Florida Fastest State to Distribute HAF Funds with Vistio

Challenge

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) supports the Governor in developing policies and implementing state and federal programs that provide economic opportunities to all Floridians.

In 2020, Florida DEO received funds from the U.S. Treasury for the Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF), a nationwide program developed to distribute government funds to homeowners and alleviate financial hardships due to COVID-19.

But, compared to other states, Florida DEO was provided its funds two months late, leaving the DEO in need of a systematic way to field over 226,000 phone calls from homeowners inquiring about the HAF program’s application.

With a team of 50-60 agents, Florida DEO and its vendors knew an efficient and organized system was needed to handle the heavy workload. Florida DEO’s vendors approached Vistio to implement a clear structure that would allow all agents to answer calls swiftly and accurately.

Given the changing nature of the HAF program, Florida DEO needed an agile partner like Vistio that could quickly make changes to workflows to ensure agents were always fully equipped to aid callers successfully.

While a typical build for Vistio is 3-6 months, Florida DEO required Vistio’s system to be set up within a week. With no access to a CRM or established escalation process, the Vistio team prepared to create custom solutions for Florida DEO on an accelerated timeline, ready to adjust as needed.

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Solution

Within a week, Vistio delivered an initial set of workflows that enabled agents to answer the most frequently asked questions, with a plan to routinely update the workflows. As the first agents needed to begin immediately, Vistio efficiently guided them through workflows within an hour, creating training documentation for the next wave of agents.

Every week, the Vistio team consulted Florida DEO’s vendors, discussing necessary updates and taking in recommendations. The team consolidated the vendors’ inputs to produce revised workflows that helped agents better answer calls and reduced escalations. Unlike previous software vendors, Vistio worked quickly, releasing seamless updates up to 3 times a week.

As various ads and promotional materials for the HAF program were circulated at different times, Florida DEO’s call center experienced fluctuations in calls. To best prepare agents for unfamiliar questions, the Vistio team modified certain workflows to include FAQs relevant to current ads.

For calls agents were not equipped to handle, Vistio set up a report dashboard to inform case managers of escalations. And to decrease escalations over time, the team developed a unique and successful method specifically for Florida DEO. When agents weren’t able to answer a caller’s question, they clicked the “Other” button to capture the question in the Vistio system. The Vistio team then ran reports on these calls, taking note of commonly asked questions, obtaining answers from Florida DEO, and releasing new workflows providing agents with correct answers.

The Vistio team continually adapted its solution to fit Florida DEO’s needs, creating a more complex call flow once agents were able to handle additional work. The Vistio team developed a verification process connected to Salesforce so agents could easily determine if callers had completed applications and inform them about their application status. Case managers were provided access to call notes in Salesforce, allowing for clear communication between agents and managers.

“With such a high-visibility and potentially politically sensitive program, we had to be prepared for every scenario, and we needed to be able to make changes quickly as the program evolved.

 Vistio not only ensured that every agent handled each call correctly and as efficiently as possible, but it also gave us the agility we needed to incorporate changes into our workflows quickly.”

 —Michael Blood, Site & Program Director at Faneuil, a Florida DEO vendor

Results

Florida DEO led the nation in its efficient distribution of HAF funds, awarding over $463 million in relief.

With Vistio, Florida DEO’s call center could rely on a clear and consistent system to answer over 226,000 calls and easily keep track of case notes. Vistio’s structure and guidance reduced escalations significantly so case managers could focus solely on processing homeowner applications, leading to quicker allocation of funds. Since Florida DEO expected case managers would need to answer calls, they were impressed with Vistio’s ability to shift this responsibility entirely to agents.




For agents, the Vistio team created a seamless and painless experience, preventing agents from being overwhelmed by tailoring workflows to help them perform their best. Agents recognized Vistio’s value and took an active role in requesting updates to streamline calls.As the HAF program was highly publicized, Vistio guided agents through publicity training, preventing negative public perception and legal or political issues. From applying to receiving funds, Floridians viewed Florida DEO as a trustworthy source of information.Currently, Florida DEO continues to utilize Vistio’s solution, as agents field follow-up questions concerning homeowner funds. In the future, Florida DEO plans to implement Vistio for two additional projects to see the same success as the HAF program.

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