News : Call Centre Makes It Easy for Candidates
Feb 22, 2012 -- Four of the seven phases of elections in Uttar Pradesh are over, but the telephone lines at the UP Congress Committee call centre in Lucknow keep buzzing incessantly.
There are requests for legal aid regarding the model code of conduct and its violation, complaints about the partisan role of officials, demand for campaign material requests for star campaigners and complaints about dissident activity within the party.
"From 8 am to 10 pm candidates call us and sift through their complaints and post them to the concerned authority. At the call centre — a first in Uttar Pradesh Congress history — candidates can contact us through telephone, SMS, fax or email and we are there to solve their issues," says Shehzaad Poonawala, 24, who is managing the call centre.
The call centre also sends out bulk SMSs to candidates about any vital information that the party may wish to pass on to candidates. Issues in the Congress manifesto that the leaders want to be highlighted in particular constituency, are also conveyed to candidates through the call centre.
The call centre keeps an eye on "Mission 35", which includes 35 seats given to the Youth Congress and also on "Mission 85" that concerns the reserved constituencies in the state.
"For the 357 candidates of the party, the call centre serves as a single window helpline. Candidates need not go from leader to leader to resolve election related issues now," says Shehzaad, making it clear that the call centre does not serve as a publicity wing of the party.
A brainchild of Congress general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh Digvijay Singh, the call centre has been widely used by candidates in the first four phases of polls.
Earlier we had to contact one leader for campaign material, another for programmes of star campaigners and a third one for complaints regarding dissidence in the party. This time, we simply contacted the call centre and all our requests and complaints were promptly attended to. It saved us a lot of time and energy," says Vivek Singh, Congress candidate from Banda.
The call centre, which has a staff of about four to five members, has became operational from January 25 and though the entire focus of the election and all activities related to the election is shifting to New Delhi for the sixth and seventh phases, the call centre will remain in Lucknow till the end of elections.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Contact Center World. (www.ContactCenterWorld.com), The Global Association for Contact Center Best Practices & Networking
Published: Friday, February 24, 2012