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NBC 12 Investigation: How Long Does It Take State Agencies To Answer the Phone?

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Ryan Nobles – bioemail

A few weeks ago we asked a simple question in the newsroom. How long do you think it takes for state agencies to answer the telephone?

Most of my co-workers had skeptical answers. The conventional wisdom dictated that if you called a state agency you would be on hold for a long time. We decided to see if our perception would be met with reality.

I enlisted the help of Kathy Hoof’s Mass Communication classes at Manchester High School. You may remember that these students helped us out with our liveblogs during the presidential debates. The aspiring student journalists committed to the project and made more than 100 calls over 7 days to 21 different agencies with the hope of coming to a conclusion. What did they find? That by and large the Virginia agencies do a pretty good job answering the phone. According to our study, the average wait time was just over two minutes. Not too bad.

There were some exceptions:
The Department of Rehabiltation Services averaged a wait time of more than 13 minutes per call and the Department of Aging‘s number rang busy every time we called. The busy signal was there no matter what time of day we called.

You can see a complete list of every call made and the story that was on NBC12 by clicking here.

Here is the video from the story:

A special thanks to Ms. Hoof and her students for an excellent job helping us with this comprehensive project.

 

  Ave. Time Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
ABC 0:17 0:13 0:18 0:20 0:32 0:13 0:07 0:21
Aging 0:00 0:00 0:00          
Attorney General 0:16 0:07 0:16 0:30 0:17 0:14 0:08 0:25
Blind Visually Impaired 0:16 0:29 0:13 0:17 0:13 0:22 0:21 0:03
Child Support 0:40 0:38 0:41 0:39 0:43 0:43 0:38 0:41
Disabilities 0:12 0:19 0:09 0:12 0:14 0:13 0:12 0:06
DMV 4:48 8:58 6:34 3:19 2:36 5:17 4:47 2:11
Employment Comm 0:12 0:10 0:13 0:15 0:11      
Health 0:11 0:08 0:15 0:17 0:15 0:11 0:10 0:07
HUD 1:55 1:07 0:46 0:48 0:53 0:56 3:45 5:13
Human Rights Council 0:11 0:14 0:10 0:09 0:10 0:17 0:14 0:07
Rehab Services 13:31 12:05 13:08 16:03 14:04 15:09 9:05 15:06
Retirement 2:05 1:44 1:18 3:08 3:10 1:16 1:23 2:37
Taxation 8:21 8:06 9:22 12:09 5:05 28:00 5:48:00 10:32
VA Business Admin 0:20 0:25 0:20 0:18 0:15 0:26 0:17 0:19
Veterans Affairs 0:13 0:12 0:15 0:11 0:16 0:13 0:16  
Protection and Advocacy 0:44 0:44 0:52 0:39 0:37 0:41 0:50 0:45
Social Services 0:10 0:08 0:03 0:11 0:14 0:13 0:12 0:09
Tourism 0:56 1:20 1:02:00 1:08 1:02 0:01:13 0:54 1:08
Bar Referral Service 0:49 0:58 0:59 0:57 0:57 56:00 0:01:01 0:58
                 
Total Average 2:05              

Written by Ryan Nobles

November 27, 2008 at 3:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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