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Scope of Work
Each year, more than 33,000 people receive business permit assistance over the phone from the Office of Regulatory and Management Assistance (ORMA). To answer the variety of questions posed by callers, ORMA Permit Coordinators rely on a database describing nearly 1,200 permits issued by more than 40 different New York State agencies.

Since its inception in 1979, the Permit Assistance Program has responded to more than a quarter million inquiries from every state and 25 foreign countries. But, by 1993, increasing demand and decreasing funding combined to produce a serious customer service problem: only 16% of incoming calls were answered on the first try. The rest received a busy signal.

ORMA brought this problem to the Center for Technology in Government, seeking a solution that would use more sophisticated voice response technology to meet the needs of its customers. The proposal was accepted as one of four competitively selected projects initiated at CTG in 1993. The overall goal of the project was to increase both operational efficiency and service quality. Specifically, the project sought to investigate the range of available advanced voice information and response technologies and to build and evaluate a prototype integrated voice response solution that would offer clients faster and more consistent service.

The project evaluation assessed technical feasibility, cost-effectiveness, customer service implications, and compatibility within existing ORMA operations. It also produced indicators about how to improve the larger multi-agency system that New York State uses to disseminate business information to its citizens.