To the harried managers of a modern commercial contact center, it might seem like nothing could be more urgent than squeezing every bit of efficiency and productivity out of operations. But they would be wrong. There is an environment in which the stakes are higher, where delivering top-notch “service” is an organizational number one priority. That is in the public safety sector, where callers are people in intense distress and the dispatcher is literally providing them a lifeline. Public safety centers are operational close cousins to commercial contact centers: they both rely on intelligently processing a high volume of inbound contacts at the lowest possible cost that is consistent with the highest available level of service. The standards for service may differ, but the mechanics of how they do it are quite similar.
In some key respects, business centers can leverage the best practices of 911 emergency response centers that handle matters of life-and-death with a consistently high performance level.
Like commercial centers, public safety dispatch centers face serious cost-control and budgetary limitations (in this case because they are funded by government agencies). “Doing more with less” is standard operating procedure in the public environment. These centers have learned to maximize the value of essential tools, like call recording, to carefully balance their dual missions of safeguarding lives and caretaking public funds.
An Ovum white paper, sponsored by HigherGround, What Contact Centers Can Learn From Public Safety, describes some of the ways that the two types of call-handling centers resemble each other, and the best practices that have evolved in the public sector that can be applied more broadly in the commercial sphere.