Understanding The FEMA Call Center

The overarching goal of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is to help coordinate response for disaster’s that occur within the United States. For FEMA to respond to a disaster the governor of the state where the disaster has occurred must declare a state of emergency, and formally request that FEMA responds to the disaster.

Learn how the FEMA call center supports these disaster relief initiatives, the common problems they face, and how a CCaSS solution can help to mitigate some of the call center issues.

What is FEMA?

One major aspect of FEMA is its ability to support disaster recovery efforts. This often includes providing local and state government officials with funding for rebuilding efforts and infrastructure for aiding relief efforts. It also includes assisting with disaster relief insurance, general recovery programs, and safety initiatives. 

Beyond providing funds, training, and coordination, FEMA can be reached via their call center. As you can expect this places a heavy burden on call center representatives during disasters. 

FEMA Call Center

A call center can either be in-house or outsourced to a third-party provider. Call centers exist to serve a high volume of incoming customer calls. Call center agents are then trained to adhere to the service protocols of the organization they’re linked with.

The FEMA call center is at the front-lines of handling emergency requests. As you can expect, when a disaster occurs the call center can get overloaded with phone calls. In some cases, FEMA will even outsource call center capacity to a third-party, like what happened during Hurricane Florence.

When a disaster or energy response isn’t ongoing FEMA will handle all calls through their internal call center. Common reasons to call FEMA include:

  • Help or questions relating to disaster assistance
  • To obtain information regarding disaster recovery centers
  • Questions about National Flood insurance or other disaster-related insurance
  • To obtain grants for repairs not covered by insurance

As you can expect, it’s very difficult to actually get through to an agent when emergency response is underway. When an area undergoes a natural disaster the FEMA call lines are hit equally as hard. Since disasters strike at random, it can be difficult to scale up the call center at a moment’s notice. 

Since there isn’t time to effectively train additional staff, scaling up will usually involve bringing on a third-party contractor for the duration. 

Can FEMA Benefit from CCaaS?

Effectively managing a disaster recovery program within a call center environment can be challenging. This is doubly true with on-premises systems, not only can these be affected by natural disasters themselves, but they lack the instant scalability provided by CCaaS systems.

With a CCaaS solution organizations like FEMA will receive benefits like:

1. High Levels of Redundancy and Uptime

Redundancy will help to ensure that if a single hosting site gets down it won’t affect the service or any ongoing calls. Instead, the service will switch over to another hosting site. Having redundancy will help to ensure that the calling system has a very high level of uptime. 

2. Flexible Call Routing and Connectivity

During disaster relief efforts your call agents are going to be fielding a wide variety of requests. This might require different call routing options than usual. With CCaaS you can offer flexible call routing, and even route phone calls to cell phones. With flexible connectivity options, you can guarantee that calls will get through to agents, even if the network is currently overloaded. 

3. Easy to Scale During High Calling Times

If you need to increase your call capacity during disaster recovery, you can do so easily and quickly. Traditional on-premises call centers make fast scaling very difficult. But, with a CCaaS provider scaling can be done rapidly, while remaining cost-effective. 

4. Support to Mitigate Technology Issues

Your call center needs to be functioning efficiently, even when running at peak capacity. With a CCaaS provider, your systems will go through rigorous maintenance and monitoring schedules to ensure system availability. With vendor support, you’ll have a technology team you can count on, even when disaster strikes.

The FEMA call center helps with call support assistance during disaster recovery efforts. Since disaster recovery puts so much strain on the existing call center, third-party providers are typically brought on to assist. However, by employing a CCaSS system from the start, issues like scalability and availability can be mitigated.

Call centers rely on their technology to empower them to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Virtual Contact Center you get world-class technology and everything your call center needs in one place. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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