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NEWS RELEASE

Judicial Branch, State of New Hampshire

Contact:
Carole Alfano
Public Information Officer
calfano@courts.state.nh.us
603-271-2646 ext 2359
  For Immediate Release:
March 11, 2014

State's Trial Court Call Center celebrates one millionth phone call
Operators saved nearly 40,000 hours in court staff time; largest volume of calls from non-lawyers

CONCORD -A milestone was reached in New Hampshire today with only a single phone call. The state's Trial Court Call Center in Concord celebrated receiving its one millionth call at 1:35pm, just a little over two years since the service began to be implemented in January of 2012.

When fully staffed, the Center has 30 trained operators. Currently 25 are on the job during calling hours which run Monday through Friday from 8:00am-4:00pm. They each handle an average of 117 calls per day for a combined total of 2,000 a day, or 10,000 in a week.

The Call Center is the first point of contact for anyone placing a call to any of the New Hampshire trial courts. The majority of inquiries are from individuals who are attempting to navigate the court system without the assistance of a lawyer. However, attorneys also use the Call Center to check the status of a case or a hearing. Questions can pertain to any one of the state's 11 superior courts or 10 circuit courts that include 32 district, 28 family and 10 probate divisions.

Edwin Kelly, Chief Administrative Judge of the Circuit Courts, played a major role in the creation of the Call Center. He described the one millionth phone call as, "Great news for self-represented litigants and attorneys. Now they don't have to feel as if they're interrupting a clerk at a court who might have a dozen or more people waiting in line at the counter." Kelly noted that in the past, a clerk at even a small court could field up to 125 calls a day, which set back productivity.

Judge Kelly added, "Clearly, the Call Center's biggest advantage is how much it enhances the Judicial Branch's ability to serve the public. We are able to give people information about their case, and other cases, along with providing the staff at our court houses with additional time in their day to process cases and assist people at the courts. It's a perfect marriage of providing service to public at both ends -- over the phone and at the court house."

Call Center statistics show that 401,832 calls were taken in 2012. When broken down, that meant 33,466 calls every month with 17,491 hours or 2,332 days of court staff time saved. For 2013, the total number of calls jumped to 490,543, a 22% increase. The center took 40,878 calls a month, which translates into 19,521 hours or 2,602 days of court staff time saved.

Kelly admitted the center had its original critics, many of whom were used to being able to call a court directly, but said, "We're gratified by the almost 99% positive feedback we now receive. I am continually amazed whenever I stand in the middle of the Call Center and listen to our operators. Twenty-five separate conversations can be going on at one time, yet the stress level is quite low. I attribute that to the professionalism and helpfulness of our operators."

Jane Bradstreet is in charge of day to day operations at the Call Center. Reflecting on the significance of the day’s big phone call, she said, "This is very exciting and confirms our estimate of call volume when we started the center back in January of 2012.  One million calls represents a tremendous amount of good customer service provided to the citizens of New Hampshire and others seeking information from the courts. We're proud of the important work we do and we're looking forward to expanding our service as the courts move to e-filing."

New Hampshire's Chief Appellate Public Defender, Christopher M. Johnson, is a frequent user of the center as well as a big fan. "I truly appreciate the Call Center," he said. "I can speak with a pleasant operator who answers my questions and is able to email me a case summary. The new system saves me lots of time, travel and headaches. My only disappointment is, I really wanted to be the one millionth caller."

 

Note:

  • The phone number for the Trial Court Call Center is 855-212-1234
  • A fact sheet on the Trial Court Call Center can be found here.

 

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