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Call center backs up hot line.

CALL CENTER BACKS UP HOT LINE

Florida's abuse hot line, handling over 450,000 calls a year, is backed up by a centralized call center with a sophisticated telephone system.

FPSS--Florida's Protective Services System--is run by the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services in Tallahassee. It has an 800 number that can be dialed from anywhere in the 48 contiguous states.

Allen Spradling, FPSS telecommunications administrator, says 89 counselors who keep the call center operating around the clock use a Rolm 9750 Business Communications System.

A Rolm 9751 CBX Model 40 with automatic call distribution software, scans each of 60 workstations to determine each counselor's work status and route incoming calls evenly. Calls not taken by a counselor immediately are answered by a recording and put into queue.

A system monitor shows call center supervisors current status of the phone load on all stations, and management reports showing load statistics for each half-hour of the day can be printed anytime.

"Our experience shows that one out of three calls results in a case of abuse or neglect that is investigated, so it's important for us to answer every call promptly," says Spradling.

Counselors, using Rolmphone 244PCs combination phones and personal computers, take phone reports to see if they warrant investigation as a case of abuse or neglect of a child, elderly or disabled person. Basic information such as the date and time of call are automatically recorded in the PC.

When the call is completed, the counselor enters the remaining case information and transfers data to a central mainframe, where it becomes part of a database of abuse reports. The counselor then calls an investigator, whose PC is also on-line to the mainframe.

The 800 hotline started in Florida in 1971 with a small office and six staffers, and has grown steadily.

"Under the old system, calls were taken by whoever was available at 181 different locations throughout the state," explains Sprading. "It was slow and cumbersome. Initial reports were compiled inconsistently and excessive backlogs and loss of information were commonplace."

FPSS' current system automatically flags investigations not completed within 24 hours. On-line screens let investigators and managers decide which cases are critical. Suspects and victims are checked against the database to determine previous involvement in similar cases.

A Call Center Resources Manager (CCRM) software package analyzes call information via an IBM PS/2 Model 70.

"CCRM has revolutionized our way of doing business," says Spradling. "We will never be able to predict exactly how many calls we receive on a given day. But we can use historical trends to predict call volume ... and schedule resources."
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Title Annotation:Florida abuse hot line
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Words:437
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