A day in the life of a Contact Centre Intake Officer

Contact Centre team members are on the front lines of the justice system

Legal Aid AB
August 16, 2023

It’s 8 a.m. on a Thursday morning. Susan Roth, Contact Centre Intake Officer (CCIO) at Legal Aid Alberta is beginning her shift for the day at LAA’s Contact Centre. Just minutes after clocking in, she answers a call from an individual who’s being held in custody at a remand centre.

Like all clients, there’s a sense of stress and urgency to resolve their matters as quickly as possible. But with Roth’s empathetic approach and communication style, her callers are able to articulate their needs clearly and more efficiently.

“People are in some form of a crisis,” says Roth. “You have to approach people with empathy, you have to be understanding regardless of their circumstances, and without judgment.”

Roth wraps up her first call of the day but her work on the file continues. She is meticulous in her notes, logging the details of her client’s information in LAA’s database. When the second call comes in, she repeats this process all over again.

LAA has a complement of about 60 full- and part-time CCIOs. With phone lines open from 8:15 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. Monday to Friday, the Contact Centre receives up to 1,000 phone calls per day, sometimes more.

Senior Manager of Client Assessment Services Melody Schram says CCIOs need to put in equal degrees of empathy and control to get key information and effectively manage calls. Callers can be distraught. Some may be in jail, facing serious criminal charges. Others may be parents whose children have been taken into the custody of child welfare authorities. CCIOs could even take calls from people as young as 12, calling about criminal charges they’re facing under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

CCIOs also need a strong knowledge of the court system and LAA’s own internal client systems and technology – all while balancing other administrative work such as following through on calls to ensure applications are assessed and that those who qualify for services are appointed a lawyer.

On the front lines, our CCIOs are kept busy, and find satisfaction in knowing they are helping people access the justice system.

“As an intake officer,” says Roth, “it is rewarding to know that I’ve played a role in helping clients on their journey towards resolving their legal issues.”

This story is featured in the Legal Aid Alberta 2022-23 Annual Report.

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