Medi-call provides personal alarm systems to the elderly and infirm. Customers are principally those people who live alone preferring to stay in their own
homes rather than be looked after in some form of institutional care or with family. The customer has a small transmitter/receiver which can be worn as a
pendant or on the wrist like a watch. If the customer has a problem they press the button on the pendant which activates a base station located at the
customer%u2019s telephone. The base station calls Medi-Call%u2019s contact centre which provides 24/7 cover to ensure maximum reassurance for its customers.
Medi-Call%u2019s agent will attempt to establish contact with the customer. Because the transmitter is so sensitive it is possible to carry out a conversation
up to 50 metres away from the base station. Medi-Call%u2019s staff are trained to provide immediate reassurance to the caller who is likely to be confused and
frightened. Each customer provides immediate reassurance to the caller who is likely to be confused and frightened. Each customer provides a number of contact
numbers including neighbours and immediate family. If there is a problem as for example an elderly person having fallen and not being able to get up the
normal procedure is for Medi-Call to alert the closest neighbours asking them to visit and call back. If required Medi-Call will alert emergency services and
also contact family members if appropriate. The call centre deals with a wide range of demands:1. Emergency calls : These result in Medi-Call agents being on
the phone for an average of 30 minutes. This time may be spread over a number of calls to the customer neighbors family and so on. Each emergency call
requires an average of 8 minutes%u2019 administration time to ensure records are kept up to date-this is normally completed immediately after the call is
completed and definitely before the agent completes their shift.2. Technical enquiries: These calls normally come from new customers unsure about the function
of the equipment. The average duration these calls is 5 minutes with 1 minutes associated administration time.3. Reassurance calls: Medi-calls encourages
customers to ring the call centre about once a month to check that the equipment is working properly. Many elderly customer spend long periods by themselves at
home and see this an opportunity to have a rather longer conversation than is strictly necessary. Medi-call considers this as part of the service it provides.
The average reassurance call lasts about 6 nutes with 1 minute associated administration time.Medi-call estimates that its employees are effective for about
80 per cent of the time that they are on shift and this forms the basis of its staff scheduling system. This figure allow for short comfort breaks and also
recognizes that not all staff are fully competent. Medi-call provides thorough induction training and continuing staff development but annual turnover of
staff is in the order of 20 per cent and it takes upwards of 6 months for staff to be fully trained.The majority of calls are handling by the member of staff
who is the first point of contact. In under 10 per cent of calls the agent handling the call may ask for assistance from a more experienced colleague or the
When does Medi-Call%u2019s call centre enter the coping zone? What is the likely impact of this overload on customers and staff?
What strategies do you recommend that Medi-Call adopts in busy periods? What actions would you need to take to implement them effectively?
Do you agree with Medi-Call%u2019s philosophy on reassurance calls? What do you recommend?
Supplement:Case Exercise III %u2013 Medi-Call Personal Alarm Systems Ltd.2 pages