Medical Alert Call Centers | 101 Guide
Medical alert call center is the center run by the medical alert company staffed with people who are trained to answer the emergency call and help the person in need.
When the person in need presses the button on the wearable pendant, the connection is automatically established with the call center in charge of taking the calls. The average time necessary for the call center to respond is around 30-40 seconds.
The time differs with each company depending on the call center size, number of trained agents and availability of multiple call centers in different time zones.
What Happens Next?
As soon as a user presses the help button, the connection is established. The call center agent then communicates with the user of medical service, in order to assess the situation and provide assistance.
Based on this assessment, the call center agent decides to either call the contacts listed in the contact list of the person in need, which are usually family members or neighbors, or to immediately alert the local emergency service and send them to the location. In most situations, calling family members or neighbors is the assistance needed. Neighbors who have a key to the house can quickly get there and help.
What Happens if The User Is Unable to Speak?
If the call center agent has answered the call but is unable to communicate with the user, as the user might be too far away from the base unit’s speakerphone or is unconscious, the agent will send local emergency service to the location immediately. This is to ensure quick response. Of course, when user signs up for a medical alert service, he provides preferences. These preferences include emergency contacts and how to handle each emergency situation. For example, some prefer to avoid calls to local emergency services altogether and consider alerting family members enough. Listing emergency contacts is important as when local emergency services arrive to the location, they need access to the home (lock-box is another solution). Neighbors who have a key to the home can provide this access and help avoid costly forced entries by emergency services.
The call center has all of the necessary information about the user displayed on the screen when the user places a call to the call center, which is very helpful for reacting fast and sending assistance as soon as possible. This is a great benefit of using a medical alert service in comparison to simply dialing 911. When the users sign up for medical alert service, they provide information about themselves, which include the address and the way to contact immediate family members or next door neighbors. This way the call center agent knows exactly where to send the emergency service.
Types of Call Centers – In-House vs. Outsourced Call Center
There are two types of call centers out there. In-house solutions where the call center is operated by the medical alert company itself. The second option is an outsourced call center.
Of course, the in-house solutions are often better as one can count on dedication and the reputation of the company. Outsourced call centers can be US-based or not. Most of the companies offer US-based call centers. The downside of an outsourced call center is that company providing medical alert service does not have direct influence or control on the quality the call center provides.
Call Center Certifications
Call centers can be certified, the most common is CSAA Five Diamond certification. This certification proves that a call center has passed inspection in five different standards and that provides quality service. Another common certification we often see is UL Certified call center. There are other certificates a call center can have but these two are the most common.
Call Center Agents’ Training
Besides call center certification, call center agents can have different levels of training too. Call center agents are usually trained in how to respond in emergency situations. The level of training call center operators receive is crucial to how well they will provide assistance in emergency situations (Many of them are 911 Trained). Usually the certification and type of training is listed on the company website.
Another feature call center can have is assistance in multiple languages. This is great for those who do not speak English as their primary language. Call centers in this case either have staff that speaks different languages ready to take those calls or use special software to provide assistance.
Number of Call Centers
Some companies run multiple call center facilities, so this ensures that the services is uninterrupted – even in case of natural disasters or power outs. Call centers should have redundant systems and multiple levels of backups. If a company runs several call centers, it means that there is little chance of a call center being overwhelmed with calls or to be unresponsive. Also, if call centers are placed in different locations geographically, they can cover different time zones more efficiently. If a company does not have a backup call center, it does not mean that you should avoid it but be aware of potential issues with availability in case of unforeseen events such as massive power failures, floods, or earthquakes. These events also massively increase the number of inbound calls that customers in need are placing by pressing their help button.
Besides the reliability of hardware that medical alert system uses, the call center is the most important aspect of any system. The quality of the call center, the features and the training of call center operators is why we purchase medical alert services in the first place.
The call center agent is our link in those tough, emergency situations and we do need the highest quality of the service we can get. Read through reviews, ask among friends and talk to the medical alert company representatives to learn more about the call center. When you get the system, do not forget to place a test call to get a firsthand experience on how the service works and how long it takes for a call center agent to take a call.