Housing Highlight: Call Center Staff
By: Marc Sloan
Picture a science fiction-style, technology-enhanced, dark room with wall-to-wall monitoring stations, and you have envisioned the University Housing Call Center. This secure operation center is the hub for fire panel activity response, emergency maintenance phone calls, and the ability to interface with CCTV security cameras located in each residence hall. Staffed by an undergraduate Call Center Attendant (CCA), this response center is always on duty, and ready for whatever challenge or incident may arise in a residence hall. This month, University Housing recognizes and thanks the students and staff who operate the Call Center and provide the department with unmatched safety protocol.
Instituted in the fall of 2015, the Call Center was brought online to monitor after-hours fire alarms, but has since assumed more responsibility within the department, becoming the go-to place for assistance with work orders and maintenance requests, and occasionally for concerned parents and students. This growth in responsibility has been made possible by the quality of work and dedication produced by the Call Center Attendants, and their supervisor, Justin Hayes. Although there is always a new issue to respond to, and the binder of protocols is always growing, the Call Center staff are diligent in carrying out their responsibilities to ensure the safety of residents in each hall.
According to Abby Williams, a Call Center Attendant, you have to think outside the box when responding to issues. To come up with solution and make the right call, staff must be independent thinkers and follow their training without hesitation. Monitoring the entire fire alarm network for University Housing is a large responsibility, and is executed smoothly though the tactical abilities of the staff. In addition to fire alarm monitoring, staff members also monitor live security cameras to identify incidents in residence halls and assist in real time. Approximately a half-dozen incidents have been identified and responded to through camera monitoring in the Call Center, but these are rare events for Call Center staff. Most commonly, attendants respond to fire panel incidents and emergency maintenance requests, even as late as two o’clock in the morning. CCA Abby Williams says “That’s not an exciting phone call to make – waking someone up at 2:00am.” It must be done, and the Call Center staff are the most prepared and responsible people to do it.
The Call Center is a growing unit, and as technology advances, the expectations for the unit will follow suit. University Housing is also a growing department, and as new residence halls are constructed, the Call Center’s role will become even more prominent in ensuring the safety and security of the buildings. These new challenges will be met with competence and ability, as the Call Center staff is dedicated to promoting a safe and educational environment for residents to call “home sweet home”.