During the last two weeks of March, the Department of Labor reported some 10 million Americans filed for unemployment — leading websites to crash and phone lines to clog up.
Andrew Stettner of the Century Foundation says states need to increase their bandwidth. He recommends quickly training people on simple problems like resetting passwords and leaving the difficult issues to seasoned employees.
It’s not too late for states to change their unemployment systems, he says. For example, states can translate more pages into Spanish and other languages or make it easier to file the application from a smartphone.
“Unfortunately, when they designed these systems, they don’t take a customer-centered approach generally,” he says. “Understand your customers and the challenges that they have.”