Labor Department to New York's Unemployed: We'll Call You Back!!!
New York Among the First States in the Nation to Launch Ground-Breaking New Customer Service Initiative
Albany, NY (March 15, 2010) - Can't See the video? Click Here to Get Adobe Flash Player. At a news conference at the Troy Tel-Claims Center in the Capital Region, State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner announced a new program, appropriately titled "UI Will Call," that will dramatically improve customer service for the state's 680,000 Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients. New York was awarded $1.1 million by the federal government last year to launch this program. "UI Will Call" will save the Labor Department more than $370,000 in phone bills a year, while at the same time enhancing services for New Yorkers.
"This is just the latest in a series of improvements made to the Labor Department's UI system to help New Yorkers through these difficult times," said Commissioner Gardner. "New York is one of the first states in the country to launch this program. The premise of 'UI Will Call' is exactly how it sounds. If you're unemployed and tired of waiting on the phone, you don't have to. We will call you back."
The easiest, most convenient way for New Yorkers to file and certify for UI benefits is through the Labor Department's website. However, New Yorkers often have general questions and concerns about their claims that cannot be handled without speaking directly to a Department of Labor call center agent. Right now, the average time a New Yorker spends trying to get through to one of these call center agents is 11 to 12 minutes on Monday and about four minutes every other weekday.
With the "UI Will Call" system, New Yorkers who have been on hold for two minutes can select an option to opt out of the call. In turn, the "UI Will Call" system will call them back. A call center agent will be on the other end of the line, ready to help. In the coming months, a new feature will be added to the system where New Yorkers will be able to pinpoint the exact day and time they would like to receive a callback.
More than 900,000 New Yorkers are out of work and 680,000 of them are collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits. In a given week, the Department of Labor answers 60,000 calls at its Tel-Claims Centers; more than double the volume of calls from just two years ago. The Labor Department estimates that "UI Will Call" will lead to a 48% decrease in hang-ups and 19,500 fewer repeat calls in its first year of operation.
"How many times have you called a customer service hotline, pressed button after button and, after many minutes of wasted time and energy, just given up?" asked Commissioner Gardner. "Now add to it the fact that you're unemployed and calling about your livelihood. At the Department of Labor, we know that the unemployment process can be very frustrating, which is why we are constantly working to improve our services for New Yorkers. 'UI Will Call' makes waiting on hold a thing of the past."
New Yorkers are encouraged to file and certify for UI benefits through the Labor Department's website. However, if you are unemployed and need to take advantage of the "UI Will Call" service, call 1-888-209-8124.
The Labor Department also urges New Yorkers to take advantage of other features on the Department of Labor's website, which include an unemployment insurance calculator and social networking tools. For more information about the Department of Labor and its services for New Yorkers, please visit http://www.labor.ny.gov/.