Consolidated Court Adopts Uniform Phone System

Mar 1, 2002 12:00 PM
The Los Angeles County Superior Court has begun rolling out a telephone system that allows residents to pay traffic tickets using the phone or the Internet. The new system will reduce the amount of time callers have to spend on hold and the number of calls that have to be handled by operators.

In January 2000, the Los Angeles County Superior Court and the county's 25 municipal courts merged into one system. Following the merger, the Superior Court's traffic division identified the Traffic Interactive Payment System (TIPS), used by the Los Angeles County Municipal Court, as an efficient method for handling residents' phone calls and traffic ticket payments.

The Los Angeles Municipal Court implemented the original TIPS in 1992 and used the phone system to help process more than 600,000 citations annually. Over time, demand for the system exceeded capacity, and studies showed that residents were getting up to 4,000 busy signals each day. Worse, residents complained that the system would hang up on them after long waits on the line.

The municipal court replaced the original phone system in 1998 with TIPS-2, which uses the ClientCall eCenter contact and electronic payment automation platform by San Diego-based Sonant. The newly unified court traffic division decided to expand TIPS-2 to serve all callers in the county.

Now, if callers need help from one of the division's 23 operators during regular business hours, they wait no more than 15 minutes. The traffic division's call center logs 3,000 to 5,000 calls daily, and 1,000 to 1,100 of those calls are handled by operators.

The division's phone system features bilingual automated services and operators; access to automated services during off-business hours, seven days a week; and system accessibility by driver's license number. It accepts major credit cards for traffic ticket payments, and it immediately verifies the cards for processing.

The system can handle tickets issued by multiple law enforcement agencies, and it automatically updates court records with transaction information. In the future, the division plans to expand the system to automate the process of scheduling court appearances.

“Our traffic customers don't have to wait in line to sign up for traffic school, post bail for a trial, pay a fine or request an extension,” says Traffic Administrator Bernadette Duncan. “They can handle all those transactions over the phone and be assured that their business is handled quickly and professionally.”

So far, half of all the municipal courts are part of the phone system, and the rest are expected to join by the end of this year. As additional courts are added to TIPS-2, they are required to conform to the traffic division's procedures for citation handling, payment and scheduling. The uniform practices will eliminate residents' complaints about differing policies for similar offenses in differing parts of the county.

About Sonant
Sonant Corporation, a privately-held technology company based in San Diego, provides customized phone- and Web-based contact and information management systems for a wide range of industries and government organizations. ClientCall eCenter™ is the foundation platform of Sonant's family of contact center and electronic payment automation products. The products and services include such contact center automation features as Automatic Contact Distribution (ACD), Automated Speech Recognition (ASR), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), electronic payment by phone and Internet, Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), and fax-back. ClientCall eCenter™ is designed to enhance an organization's customer service and reduce operating costs.

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