New Jury Messaging System Improves Customer Service
A new Integrated Voice Response (IVR) system makes it easier to keep jurors informed. The automated IVR notifies jurors of changes or cancellations, lets jurors leave selected excuse and deferral requests by phone, and reduces hold times.
IVR replaces legacy systems currently in operation in 67 courts across the country. Twenty-seven additional district courts will have the option of using the system for the first time.
IVR improves customer service and increases juror response by using not just phone, but also email, and text messages to tell jurors their reporting date and time or revised times or cancellations. Jurors can call in 24/7, enter their juror number, and confirm their instructions or hear the status of their individual deferral or excusal requests.
With the new IVR, courts can send reminders or special instructions to any number of jurors. A brief, targeted outgoing phone message is a convenient way for jury participants to receive information regarding their service, and when the message is individualized for their group, there may be fewer jurors calling back with questions.
The IVR also offers courts an option for receiving jurors’ excuse and deferral requests by phone. This can reduce court staff workload, eliminating the printing and mailing of written responses to deferral and excusal requests.
For Beth Conley, Chief Deputy Clerk in the District of Montana, whose court recently installed IVR as part of a transition to an on-call jury approach, the system has been a money- and time-saver.
“Montana is a big, big state. We have five divisions and jurors travel hundreds of miles for jury duty,” said Conley. “Without IVR we would have to summon jurors by mail for each trial, and then if the case settles or the trial is postponed, we’d make phone calls and send out second letters. Under an on-call approach, with IVR, jurors call in every Thursday afternoon or Friday to see if they have jury duty for the next week. We’ve had one instance where, last minute, a trial was cancelled. IVR sends emails and makes the phone calls and gets that information out to our jurors.”
A web-browser system interface that runs from any court computer has been added that lets court personnel view or listen to, then annotate juror voicemails. The interface also means jury data can be imported directly, without the need to re-key.
The new IVR already has been installed in about a dozen district courts, with a national rollout slated to start in November.