Shiftsmart Contact Center Counts Millions for the US Census

Aakash Kumar
Founder & CEO
March 5, 2021

The US Census - It Only Happens Once Every 10 years

The U.S. Census happens every decade and aims to survey and count every person living in all 50 states and U.S. territories. States and local governments feel pressure to receive a high participation rate in the Census because the data collected impacts funding and programs for public services like transportation, public safety, education, healthcare and even representation in Congress.

Traditionally, Census workers canvas neighborhoods and businesses across America going door to door counting one household at a time. In 2020,  the US Census looked very different. In the midst of a global pandemic and with rising COVID-19 cases in the United States, it was nearly impossible to make direct contact with people. What had hoped to be a promising year was the complete opposite as CDC guidelines discouraged any type of in-person contact or gatherings to avoid spreading the contagious coronavirus.  

Pivot and Begin Counting

In 2020, “pivot” became the trending word for organizations. The Census was no different and with no in-person contact it made it extremely difficult for organizations to safely count people, and much harder to reach marginalized communities. One organization saw a solution to safely count people by turning to technology during one of the most historic challenging years. 

Educate Texas needed to safely count thousands of people across Texas for the US Census including marginalized communities who may already be less likely to participate. In September 2020, Educate Texas and the Shiftsmart Flex Contact Center co-designed and executed a rapid Census 2020 canvassing effort across Texas. This effort served as an alternative to traditional in-person canvassing methods due to COVID-19. 

Count on Shiftsmart 

The Shiftsmart team quickly drew from our network of thousands and leveraged an experienced team of 350 distributed calling agents, predominantly using Texas-based workers. Agents were quickly trained and had five objectives as they began counting one of the largest states in America. The team objectives included:

  1. Call households across Texas, with particular focus on North & South regions
  2. Make contact with as many households as possible
  3. Educate & inform households of the importance of completing the census
  4. Understand relative engagement with the Census across Texas regions
  5. Drive intent to complete the census and direct federal funding to state of Texas

A Safe Way to Canvas - Count Me In

Over the course of September 2020, the size and scope of the program expanded as a result of additional support from donors from across the state. The Shiftsmart platform enabled Educate Texas to adjust the number of agents it needed daily throughout the duration of the 27 contracted days.  This resulted in rapid scaling from a range of 10k calls per day up to a max of 80k calls per day in the final week of the effort with Educate Texas, with only paying for those that were working on a given day.

Shiftsmart doesn’t just provide a contact center – it delivers instant and flexible access to the modern workforce, so you can use only the best workers, only when you need them, for industry-leading results. Our Flex Contact Centers empower clients:   

  • Shiftsmart’s flex model makes it easy to manage increases and decreases in demand to improve utilization and reduce costs. Adjust your workforce hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly; with no long-term commitments.
  • With Shiftsmart, you only pay for the hours that people work. There are no standard shift times, so you can scale personnel based on actual demand instead of committing to a fixed number of agents who get paid whether they’re working or not. 
  • Shiftsmart’s unique performance management platform ensures that only the top-quality candidates begin each job and only the best performers remain.

Success in 2020 

Despite the challenging circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, phone canvassing proved to be a safe and effective method to reach all areas of the state of Texas. In the 27 days of dialing, 930k outbound calls to 394k unique leads in 1,593 zip codes were made across Texas. The north part of Texas was one of Shiftsmart’s focus areas and was one of the highest engaged in completing the Census with 25-30% of contacted calls resulting in a positive indication of census completion. 

Thanks to funding support from Educate Texas donors, the canvassing effort was able to make almost one million phone calls, resulting in an opportunity to yield $40m of additional funding to benefit households across the state of Texas.

Shiftsmart Flex Contact Centers guarantee that you can be there for your customers when they need you most. Visit or email to learn more about launching your flex contact center with Shiftsmart. 

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