Supporting emergency customer calls in uncertain times, day or night

Out of hours customer service rep
Date Published

20/04/2020

Reading time

3 mins read

Author

Jaye Gannon

Every one of us is affected by the global pandemic right now. It continues to threaten people’s health and disrupt how organisations operate.

But amid the challenges, the public sector still has to field urgent and emergency calls in order to look after citizens in their time of need. Drawing on the support of a specialist out of hours service, at all times of the day, could be the answer.

These are uncertain times. For some organisations, sickness and self-isolation have reduced the number of staff available to work. Meanwhile, employees have been forced to work from home, which can limit what tasks they can do and how much they can get done. Events have meant that some public sector organisations have also had to close their offices. But while these challenges are happening, there’s still a need to be there for citizens in urgent or emergency situations.

From emergency homelessness to social care support, answering vulnerable people’s calls is one of the most important roles that councils, housing associations and other public sector organisations need to fulfil. Myself and the team know from our own experience of providing emergency customer service support, that there’s a human in need behind every call. And treating every call with empathy, patience and clarity makes a real difference to people in distress.

Providing these essential services, when there’s more of a strain on your resources than ever, is difficult. And as a global pandemic exerts pressure on every part of our lives, there’s also a very real likelihood of those emergency enquiries increasing.

So, how can you make sure you are there to support those emergency enquiries when your resources are already stretched?

Well, there’s a ready-made model in Capita’s out of hours (OOH) service that we have provided to many local authorities for many years. We have an experienced team of customer service advisors who are available 24/7 to support customers in their time of need. They are trained especially to support and triage emergency customer service calls. Anything from emergency homelessness or social services requests, to emergency highway issues or dangerous structures. No matter what service you need support with, we work with you to develop bespoke call scripts that align with your organisation’s policies and procedures – to make sure those who are most in need get the support they need, and fast.

We can handle all calls for a certain service for you. Or, we can act as an overflow service. So, you can handle as many calls as possible in the first instance, and only pass calls on when you reach your limit. Either way, you can pay only for the calls we handle on your behalf.

The service we provide is primarily in place to support the public sector with these types of calls during out of hours. But it is also there to support your customers during the daytime as well, to help in periods of high demand or reduced capacity.

Dealing with everyday emergencies, in the face of not just a global pandemic but global warming that is increasing the amount of freak weather incidents, is a tough ask for organisations who exist to support the public. It makes effective and sympathetic customer support more important than ever. This is where our out of hours support may have a role to play. OOH exists to respond to unpredictable, emergency situations. It’s therefore also a model to call on any time of the day or night.

You can learn more about our emergency OOH service by taking a look at my other article.
 

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Written by

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Jaye Gannon

Out of Hours Contact Centre Operations Manager, Capita

Jaye has been delivering enhanced customer service and efficiencies for multiple local government organisations and social housing landlords for over 14 years. She has a proven record of supporting her customers and clients during major unplanned incidents such as severe weather and emergency incidents, providing quick responses to ensure a streamlined continued service delivery.