On Aug. 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border. This Category 4 storm brought catastrophic rainfall, flooding hundreds of thousands of homes in the Houston area. It was quickly followed by Hurricane Irma in Florida on Sept. 10 and Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.
Disaster relief organizations sprang into action but many were overwhelmed. Most of Houston and the surrounding areas had been flooded so the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) phone hotline was overwhelmed, receiving more than 100,000 unanswered calls a day.
When TTEC saw Hurricane Harvey hit Texas we reached out to the government procurement team to offer our help. Two days later we received an emergency RFP from FEMA to stand up 5,000 associates immediately for the emergency hotline.. We had 48 hours to turn around the RFP.
Working day and night our team pulled together a bid, offering to set up new sites in the affected areas, as well as using our existing resources across the U.S. Part of the rationale was that Texans would be able to help other Texans byproviding local employment to the worst hit areas.
We set up the FEMA hotline service through 10 locations, seven of which utilized our existing sites, along with three new pop-up sites. We also contacted our contact center competitors to assist as subcontractor to help meet this urgent need..
The scale of the challenge was enormous-to go from a standing start to getting centers set up and staffed in a very short timescale. But the catastrophe served as a corporate call to action and our teams rose to the challenge to do what they do best. TTEC got these sites ready to go, with technology in place, and partnership agreements with the subcontractors within just one week. This included identifying 5,000 associates and candidates-an unbelievable achievement from a human capital perspective.
TTEC delivered an urgent emergency contact service, with very fast deployment, in difficult circumstances. Many of our competitors declined to bid given the scale and speed. We were able to do this because of the commitment of our people, and our ability to stand up sites and deploy technology very rapidly. We have the emergency experience, expertise and processes to rapidly respond.
Our extensive experience in customer-centricity and strong corporate values also help helped us rally as a company to meet this need. In many emergency scenarios like our support of FEMA, the people we are helping have had their whole world turned upside down and are calling for help and direction. They want and need to talk to another human being. . We are proud we were able to provide essential human support to FEMA and all the hurricane victims at that critical time,