When Hurricane Harvey made landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border in the U.S., the 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 and Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico.
Disaster relief organisations sprang into action but many were overwhelmed. Most of Houston and the surrounding areas had been flooded so phone hotlines were overwhelmed.
When TTEC saw Hurricane Harvey hit Texas we reached out to an agency of the US federal government to offer our help. Two days later we received an emergency RFP 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 by providing local employment to the worst hit areas.
We set up the support hotline service through 10 locations, seven of which utilised our existing sites, along with three new pop-up sites. We also contacted our contact centre competitors to assist as subcontractors to help meet this urgent need.
The scale of the challenge was enormous -- to go from a standing start to getting centres set up and staffed in a very short timeframe. 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 helped us rally as a company to meet this need. In many emergency scenarios like this, 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 all the hurricane victims at that critical time.