Published: August 25, 2010 | Comments
One Call Center Out of Many: Staff Sharing Delivers Public Service in Dominican Republic
By pooling agents from member centers, the Dominican Republic Call Center Association staffs the critical Hurricane Hotline.
As the 2010 hurricane season gears up -- and expected to be particularly active this year -- The Dominican Republic Call Center Association is working with its members to provide a critical public service. DRCCA member centers are sharing and pooling their agents to staff a hotline for residents and visitors.
Callers to the hotline will receive information regarding hurricane preparedness, storm development, hurricane tracking, shelter locations, evacuation information, etc. Call center representatives from DRCCA member companies will staff their contact number throughout the hurricane season, answering calls 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"We are very proud to be able to offer these services, which are funded by our member organization. They have provided us with a team of representatives who are now trained to work the hurricane hotline," says Doug Meyers, DRCCA Director and co-founder for the association.
Staff-sharing alliances, when two companies that have complimentary peak seasons lend one another some of their call center agents to help each center out during its busiest period, is one of the most innovative staffing solutions we at ICMI have come across in all our years of researching and consulting to call centers. The DRCCA's program is a particularly creative take on that, making possible a completely new service.
Interestingly, the ICMI 2008 Contact Center Operations study found that 6% of call centers have formed a staffing alliance with another center in their region, and 70% of them report “very positive” or “positive” results. The remaining 30% indicated that the alliance has had a “neutral” impact on overall call center performance, which is fine considering that having such an alliance in place eliminates the need for centers to have to continually “hire and fire” seasonal agents every year and hope that they can find a solid stock of agents when the next peak season come around. Thus, while staff-sharing may not always bring huge increases in productivity or quality, at the very least it can help the call center maintain a decent level of service during busy seasons and, importantly, save the center significantly in terms of hiring and training costs.