Call Centers Response to Ebola Crises

As doctors fight the spread of the Ebola virus, governments are attempting to stop misinformation about the disease. With the use of call centers, agents are trained to calm panicked citizens and their concerns.

In California, the Department of Public Health established a hotline to answer public inquiries. CDPH Director Dr. Ron Chapman stated the call center’s goal is to “eliminate the mystery of this disease.” By providing factual answers, Californians are receiving the necessary information regarding their health.

Many other states are following suit. Indiana launched a call center as one of its series of steps the state has taken to respond to the epidemic

“There are a lot of questions about Ebola right now and unfortunately quite a bit of misinformation going around,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “The call center will provide people with a way to easily speak directly to a state health representative to get the information they need.”

The Ohio Department of Health initiated an Ebola response effort after the Dallas nurse traveled to the state. With the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other state agencies, the agency developed a plan that included a 24-hour call center.

The interim chief of the ODH Bureau of Prevention and Health Promotion Dr. Mary DiOrio stated that the call center would be available round-the-clock, but depending upon call volume, Ohio may limit the hours in the future.

Montana’s Office of Emergency Management is transforming an existing emergency call center into an Ebola crisis hotline. OEM director Chris Lounsbury said the call center would be staffed with “at least five to six volunteer health professionals” who will field specific questions.

The United States is not the only country taking advantage of call centers. Since August, Sierra Leone has set up a special emergency number, 117, to provide people with answers to their Ebola-related concerns. The call center constantly receives calls daily, ranging from picking up dead bodies to checking into suspected Ebola cases.

Ebola call centers are a positive use to assist people in a crisis. They are acting as clearinghouses for agencies inundated with calls from citizens. Here are a few more reasons why call centers are beneficial:

  • Reduced costs

Call centers reduce costs associated with staffing a group of agents. It also reduces infrastructure and overhead costs. By working with external service providers, state agencies and businesses can receive huge savings.

  • Improved call quality during peak hours

Call center agents are specifically trained to handle particular issues. This improves service quality, especially during peak hours. Therefore, agents can answer overflow calls, helping reduce wait times and increase customer satisfaction.

  • Less call abandonment

Call centers assist with answering calls in a timely fashion. Customers like the expedited service. With a dedicated cohort of agents, people won’t hang up because of long wait times.

From California to Sierra Leone, governments understand that Ebola concerns will not vanish into thin air. Call centers are paving the way for people to receive the vital information they need.