A class action contact center is a support system that allows class members to speak to trained live agents, or to navigate the claims process via interactive voice response (IVR). Class action settlement administrators often provide the use of their contact center as part of the notice and claims administration engagement.
What Does a Class Action Contact Center Do?
The class action contact center acts as the communications hub throughout the entire administration process. Its functions are critical and include:
- Notifying potential class members by phone, email, and direct mailings.
- Assisting class members with navigating claim processes with clear, consistent directives.
- Providing important case information, including deadlines and status changes, through IVR technology and trained contact center agents.
- Answering class member questions directly through the use of trained inbound contact center agents and IVR technology.
- Tracking, recording, and reporting all information received.
Communications support is the foundation of a well-organized, successful class action settlement. A world-class contact center should have the capacity to handle call volume from as little as 5 calls to as many as 10,000 calls per day, depending on the case needs. There should be multi-lingual support, a toll-free hotline, and 24/7 staffing available. Strong leadership and active oversight are equally important in order to de-escalate issues as they develop, maintain efficiency, and streamline contact center operations.
Work With a Professional Contact Center to Satisfy Due Process.
Ultimately, the goal of an effective class action contact center is to satisfy due process. When working with a qualified settlement administrator with an in-house contact center, you can identify the most thorough way to accommodate diverse class demographics and inquiries. The right balance goes a long way toward meeting the demands of any given case.
Scripts may be customized to work within key behaviors and demographics of the class members as well as to answer anticipated questions. Engaging a settlement administrator early is the best way to ensure the class action contact center is tailored to maximize the class benefit, minimize the associated costs, and ensure the fair treatment of all parties to the litigation.
The class action settlement fairness hearing process is the court’s final opportunity to determine whether the proposed settlement is fair, before the distribution of settlement benefits to the class.
In determining fairness, the courts will consider:
- A comparison of the strength of the plaintiff’s case against the proposed recovery.
- Objections from the defense, including the cost and risks of continued litigation.
- Any evidence of collusion between attorneys that would impact the rights of claimants.
- Class member comments, objections, or proposed alternatives.
- The amount of discovery completed.
The court’s role is to protect the interests of the class members, and so the process of compromise will be carefully scrutinized. Though a court may reject the settlement on a variety of grounds, it may not rewrite the terms.
During the hearing, class members may object to the settlement in its entirety or they may be opposed to only portions of it. Serial objectors can cause significant delays. Swift settlement approval is preferred, as it forces objectors to demonstrate the merits of their objections. Counsel will either have to adjust the agreement or let the terms stand.
Common issues raised by objectors:
- Unjustifiable attorney fees
- Legal notice plan did not meet estimated reach
- Lower than expected claimant participation
- Conflict of interest
- Settlement fund allocation
- Cy pres provisions
If the court determines that the proposed settlement is fair, funds will be clear for distribution.