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1.0 Background

An effective and efficient phone system is crucial to providing Veterans, their families, and service providers with timely access to information. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)’s toll-free lines (English and French) enable callers to access the National Contact Centre Network (NCCN), which provides a central point of contact for Veterans to obtain general information and request services. When the caller’s request goes beyond the authority of the NCCN analyst, the call is transferred to the appropriate area for response. VAC uses Intelligent Call Exchange (ICE) software to manage all incoming toll-free calls.

The Transition, Co-ordination and Integrated Services Directorate, within the Field Operations Division is responsible for the overall management and oversight of the NCCN. The NCCN offices are located in Dartmouth, Montreal, Kirkland Lake, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. In fiscal year 2014-15, the NCCN answered 481,248 calls.

VAC adopted a first contact resolution (FCR) model as part of its transformation agenda to reduce paperwork, cut wait times, and deliver modern options for Veterans to interact with the Department. FCR is designed to improve the service experience for Veterans when interacting with VAC through the web, the telephone or in-person office visits. It streamlines workflow between the NCCN and area offices and increases resolution of the Veteran’s inquiry at first contact. It also aims to improve efficiency of call transfers and reduce call returns. Under the FCR model, when the nature of a phone call is beyond the authority of the NCCN analyst and needs to be referred to an area office, the caller will be transferred to the first available Veteran service agent (VSA). The VSA will then attempt to resolve the caller’s request/inquiry on the first call or inform the caller of the procedure and next steps in completing the request. As of May 2015, all 12 area offices were implementing the FCR model.

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