How Appriss’ Court Research team adapted to court closures during COVID-19

Few aspects of business are unaffected by the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges seem to increase every day, and that is no different in the court research industry. Many courts across the country have closed their doors, or only remained open at a limited capacity, making it difficult for court research teams to gather the data they need to support background screening customers. Even as some states begin to relax “stay-at-home” mandates, many courts will begin to open only gradually and the guidelines for doing so vary greatly by local community. Appriss continues to closely monitor court openings county by county during this constantly evolving national situation.

(Source: Ballotpedia, "State court closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.")

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted what sets one data provider apart from another: How they adapt to challenging circumstances like court closures and how they are able to weather an economic downturn. Appriss is well-positioned to flourish, even during unprecedented global circumstances beyond everyone’s control.

The Court Research team at Appriss has rapidly adjusted to a difficult situation and continues to find creative ways to meet the needs of its customers, despite broad closures that make their jobs more challenging than ever. The team has also embraced discomfort in a desire to help its community, drawing on its adaptability and commitment to quality customer service to help the state of Kentucky with its overload in unemployment insurance calls. This demonstrates the Strength of Appriss, showing that we are here to help both our customers and our home state of Kentucky.

The Court Research team is committed to getting the job done, regardless of the circumstances

One of the major priorities for Appriss’s Court Research team is a commitment to quality assurance. The team is passionate about delivering accurate data in a timely manner, utilizing clear and consistent processes for double-checking all data with great attention to detail. The team rallies around its common goal to provide world-class court research services that enable workplace and community safety while promoting an employee-driven culture built on trust, respect, and communication.

The Court Research team trains an expansive network of researchers to extract data efficiently in order to inform background screeners during the hiring process. In normal times, that often means sending researchers to a courthouse to physically verify or retrieve criminal case data. During these abnormal times, researchers have developed workarounds so they can meet the needs of customers despite the closure of many courthouses, such as leveraging key relationships to access court data remotely through phone calls and emails. This can only happen because of the strong relationships Appriss court researchers have developed over years of consistent and quality service.

In states where Appriss’s court research presence is the strongest (like California, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia), our years of experience in these jurisdictions leads to faster turnaround times for CRAs. The team has deep relationships with county courthouse staff in these states, which enables Appriss to deliver court research results more quickly.

The court research team also goes above and beyond to communicate to their clients, which has become more important than ever as courts across the country slowly begin to reopen. A landing page on the Appriss website is updated regularly to reflect the most timely courthouse status information, and the team sends informative emails to clients on a bi-weekly basis. Customer service representatives are also constantly talking with clients to keep them informed about the status of their data requests.

A highly adaptable team means continued quality service during stressful times

Like the CustomerFirst Center at Appriss, the court research team takes great pride in creating a work environment in which employees enjoy working – one that is both committed to optimizing its output and making sure its employees are encouraged to grow. This is because Appriss understands that having engaged employees results in better customer service. Unlike the CFC, however, the court research team did not have extensive experience with remote work. Its entire operation in California (which comprises the majority of the team) had never worked from home before. In mid-March, when organizations everywhere were rapidly pivoting to work-from-home situations, that transition represented a significant challenge for Court Research employees at Appriss.

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Jeff Larosa, Senior Director of Customer Operations and Court Research

The first priority, according to Jeff Larosa, Senior Director of Customer Operations and Court Research, was the health of team members and ensuring everything was in place for remote work.

“From a leadership perspective, we had to address their personal concerns. We had to make sure they felt safe and that they knew the company was doing what was in their best interest from a health perspective,” Larosa said. “Then we were able to mobilize very quickly, leveraging Appriss resources like our IT department to get the necessary equipment to move entirely remote. Initially, that is a little jarring, but our team responded well. They took it as a challenge to be as effective as possible even though the circumstances drastically changed. We knew we were going to be affected because of things out of our control, but our employees rose to the occasion to make sure we were still delivering to our customers and getting work done as efficiently as possible.”

The Court Research team adjusted so well that leadership began looking for ways they could help Appriss’ community, which lead to their participation in Project ApprissStrong, which leverages Appriss’ unique skills and resources to help the state of Kentucky respond to a massive amount of unemployment insurance (UI) applications. This was also a unique challenge for team members, who are not trained call center representatives and are not from Kentucky. 

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Vadim Chinivizyan, Director of Operations for Court Research

Nearly overnight, the team learned UI rules and regulations both at the state and federal level. As of last week, the Court Research team had taken 6,740 calls for the state and committed 2,470 work hours toward assisting with Kentucky’s COVID-19 response. 

"The staff was asked to perform an unfamiliar yet an important task to assist the state with the unemployment calls," said Vadim Chinivizyan, Director of Operations for Court Research. Their response in a time of need was special to watch!"

Learn more about what the Court Research team does by exploring ExpertCourt, Appriss’ world-class county court research solution.

 

Andrew Smith

Author

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is the Communications Specialist at Appriss Insights, providing marketing content to help Appriss tell its story of "Knowledge for good." Before joining Appriss, he worked in higher education communications and marketing. He and his wife live across the Ohio River from Louisville in New Albany, Indiana.

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