About Sonant Corporation

Sonant has a long history of providing technologically advanced solutions to clients seeking to improve their customer relationships.


Sonant Corporation provides customized phone-and Web-based contact automation and management, customer/citizen service, and electronic payment systems to a wide range of commercial and government organizations. It has been doing so for more than 20 years.

Sonant offers many affordable, all-in-one customer management, automated messaging, and e-payment solutions that easily integrate with your organization’s existing phone and data networks. The products offer cost-effective integration of the current voice- and data-processing technologies, including Web and automatic speech recognition.

Our Mission

To provide technologically advanced contact automation systems that enable commercial and government agencies to cost-effectively maximize both the quality of interactive contact with their customers and the productivity of their employees.

Our Markets

Sonant's systems are used by a wide variety of business and government organizations that require improved customer/citizen management solutions, including speech recognition, automated e-payment, and full self-processing capabilities. Sonant addresses these needs by offering customized, mission-critical solutions that incorporate the most cost-effective integration of call and data processing technologies available today. Relying on its extensive experience interfacing to a variety of data processing systems, Sonant develops new applications to your specific demands. Sonant also offers turnkey solutions pre-packaged for specific markets. These include CourtTalk and TaxTalk products for courts, jury offices, and tax/revenue collectors.

Sonant's ClientCall eCenter product family meets or exceeds demanding market requirements in the following areas:

  • Ability to act as a peer in data processing client/server architectures
  • Open system platform
  • Multiple applications per system
  • Scalable capacity
  • Connection to existing telephone and data networks

Our Partners

Sonant's business partners, combined with Sonant's expertise in contact center automation, offer our customers leading technologies and an unrivaled feature set. Currently our partners include the following companies.

Heartland logo

Heartland provides electronic payment services and PCI-compliant processing.

Journal Technologies Inc.

Journal Technologies, Inc. provides case management software to courts and other justice agencies.

Tyler Technologies

Tyler Technologies supplies connected software solutions for courts and other justice agencies.

Our Customers

This list of partial clients demonstrates how Sonant products can be used to automate customer contact in a broad range of customers across different industries.

CUSTOMER APPLICATION

Alameda County Superior Court

Juror Services, IVR

Anoka County, MN

Property Tax Inquiry and Payment, IVR, Web, Electronic Payment

Arizona Supreme Court

Refund Intercept Information, IVR

Brigham & Women's Hospital

Hospital Staff Locator/Paging, IVR

Caddo Parish LA - Court

Juror Services, IVR

Clark County NV – District Court

Juror Services, Juvenile, IVR, ACD, CTI, Outbound Messaging

Clark County NV - Tax Collector

Property Tax Inquiry and Payment, IVR, ACD, CTI, Web, Electronic Payment

Dallas County TX - Court

Juror Services, IVR, ACD, CTI

Douglas County NE - Court

Juror Services, IVR

Fresno County CA Tax Collector

Property Tax Inquiry and Payment, IVR, ACD, CTI, Web, Electronic Payment

Hidalgo County TX Court

Juror Services, IVR

Jackson County MO Tax Collector

Property Tax Inquiry and Payment, Web, Electronic Payment

LA County CA Superior Court Traffic Division

Traffic Citations, Auto-attendant, IVR, Electronic Payment for IVR and Web

LA County CA Superior Court Civil Division

Civil Filing Fees, Web, IVR, Electronic Payment

Las Vegas Justice Court

Traffic, Civil, Criminal Auto-attendant, Web, IVR, ACD, CTI, Electronic Payment

Minnesota State Courts

Traffic, Auto-attendant, IVR, ACD, CTI, Web, Electronic Payment

Mohave County AZ - Court

Juror Services, IVR

Massachusetts General Hospital

Hospital Staff Locator/Paging, IVR

Philadelphia PA 1st Judicial District Court

Juror Services, IVR

Riverside County, CA

Tax Collector/Assessor/Clerk/Recorder, IVR, ACD, CTI, Web, Electronic Payment

Riverside County CA Superior Court

Traffic Citations, Auto-attendant, IVR, ACD, CTI, Electronic Payment

Sacramento County CA Superior Court

Juror Self-Serve, IVR, ACD, CTI

San Bernardino County CA Superior Court

Juror Self-Serve, IVR, ACD, CTI

San Bernardino County CA Superior Court

Traffic Self-Serve, IVR, Electronic Payment as a Hosted Service

San Diego County CA Tax Collector

Property Tax Inquiry and Payment, IVR, ACD, CTI, Electronic Payment

San Francisco County CA Superior Court

Juror Services, IVR, ACD, CTI

San Joaquin County CA Superior Court

Juror Services, IVR

San Mateo County CA Superior Court

Juror Services, Family Law, Small Claims, E-Filings, IVR, Web, ACD, CTI,

San Mateo County CA Child Services

Staff Locator/Call Routing, IVR

San Mateo County CA Human Services

Staff Locator/Call Routing, IVR

Sonant in the Media

Current and past news from Sonant appears here. (Click each heading for the complete item.)

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.
# # #

SONANT Contact:

Charlie Smith
(800) 929-2920, x218
csmith@sonant.com

Email Address Correction Requested.
Notify csmith@sonant.com for additions or deletions to future emails.

Sonant Corporation: Integrated Contact Management Solutions

reprinted from the San Diego Business Journal - Fall 2000

All the talk about how critical customer relationship management (CRM) is for the success of both businesses and non-business organizations is not lost on one local company, Sonant Corporation. That’s because organizations usually contact the Sorrento Valley startup when they know they have a customer service problem. Sonant’s mission is improving the efficiency and quality of customer relationship management in organizations, before it’s too late. And, if you think customer relationship management refers only to an organization’s prospective and current customers, think again. Sonant maintains that customer relationship management extends to organizational improvement as well.

Case in point: A few years ago, the Los Angeles Municipal Court (LAMC) was besieged by a frustrated public calling to request information about court hours, directions, payment procedures, and other topics. It was not uncommon for callers to have to wait up to an hour in a call queue to be transferred to an operator for assistance. And, if the operator could not help them, or had to transfer them to some other part of the system, it could be another lengthy wait. Further, if a caller wanted to pay a traffic citation, they would have to travel to the court – a definite inconvenience for most people in the Los Angeles area. The situation all made for a very unhappy public; and, a very unhappy court district: Because of the inefficient phone system, the court (and county) was forced to spend more on collections and call center staff to make up for the system’s weaknesses. The problem also affected the operators who handled the phone calls: Because they were on the front line, many callers, upset at having gotten through after an hour’s wait, sometimes took their frustrations out on the agents.

Sonant provided a solution to the LAMC’s worries with CourtTalk, a tailored, total contact center solution for court call centers. Now, callers dial in to the system, browse through a host of information messages on a wide range of topics, pay a citation using a credit card, sign up for traffic school, or even make a trial by declaration – with or without an operator’s assistance. All this with a single phone call. The public can also access the court’s Web site for the same kinds of information, or to pay a citation online.

Since the new system went live a year and a half ago, the LAMC far surpassed its CRM objectives. Among the achievements:

  • Paid for itself in less than 6 months
  • Reduced caller hold times by over 90%
  • Reduced caller complaints by over 90%
  • Eliminated the plan to double their call center staff
  • Freed existing staff for other duties
  • Realized credit card payment revenues of nearly $1 million per month

While courts remain one of Sonant’s primary markets, the company has supplied a range of tailored contact automation systems for parks and recreation departments, hospitals, insurance companies, the New York Mercantile Exchange, and tax collection agencies. In fact, San Diego’s own Property Tax Collection office uses a Sonant contact system, called TaxTalk, to automate responses to callers’ questions about taxes, as well as enabling property owners to pay their tax bills over the phone using a credit card.

Whatever the market, Sonant systems help organizations improve their customer service capabilities, as well as enhance their internal organizational efficiency. It’s hard to argue with the results Sonant customers have received since installing their contact management solutions.

How does a Sonant CRM product benefit organization? Here’s a simple, but practical, example: Let’s say a company wants to extend customer service through a phone-in call center to dispense information about three service plans. (The company’s Web site is already up, and provides descriptions of the plans. But, Internet access isn’t always convenient or available to the company’s customers.)

Callers may now call in to hear a description of each plan, and decide at that moment to purchase one of the plans. In the same phone call, the system accepts their credit card number and processes the payment instantly. If the caller has a question about one of the plans, she can select an option to be connected to an operator. Even while waiting for the operator, she could still browse around other areas in the site, and possibly find the answers he needs. The system does all this while holding the caller’s original place in line, then connects her to an operator as soon as one is available. Not only that, but the information the caller entered at the beginning of the call (e.g., credit card or account number) is never lost throughout the complete call. That way, the caller never has to re-enter the same information she entered earlier in the call.

A simple system such as this frees up staff from having to process these calls manually, eases customer access to product information, and provides another revenue source, or enhances an existing one.

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.

# # #

SONANT Contact:

Charlie Smith
(800) 929-2920, x218
csmith@sonant.com

LA Court Automates Ticketing

Busy signals, caller complaints down, productivity up

By Kathy Porteus

LOS ANGELES — With the recent addition of online payment capabilities, the largest municipal court in the country is witnessing significant improvements in handling thousands of traffic violation tickets each day.

Since installing ClientCall CourtTalk from San Diego-based Sonant Corp., the Los Angeles Municipal Court continues to chalk up benefits from automating its traffic ticket-handling and information delivery.

Most notable benefits include:
  • Reduced caller hold times by more than 550 percent
  • Near-elimination of busy signals
  • Reduced caller complaints by more than 90 percent
  • Freed up 35 percent of existing staff for other tasks
  • Doubled the number of callers processed per day without adding head count
  • Automated nearly $1 million per month in credit card payments via telephone and Internet
  • Significantly decreased the amount of regular mail received

According to Bernadette Duncan, division chief of the Metropolitan Branch Court of the Los Angeles Judicial District, only 12-13 agents are needed to handle the roughly 15,000 calls the department receives each week. “What is significant is that only one-third of these calls actually requires a live agent, whereas before, everybody calling needed to speak to someone,” she says.

The Sonant system is designed specifically to help courts manage the information most frequently requested by the public and enables the public—“customers”—to perform routine activities. The scalable system is based on redundant servers running on Microsoft Windows NT. The court selected Sonant, Duncan says, because of the rich functionality of ClientCall CourtTalk. Sonant also had, through previous work with the LA court, a thorough understanding of the court’s processes, system needs and decision-making timeline.

The Los Angeles Municipal Court’s online payment and traffic information capabilities went live in early 2000. According to Duncan, Internet use is rising significantly each month as the public becomes more aware of the Web option and more comfortable using the Internet.

To encourage even greater public use of its automated telephone and Web-based service, the court prominently displays the telephone number and Web address on traffic tickets. Call center agents also promote the Web site to further educate callers. “People can pay fines over the phone or online, as well as check on their last payment, give themselves a one-time 60-day extension, sign-up for a ‘trial by declaration’ or register for traffic school,” Duncan says.

With this kind of success, the call center under Duncan’s management will soon become the centralized center for the entire county. Today, there is a different call center for each of the 23 other municipal courts within Los Angeles County. As the call centers consolidate, their workload will be pulled into Sonant’s ClientCall solution.

In addition to providing self-process capabilities for citation payment or information, the Los Angeles Municipal Court’s Web site also enables the public to download court forms. “The main thing, from a court administrative and service perspective, is you want to cut down on foot traffic,” Duncan says. “This will be easier to do as more people become computer-literate and the service media of choice will be the Internet.”

Posted with permission of CC News from the February 2000 issue. Copyright United Publications, Inc., Yarmouth, ME. #26182 Managed by Reprint Management Services, (717) 399-1900

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.

# # #

SONANT Contact:

Charlie Smith
(800) 929-2920, x218
csmith@sonant.com

Traffic Ticket IVR

By Ellen Muraskin, Computer Telephony Magazine, July 2000

The Problem: High call volumes in LA Traffic Court.

The Pieces: Sonant Corporation's ClientCall CourtTalk IVR/ACD Norstar hybrid key/PBX system IVR servers housing: Dialogic D/480SC 48-port voice cards with network interface, Dialogic D/241SC network interface cards ACD/Payment Server Windows NT

The Plot: The Los Angeles Municipal Court's 15-station call center handles calls from LA residents who've received traffic tickets. Until November 1998, they were swamped with queues growing 50 calls deep, abandons, and busies. That was just to answer the LAPD's ticketed callers. When the center's job was expanded to include citations from the county highway patrol and other agencies as well, they realized that their small IVR system had reached the breaking point. “It would take two to three days to get through,” says Bernadette Duncan, Division Chief, Metropolitan Branch Court.

The pre-existing IVR had automated a small portion of ticket handling: only the numerically-coded traffic tickets of the LAPD. Alphanumerically coded tickets had to be handled by live operators. The old system was also the product of three different vendors: Sonant for IVR, PacBell for Centrex-based ACD, and Microlog for auto attendant. “They all worked independently,” recalls Duncan.

When the time came to upgrade, the LAMC went with Sonant, for their preexisting familiarity with the center's requirements and their previous award through competitive bid. Sonant supplied the newer auto attendant, expanded the IVR, the credit-card payment processing engine to go with it, and built an integrated ACD. They replaced agent dumb terminals with Windows PCs, and put a Norstar hybrid phone system for bare-bones switching behind their ACD and IVR servers. “That ended the [multi-vendor] finger pointing,” says Duncan.

That also started a revenue gush, because the system so markedly increased LAMC's capacity to handle call volume. It automated a much larger proportion of calls, spread that call load around the clock, reduced hold times over 550%, virtually eliminated busies, and screen-popped caller records and ACD info on calls that did go to live operators.

“The first day we turned the switch on this system, we got $3,000 in payments,” Duncan says. “Under the old system, we collected $110,000 in payments per month. Under the new system, we now collect $160,000 to $200,000 per week.” Just taking the friction out of ticket payment has lowered the number of arrest and bench warrants the court has had to issue for non-payers.

Callers enter citation numbers and birthdates. Sonant's system fetches caller history and applies eligibility rules to administer automatable penalties: Someone who hasn't had a citation in over year, for example, might satisfy his penalty by signing up (using IVR registration) for traffic school. The system also lets callers automatically set arraignment dates. If they want to contest tickets (if they qualify), they can order forms for “trial-by-declaration,” on which they can write up and submit their version of events. Sonant has added credit-card payment to LAMC's Web site as well, accessing the same financial database as the IVR.

Two voice servers with two incoming T-1s apiece currently run this NT system, for a total of 96 ports. Mirrored IVR runs in both VRUs using Sonant's ClientCall script, consulting business rules, back end databases, as well as the separate ACD and payment-processing server. Where calls must follow to a live agent, the ACD determines available agents, Client Call fetches the target agent's DID, and a D/241SC on the back end of the VRU uses the DID to forward the call through the Norstar.

Client Call also has the citation number to send over LAN to the host database. In this way, caller-entered data completely circumvents the switch; no PBX integration is necessary. “Our only requirement of the PBX is that it be programmed to give our ACD a dedicated line appearance at each agent's phone set,” says Murray Judy, Sonant's VP, Engineering, so that the ACD knows who is logged on and available. Lernout & Hauspie text-to-speech is used to read back addresses for confirmation.

Agent PCs are simultaneously logged onto two sessions: ClientCall's own agent client and a terminal emulation of a CICS screen running off LAMC's IBM 390. This accesses the traffic violation database.

Knowledge is power: The Sonant client gives agents newfound leverage in dealing with clients by telling them how long they've really been waiting in queue, and why their call was forwarded. Murray Judy says that the effect on CSR morale was dramatic: “People who'd left the call center now wanted to come back.” Agents can now also redirect callers back into the automated system, popping them back right where they left off, or any other place in the IVR, using a drop-down menu of reentry points. Calls can also be transferred to extensions both within and outside the ACD.

Completion of the next upgrade to LAMC's system will bring another T-1 onboard, for a total capacity of 144 ports. The new ports will support Los Angeles County's consolidation from 23 separate municipal courts to reorganization as one Superior Court, and an upcoming centralization of one call center for all traffic court calls. It's also supporting the increased ticketing (and revenue stream) that's followed LA's institution of Photo Enforcement: those cameras mounted at intersection that catch and photograph drivers running red lights. Those ticket recipients have a separate menu item on LAMC's IVR.

Sonant, for its part, has leveraged its success with Los Angeles to market the solution vertically, as ClientCall CourtTalk. Aimed at a wider range of court applications, 16 have been sold to date.

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.

# # #

SONANT Contact:

Charlie Smith
(800) 929-2920, x218
csmith@sonant.com