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Helping Small Businesses

Summary

Publications & Results

Prototype

Press Releases & News Stories

Partners

Funding Sources

Scope of Work

Contact Information

Summary
Each year, more than 33,000 people receive business permit assistance over the phone from the Office of Regulatory and Management Assistance (ORMA). 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.

The overall goal of the project was to increase both operational efficiency and service quality. The project investigated the range of available advanced voice information and response technologies, and built and evaluated 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.

NOTE: The Office of Regulatory and Management Assistance (ORMA) became the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform (GORR) in early 1995. GORR's mission differs from ORMA's in many respects, but permit assistance remains a key component of the office mission. More about GORR can be found at: http://www.gorr.state.ny.us/gorr. For permit assistance, call 800-342-3464 or (for most out-of-state callers) 518-474-8275.

Publications & Results
Reports and Working Papers (2)
Reports Cover
Voice Information Response System
Sun, 01 May 1995 >Download PDF
The telephone is the means by which most people deal with the government. This report presents the results of a project that developed a prototype voice response system for the NYS Office of Regulatory and Management Assistance.

Reviewing the Performance of ORMA's Voice Response System for Automated Business Permit Information: Integrating Technical, Cost-Based, and Customer-Oriented Evaluations of System Performance
Wed, 01 Mar 1995 >Download PDF
A prototype voice response system was designed to improve the way business permit inquiries were handled by the New York State Office of Regulatory and Management Assistance. This report presents the results of testing that prototype system.

Lessons Learned

With a small staff and limited fiscal resources, ORMA could not call together special project teams from within or redirect its budget resources without seriously impacting its services. This project required experts in voice information and response technologies, a full time Project Coordinator, and assistance in acquiring the necessary hardware and software to serve as a prototype platform for the voice response applications. The Center for Technology in Government provided project coordination, while ORMA provided its business expertise. A corporate partner, Precision Systems, Inc., provided the technical capabilities. The combination proved valuable to all participants. The lessons learned from the project include the following:

Prototype
For information about the design and evaluation of the business permits voice response prototype, see the following publications:

Voice Information Response System for Business Permit Assistance (1995)

Reviewing the Performance of ORMA's Voice Response System for Automated Business Permit Information: Integrating Technical, Cost-Based, and Customer-Oriented Evaluations of System Performance (1995)

Press Releases & News Stories
Press Releases

Prototype Demonstrates Business Service Improvements
Fri, 07 Jul 1995


Partners
Government Partners

Corporate Partners

Center for Technology in Government


Funding Sources
This project was funded by a portion of CTG's New York State budget allocation plus in-kind contributions of professional services, hardware, and software provided by the NYS Office of Regulatory and Management Affairs, and corporate partner Precision Systems, Inc.

Original 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.

Contact Information
Center for Technology in Government
University at Albany, SUNY
187 Wolf Road, Suite 301
Albany, NY 12205
(518) 442-3892 (phone)
(518) 442-3886 (fax)