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Crises Big and Small: When to Use an Emergency Inquiry Center

11 Oct. 2017 Posted by aadams

Michael Bugenhagen, FEI Business Development Manager

There have been far too many crisis events impacting our world recently, with little break between: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, wildfires, earthquakes and the Las Vegas shooting, along with the numerous small crises that don’t make national news.

These are the types of terrible—but often unforeseen—events FEI helps customers plan for, respond to and recover from. They are the large-scale incidents that concern people, but sometimes overlook the communications challenges and human impact such events can have.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, our emergency inquiry center took a call from a mother who hadn’t been able to reach her son for two days. She didn’t know if he was alive or dead. When she learned of the emergency hotline number through her son’s employer, she immediately called. While we couldn’t yet tell her much about her son, we could listen and assure her that we, with and on behalf of the employer, would do all we could to assist in learning her son’s whereabouts. The support she received helped her at that moment, and her gratitude to the employer’s commitment was heartfelt. 

Behind the scenes, FEI worked with our customer, the employer of her son, to confirm that he was safe. When she received the call back from our family assistance team, the joy and relief felt by the mother reaffirmed why FEI and its customers are committed to crisis management and communication.

Yet, it has been the smaller events most people wouldn’t consider crises that have kept us busy. These events have broadened the reasons our customers should activate FEI’s services.

One was a long-term construction project that disrupted normal business activities including traffic and parking accessibility; the other a situation where a difference of opinion led to protests during a time of national sensitivity towards the issue being addressed. Both scenarios resulted in overwhelmed lines of communication for the respective organizations.

Two very different events, but events which prompted a significant number of phone inquiries. While the organizations involved may have been able to find internal resources to answer the calls, they would at the very least have pulled employees away from their normal job functions. In the case of the construction project, this would have meant two people dedicating their entire day to answering calls.

Another challenge with these events was the emotional proximity of the staff involved. Employees had their own opinions, interests and frustrations relating to each incident. How would they react to callers? What type of emotional toll could it take?

Our partnership during these events relieved our customers of the burden of answering calls themselves. They received the support of fully-trained emergency call center professionals and could engage with a partner dedicated to crisis management and communication. This last point was particularly important to each customer, as it provided them access to vast consultation expertise. They knew they were not working with an “everyday” answering service, but rather an organization specializing in crisis response.

Such an intimate level of assistance and support is what callers often need, and FEI’s customers want to help ease the situation, affirm people’s concerns and allow their brand to be represented in a positive light.

So, when might you need an emergency call center partner? Engage in conversation with the leader in helping organizations plan for, respond to and recovery from crises and let us help you consider the answer.


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