The economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis has triggered a dramatic spike in unemployment claims across the country, which in turn has crashed many states’ call center operations for processing such claims. www.tmcnet.com/channels/call-center-management/articles/444889-state-unemployment-call-centers-overwhelmed-due-coronavirus.htm. The besiegement of those and other public call centers during the coronavirus pandemic has caused state and local governments to respond in a variety of manners, some of which are rather extreme.
Just yesterday (March 31, 2020) alone:
- The State of Ohio announced that it has added 100 employees to its call center which handles the filling of unemployment claims. www.nbc4i.com/community/health/coronavirus/ohio-to-boost-capacity-of-unemployment-benefits-call-center-to-help-with-coronavirus-claims.
- The DeKalb County Board of Health announced that it has established a call center as a local alternative to the State of Georgia’s inundated COVID-19 hotline. www.patch.com/georgia/decatur/new-call-center-opens-dekalb-county-ga-coronavirus.
- The Town of Tiverton announced that it had converted its closed library into a call center as a similar alternative to the State of Rhode Island’s overworked hotline. www.heraldnews.com/news/20200331/doors-closed-phone-lines-on-as-tiverton-library-becomes-call-center-during-coronavirus-pandemic.
- And perhaps most remarkably, the State of New York’s National Guard announced that nearly 100 National Guard Airmen and Soldiers have been deployed to staff three call centers answering calls to the State’s COVID-19 hotline. www.army.mil/article/234142/ny_national_guard_staffing_call_center_to_fight_covid_19.
The National Guard is not designed to answer telephone calls. To the contrary, its Soldiers and Airmen are normally deployed to perform hands-on functions like delivering supplies, clearing roads, making health and wellness checks, and directing traffic. That such trained professionals have instead been tasked to handle phones in call centers underscores the extent to which the COVID-19 crisis has bottlenecked governments’ communication support systems and precluded citizens from obtaining desperately needed information.
BPR’s network of U.S.-based call centers is ready, willing and able to address this dire need, thereby freeing the National Guard and other such highly trained professionals to redirect their energy, effort and expertise where it belongs.