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ServiceNow & Tennessee DHS - Customer Service Department of the Year


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Company: ServiceNow, Santa Clara, CA
Company Description: Work matters. It’s where we spend a third of our lives. And the workplace of the future is going to be a great place. We’re dedicated to bringing that to life for people everywhere. That’s why we put people at the heart of everything we do.
Nomination Category: Customer Service Department Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Department of the Year - Public Services & Education

Nomination Title: Tennessee Department of Human Services sets a new customer experience benchmark for government services

Tell the story about what this nominated department achieved since the beginning of July 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes: REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) builds strong families by connecting Tennesseans to employment, education and support services.

However, the TDHS found itself struggling to deliver responsive customer support for these critical services. A voluntary employee buyout, a hiring freeze, and a major increase in client volumes created a perfect storm, with call center wait times rising to more than two hours at peak periods. It took 36 hours to assign a customer inquiry to an agent, and average resolution times were 120 hours. As a result, call center complaints increased by 275% and annual escalated calls rose from 8,800 to 16,600.

Landon Cook is the TDHS Customer Service Director. New to his role, he took action, determined to deliver the level of service that Tennesseans deserve, particularly since the state’s citizens rely on TDHS services in times of personal crisis. To achieve this goal, Cook decided to replace outdated manual processes and siloed channels with a scalable statewide service delivery platform to revolutionize the customer experience through innovation and a seamless network of services.

Cook partnered with Tennessee’s Strategic Technology Solutions (STS) to identify a solution that fulfilled these needs. After investigating several options, Cook and STS chose a recently introduced customer service platform that leveraged commercial technology that STS already used for IT service delivery to other Tennessee government departments. Cook and the STS team chose this platform because it:

  • Accelerated service delivery by replacing manual, error-prone processes with automated, trackable workflows.
  • Created a single, omnichannel system of record for citizen inquiries, ensuring seamless service continuity no matter which channels clients use.
  • Safeguarded confidentiality and privacy, including providing audit-ready compliance with state regulatory requirements.
  • Offered a low-risk solution, since STS was already familiar with the technology and had the skills needed to drive a successful technology-led transformation.
  • Delivered the scalability and expandability that TDHS needed to continuously improve and extend its customer service capabilities.

TDHS went live with the new platform just 8 weeks after starting system design. Throughout the design process, Cook and the STS team focused on the user experience for Tennessee citizens and for TDHS representatives. As a result, the deployed solution delivered user-friendly interactions that accurately captured relevant information with a minimum of effort.

The results were immediate. Within a month of launch, resolution times fell 70% from 120 hours to 34 hours. Even more remarkably, assignment times for new inquiries dropped 99.9% from 36 hours to 100 seconds due to automated inquiry routing. As a result, late responses fell by 85%, giving Tennesseans rapid access to critical TDHS support when they need it most.

This transformation goes beyond speed of delivery. TDHS customer service is now client-centric and easy to use. Tennesseans can access service via phone, email, chat, mobile, and kiosks located throughout the state. Service is delivered consistently, with TDHS representatives having full access to a unified customer history across all of these channels. For example, when a citizen submits an inquiry by email and follows up by phone, the TDHS agent who answers the call can see the previous email inquiry. Previously, the client would have to start again when talking to the agent because there was no cross-channel visibility. Not only has this dramatically improved the customer experience, it has also increased agent productivity. The morale of TDHS representatives has also improved since they can now focus on serving customers rather than wrestling with tedious manual inquiry management and administration.

By transforming customer service, the Tennessee TDHS has ushered in a new era of responsive, accessible citizen services. It is fulfilling its deep commitment to the welfare of Tennesseans, delivering on the state government’s promise that there will be no wrong door for citizens in a transparent Tennessee.