizens, thereby reducing public anxiety and facilitating a smooth vaccination rollout.

Strategic Solution

A Comprehensive COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline

To address these challenges, the state established a COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, leveraging the 2-1-1 system to offer a centralized platform for vaccine-related inquiries and scheduling. The strategy included:

  • Extended Operation Hours: A dedicated call center was set up to operate from 7 am to 10 pm, seven days a week, prepared to handle a wide array of questions regarding vaccine availability, registration, and safety.
  • Rapid Scaling of Trained Staff: The call center was swiftly staffed with 150 agents within two weeks of the soft launch, scaling up within 30 days to meet the anticipated demand.
  • Innovative Use of Technology: To efficiently manage call volumes, the state implemented several technology solutions, including a chatbot on the covidLINK site, a call-back option, call deflection to messaging platforms, proactive messaging, and a BOT Factory for automating responses to common questions.

Strategic Solution

A Comprehensive COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline

To address these challenges, the state established a COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline, leveraging the 2-1-1 system to offer a centralized platform for vaccine-related inquiries and scheduling. The strategy included:

  • Extended Operation Hours: A dedicated call center was set up to operate from 7 am to 10 pm, seven days a week, prepared to handle a wide array of questions regarding vaccine availability, registration, and safety.
  • Rapid Scaling of Trained Staff: The call center was swiftly staffed with 150 agents within two weeks of the soft launch, scaling up within 30 days to meet the anticipated demand.
  • Innovative Use of Technology: To efficiently manage call volumes, the state implemented several technology solutions, including a chatbot on the covidLINK site, a call-back option, call deflection to messaging platforms, proactive messaging, and a BOT Factory for automating responses to common questions.

Tangible Results

A Model of Success in Public Health Response

The COVID-19 Hotline initiative achieved remarkable results, significantly enhancing the vaccination process:

  • Exceptional Call Management: At the peak, the infrastructure was prepared to handle up to 75,000 calls per day, ensuring that citizens’ questions were answered promptly and efficiently.
  • Dramatic Reduction in Call Volume to Agents: Through strategic use of technology, call volume to human agents was reduced by over 30%, streamlining the process and minimizing wait times for callers.
  • High Citizen Satisfaction: The hotline achieved a customer satisfaction rate of 93%, surpassing the Service Level Agreement (SLA) target of 90%, reflecting the effectiveness and responsiveness of the service.
  • Operational Excellence: The hotline’s operational performance exceeded FEMA SLAs across multiple metrics, including web portal availability at 99.9%, average speed to answer at 18 seconds, and a call abandonment rate of only 2%.

Tangible Results

A Model of Success in Public Health Response

The COVID-19 Hotline initiative achieved remarkable results, significantly enhancing the vaccination process:

  • Exceptional Call Management: At the peak, the infrastructure was prepared to handle up to 75,000 calls per day, ensuring that citizens’ questions were answered promptly and efficiently.
  • Dramatic Reduction in Call Volume to Agents: Through strategic use of technology, call volume to human agents was reduced by over 30%, streamlining the process and minimizing wait times for callers.
  • High Citizen Satisfaction: The hotline achieved a customer satisfaction rate of 93%, surpassing the Service Level Agreement (SLA) target of 90%, reflecting the effectiveness and responsiveness of the service.
  • Operational Excellence: The hotline’s operational performance exceeded FEMA SLAs across multiple metrics, including web portal availability at 99.9%, average speed to answer at 18 seconds, and a call abandonment rate of only 2%.
By implementing a well-coordinated strategy that combined rapid staffing, innovative technology, and a focus on customer service, the state not only met but exceeded its goals for the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline. This initiative served as a critical component of the state’s response to the pandemic, ensuring equitable access to vaccine information and scheduling, reducing public anxiety, and contributing significantly to the state’s vaccination efforts.

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