Call Centers Ramp Up for 2012 Elections

By Robin Wilding
Updated: September 29, 2011

Call Centers Ramp Up for 2012 Elections

Elections are a stressful time as election-related services prepare for weeks or months for just a few days of elections service. Call centers are just one of many industries that need to ramp up for the 2012 elections, which are expected to receive a high voter turnout in response to the current state of the country. But contentious times aren't the only reasons election call centers should receive more volume this year: call center volume will also increase significantly during U.S. election times because the call center staff need to be American and local, which cuts down on the outsourcing that is usually done with call center staffing. In addition the electronic voting polls are still causing confusion and issues with the voting public which means call center lines will be busy with electronic poll booth questions and concerns.

To gear up for the 2012 elections call centers are readying the following:

Election-Oriented Help Desk Software

Election questions and support requires different software than traditional call centers generally employ. Call centers working on election phone calls will switch to an election help desk software that can help to integrate things like poll workers, poll locations, maps, voter rolls, etc.

Increasing staff

The elections will force call centers to receive significantly more call volume than they are used to, which will require more staff. Even though it is only for a few days, they cannot cover the extra volume with their current staff—they have to hire more to cope with the expanded volume of calls.

Increased hours

Most call centers will need to increase their operating hours to deal with elections calls as working voters will need to contact elections staff outside of regular business hours.

Better Internet Connection

For call centers running off VoIP call technology the extra call volume will create a temporary need for more Internet bandwidth, which will make them re-evaluate their Internet connection for a few days. Also with more call operators in the office they will require more internet connections thereby decreasing the amount of currently available bandwidth.

More Hardware

Increasing the amount of staff members will be useless if you don't have the hardware to serve them. This means more phones, possibly a bigger PBX, network switches and other potential concerns.

More Phone Lines

More users means more phones, which will inevitably require more phone lines. Whether the call center is using traditional trunk phone lines or VoIP they will require more more lines to handle the additional call volume.

Training Staff

New staff will need to be trained on the system, procedures and information, which takes time and resources. But, even existing staff will require training since they are dealing with a governmental election. Specific procedures will need to be followed, which requires in-depth short-term training. And, specifically this year, call center attendants will need to be well-trained in electronic voting processes as electronic poll booths continue to baffle many voters.

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