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News : Government Coronavirus Briefings Prompt Spikes in 999 Calls

#contactcenterworld, @BT

Belfast, Northern Ireland Dec 29, 2020 -- Government briefings have prompted surges in 999 calls during the coronavirus pandemic as demand for emergency services has fallen during traditional peak times.

The manager of the UK’s 999 call centre said usual call patterns have been turned on their head in 2020, with Friday and Saturday nights no longer the busiest periods of the week.

Cheryl Stewart, who runs the BT centre in Northern Ireland – which fields one in four of all 999 calls made in the UK – said the highest volumes are now experienced in the minutes after the late afternoon Government briefings.

Ms Stewart said as soon as the broadcasts end the phone lines would be inundated with concerned viewers reacting to comments from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and others.

"Certainly at the very start of the first wave the calls coming in were predominantly for the ambulance service and also calls coming in for people looking for advice and reassurance as well," she said.

"Then, as lockdown continued, the calling patterns or profiles changed. So, instead of getting the usual Friday and Saturday night traffic, where we got the pubs and the clubs, that’s changed dramatically.

"It was the afternoon after the Government briefing every day after 5pm where our calls spiked considerably."

Ms Stewart added: "From what they had heard on the Government briefing it was perhaps people thinking that they may have had symptoms. So, they were ringing for advice and ringing for reassurance."

Six BT call centres handle all 999 calls placed in the UK every day. Agents are the initial point of contact and direct the callers to the emergency service they require.

At the start of the first wave, the centres were fielding an unprecedented 105,000 calls on average a day – requiring agents to handle calls every three seconds.

BT trained an additional 100 call handlers across its sites to help deal with the Covid-related spikes.

During one week in March, the Northern Ireland centre received 154,000 calls.

"It’s been a really busy year for us with the impact of the coronavirus," said Ms Stewart.

"Certainly at the very start in March, the call volumes were very, very high. We were experiencing a high volume of calls going through to the ambulance service."

Call handlers were classified as key workers from the outset of the pandemic.

Working from home was not an option as it was necessary to remain on site to field calls coming through the high-tech phone exchange system.

The technology includes the Advance Mobile Location (AML) service, which enables call handlers to use mobile phone data to pinpoint the whereabouts of 999 callers.

Agent Regina Livingston said it was difficult balancing the pressures of work with concerns for family at home during lockdown periods.

"We had to come in as our role is vital, being the first point of contact with the emergency services," she said.

"To do that considering we had family at home, it kind of put us a difficult position dealing with the calls coming in and doing your role and our families at home."

On the post-Government briefing call surges, Ms Livingston added: "Every call was different, you would have had different callers coming in panic and fear."

Fellow call handler Paul McShane, who has worked at the centre for 10 years, highlighted the high volumes were coming in at a time when social distancing rules meant fewer agents could work in the same space.

The centre had to repurpose other areas within the building to provide more desk space for handlers.

"We’re used to pressure in this centre, we’re used to it and we’re good at coping with it," said Mr McShane.

"We had to make sure that everything was still in place even with the pandemic going on.

"We’ve had to expand the centre, we’ve had to make more room, keep two-metre distance but make sure that we’re still here to provide that vital support as the first point of contact for the emergency services.

"If we’re not here, then the 999 emergency services calls won’t be answered."

#contactcenterworld, @BT

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Source: https://www.largsandmillportnews.com


About BT:
Company LogoBT is provider of communications services and solutions for everybody in the UK and for corporate customers in the rest of Europe, with global reach through partnerships. BT provides services for all UK customers, network services and solutions for communication companies, worldwide business solutions, internet services, and advanced research and technology.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Support

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2022 Buyers Guide Inbound Call Handling Services

 
1.) 
Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.


2.) 
3Fiftynine

Branches
Calls are received by the right person or department. The right corresponding information is shown to the agent which makes that appointments are handled quicker and more secure.

3.) Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.

4.) 
Answer-4u

Telephone Answering Services
Answer4u offers both SME and corporate sized businesses Telephone Answering Services delivered by our team of professional receptionists. They are all trained to answer your calls, in your company name, whenever you need them most.

All of our client calls are answered in our Nottingham offices, in the heart of England. We have agents working on a 24/7 basis, meaning all calls are answered through the day and night by UK based operatives. No calls are ever outsourced or go to an answering machine.

Each of our clients has their own personal Account Manager, who heads a team of trained receptionists. Our receptionists answer the phone in your company name, explain to your callers that yo...
(read more)

5.) 
Connect Assist

Contact Centre Services
We’re a specialist Contact Centre business and market leaders helping socially focused organisations deliver quality support to their clients and service users. We do this by providing 24/7 helplines, software solutions and consultancy services.

Since launching in 2006, we’ve operated at the sharp end of customer service, supporting some of society’s most vulnerable people. We’ve pioneered in our space to become a specialist in helplines, whilst using the most advanced communication and database technologies available.

Our social mission has remained a constant throughout, providing many meaningful career prospects and growth opportunities to people within our local communities and fur...
(read more)

6.) 
Digital Wholesale Solutions

International Inbound (ITFS & DID's) & Int'l Two Way Voice (SIP Trunks)
Digital Wholesale Solutions (formerly Daisy Worldwide) specialise in Global Inbound ITFS and DID Services from 160 countries (covering 7,000+ cities).

We also have International SIP Trunk (66 Countries) – where numbers are presented in a local format.

7.) Jointly International Inc.

Front Office Solutions
Front office is your Company’s first line of customer interaction and serves as the mirror of your business. Focus on your core business and let our competent staff handle your various front office needs such as:

* Customer Service via chat, email or phone
* Technical Support via chat, email or phone
* Helpdesk
* Virtual Assistant/Receptionist
* Answering Service
* Lead Generation
* Appointment Setting
* Verification
* Surveys
* Debt Recover, Collections

8.) 
MattsenKumar LLC

Contact Center Outsourcing
By catering valuable, usable and enjoyable customer service, businesses can increase their CSAT Score and Customer Retention Rate. We help organizations to provide quality customer service through varied channels like email, phone and live chat. Ensuring quality after-sales support is our USP and we rely on proven approaches to ensure quality customer service.

9.) 
OpsTel Services

SPEED
The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Performance Monitoring

10.) 
Vads

VADS Inbound Contact Center
VADS Inbound Contact Center Services provide live operators who answer incoming calls as you would yourself. A team of professional script writers is available to help you script a greeting and experience programmers will set up a time and money saving program. Our unique approach to call center services is client-focused, and takes each project’s unique needs into account to our client’s satisfaction. We offer solution as part of our service to keep you in touch with your client and drive sales.

- Customer Service
- Walk In Center
- Service Desk

11.) 
Technosys IT Management

Customer Support
Technosys IT Management Bpo, the business process Outsourcing, gives end-to-end transformative administrations for its customers over the globe. The organization's coordinated IT and BPO arrangements approach empowers it to open business esteem crosswise over ventures and administration lines, and address business challenges for its customers. Using inventive business perfection structures, progressing profitability changes, process reengineering, mechanization, and front line innovation stages, Technosys IT Management empowers its customers to accomplish their cost diminishment goals, enhance process efficiencies, upgrade viability, and convey unrivaled client encounter

12.) 
Tru29 Outsource Solutions Inc.

Front Office Solutions
Any part of your business operations that requires constant end-customer facing task is an essential part of your business.

This task requires a good customer experience results for every customer interaction. Our extensive experience in handling Front Office related tasks can help you focus on your core business while being cost-efficient at the same time.
 

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