The logistics involved in conducting the decennial US Census requires nothing short of a miracle. Among the many challenges, it necessitates a recruitment drive like no other, involving thousands of local recruiting events.
A Mammoth Task
To ensure the highest response rate possible – from the 152,000,000 available US households – the Census Bureau developed a marketing strategy based on the different schedules and varying volumes of mailers required. While the total number of planned mailers (530,000,000) remained static, the dates and varying volumes had an unpredictable impact on the contact volumes, headcount and costs realized by the Census Questionnaire Assistance (CQA) contact centers. One scenario, for example, would have required 50,000 contact center staff across 36 sites, each with an average of 1,200 seats, for only 1 week of operation at its highest point.
A Solution in the Making
To better help facilitate a more accurate marketing strategy, Tactis, as a subcontractor on the CQA contract, developed an Enterprise Planning Instrument for Contact Centers (EPICC) tool. With its many inputs, including the distribution of contact volume based on the daily counts of mailers from the marketing strategy, EPICC was utilized to produce a range of ‘What if?’ scenarios, leading to a ‘best and final offer’ for the proposed cost of contact center operations during the 2020 Census.
Making it Count
Tactis’s revised mailer distribution scenario showed a cost decrease to the CQA program by 100’s of millions of dollars, plus a substantial reduction in the number of contact center sites required, thereby dramatically reducing the risk of having to recruit, hire and train 50,000 contact center staff workers for only 1 week of live operations.
Consequently, the Census Bureau requested a compromise between their initial scenario and Tactis’s evenly distributed mailers scenario, and while not as radical as the evenly distributed mailers, this third scenario significantly lessened the risk of having to hire 50,000+ contact center workers and the cost of 36 sites.
No Room for Error
Ultimately, with accurate census data crucial for determining congressional representation in the states, and how over $675 billion in federal funds is distributed each year for critical public services and infrastructure, there can be no room for error. Tactis’s EPICC goes a long way to resolving that.