Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
During the recent passage of Hurricane Sandy, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) reached out to ADS Global, a company with years of experience and a reputation for dealing successfully with people around the world and working to resolve problems and issues.
ADS Global is a customer-focused, technologically innovative, global contact-centre company. In July, ADS Global agreed to an Emergency Response Partnership to assist with answering JPS customer calls to its emergency lines. The true test of this partnership came when the hurricane left thousands of customers without power for days.
According to Ron McKay, chief executive officer of ADS Global, as part of the JPS' Disaster Recovery Plan, the company mobilised its entire staff, to the point of offering a safe haven to their families. "ADS employees stayed overnight taking the phone calls knowing their families were safe in the building. Everyone was fed and entertained through the days of, and following the effects of, Hurricane Sandy," McKay said.
He also noted that this arrangement enabled JPS to be more confident and customer focussed in providing shorter response times to incoming calls and call-back services to follow up on customers who made emergency reports. In less than one week in the aftermath of Sandy, 25,000 calls were handled by ADS on behalf of JPS.
Showing they cared
"With more than 70 per cent of the island without power at some points, customers simply wanted to know someone cared about them and that help was coming. Working seamlessly with JPS' own staff, this message was delivered day and night until services were restored," McKay said.
Customers were able to hear the reassurances they needed updating them on the progress of electricity restoration. "Over the first three days in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of callers spoke to ADS operators about their personal situation," McKay said.
"Emotions ranged from angry to anxious; as JPS emergency crews worked around the clock to make physical repairs, ADS was updated on their progress and in turn kept callers informed. ADS operators kept the lines of communication open," McKay added.
Gina Tomlinson, JPS' head of customer service said, "We entered a partnership with ADS earlier this year, to assist us with calls during high-volume periods like this. As expected, there was a dramatic increase in the number of calls from customers affected by outages during the hurricane. ADS assisted us to quickly get the calls out of the queue, reducing overall wait time. This also allowed the JPS team to handle the more complex calls," she explained.