The Importance of Call Center Operations as an Essential Service
These are completely unprecedented times, and the directives from both governments and medical authorities seem to change by the hour. In this fast-moving environment, where sheltering in place is necessary, we recognize the importance to have essential functions that support businesses and services that people need every day.
Call center operations as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of customer service, and Teleperformance is proud of our employees’ sustained levels of professionalism and service as they continue to provide critical services to the public. We believe in working safely and being good citizens, and an important part of being a good citizen is being able to provide services that are essential to society. Particularly at this time, while we are remaining safe and practicing social distancing and elevated sanitization, it is still critical for call centers to remain open.
Contact centers have people, systems, and networks in place that play a vital role in supporting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Critical Infrastructure Sectors. In CISA’s “Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response,” As part of CISA’s support of ensuring security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure, it identified workers who meet this standard:
“…workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement and public works.”
Further, in CISA’s “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response,” CISA lists sectors that Teleperformance directly supports such as Healthcare and Public Health, Food and Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and Logistics, Communications, Information Technology, and Financial Services.
In Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order on March 19 for all individuals living in California to stay home, he stated that people can still go out “as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors…” and that these sectors “…are considered so vital that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”
Likewise, in a recent press release on “COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiatives,” Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada asked “all businesses who must remain open to consider hiring those who will be out of work for the next few weeks. Delivery services will need drivers. Call centers need people to handle increased volume. Stores need people to restock shelves.”
At Teleperformance, we understand that our interaction experts are on the front lines, providing critical customer-facing services to many essential businesses in sectors identified as critical by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Some examples of the CISA sectors we support include the following:
Healthcare Sector: Our workers “manage health plans, billing, and health information” and provide customer support on behalf of health providers, payers, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies. We also provide life-saving services for patients.
Financial Services Sector: We provide “workers who are needed consumer access to banking and lending services,” such as customer service for banking transactions, billing and payments, and life insurance, property and casualty insurance, and processing insurance claims.
Food and Beverage Sector: Our workers support companies “providing groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products.” We help with national and global food and beverage distribution, e-commerce and delivery, food retailers, and restaurant and food services.
Government Sector: We have “workers at operations centers necessary to maintain other necessary functions,” such as call center support for the government such as public health programs, courts, and for public utilities, and transportation and toll authorities.
Communications Sector: Our call centers support the “maintenance of communications infrastructure — including privately owned and maintained communication systems” and support “wireline and wireless providers, cable service providers, satellite operations…and manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment,” as well as pay-TV, internet, and media services, keeping communications functioning and online. We have “customer service and support staff, including managed and professional services as well as remote providers of support to transitioning employees to set up and maintain home offices, who interface with customers to manage or support service environments and security issues, including payroll, billing, fraud, and troubleshooting.”
Information Technology Sector: For information technology, we manage “client service centers…supporting critical infrastructure, as well as manufacturers and supply chain vendors that provide hardware and software, and information technology equipment for critical infrastructure.” We have workers “supporting the provision of essential global, national and local infrastructure for computing services (incl. cloud computing services), business infrastructure, web-based services, and critical manufacturing.”
Transportation and Logistics Sector: Our employees provide “services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use,” especially for the food and agriculture sector. As consumers are ordering more day-to-day essential items online the need to have packages arrive on time has become more critical. Our contact center agents help support consumers through this shipment process.
Energy and Utilities Sector: Our employees answer calls from citizens who need support for maintaining water, gas, electricity, and renewable energy services. As CISA describes, we are included in “service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.” The call centers help maintain, ensure, or restore the distribution of electric power, and support utility workers and engineers.
The global Teleperformance family has a strong sense of community and feel that our steadfast focus on supporting companies and their customers during these times of uncertainty provides stability and continuity for society. We are resilient. We are ready.