What Happens When Business Resumes?

April 2, 2020Don Murphy

The Coronavirus brings us into uncharted territory.  The pulse of American and World-Wide business has slowed dramatically.  In the justice system, most courts have reduced staff and are relying on remote computing to keep up with filings and limited court business.  This includes granting extensions for all fines and court costs.  The average payment date extension has been 60 days.

We will make it through this, but recovery will take time. When business resumes in the coming months, has your team begun to think about getting courts and compliance service rolling again?

Court dockets will reach a 2 to a 3-month backlog.  That means monthly cases heard by judges will be behind by 25%.  It will take longer than a few weeks to bring things back in line.  Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as the courthouse opens for full service.

Proactively Contacting Compliance Service Customers

To ensure customers get the best payment plan service compliance teams should be proactive about payment plan reminders.  Most customers enrolled in payment plans have received a 60-day extension of payment due dates.  It’s important to think about day 61.  This includes electronic messages using email and text messaging as authorized.  Call service should also be considered to advise that due dates have been extended with new payment dates.

It’s also important to think about how to work with court teams to handle the enrollment of payment plans at sentencings.  The focus should be on engaging customers and initiating payment plan service. The best option is to provide assistance at the courtroom door as customers exit, for payment service and payment plan enrollment.

Continued Use of Virtual Staffing

The use of technology empowers the workforce to keep data updated and to connect with staff and supervision.  Remote support is becoming a vital part of keeping up with demand.  The use of remote support should be considered as a regular tool to allow flex staffing during the transition from work stoppages to routine court service.

In addition to remote work, offices should take full advantage of online payment service and on-line payment plans.

Pace Recovery

Coronavirus has created demanding health and economic challenges.  As compliance service teams we can help by providing quality service to each customer needing help.  With the right kind of response, we can become part of the solution that meets this challenge.  We can gain full-court recovery, but the return must happen 1 day at a time.

Don Murphy is the Principal and Senior Consultant for CIS which provides consulting and training for courts and local government. He is a nationally certified court professional as a Fellow with the National Center for State Courts and has over 25 years of court administration experience.