NEW YORK - Faced with an unprecedented volume of calls in the days following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the American Red Cross turned to Verizon for help.
Working around the clock, Verizon designed and delivered a fully operational call center for up to 600 American Red Cross operators in record time - less than three days after the request came from the national humanitarian organization.
With a new toll-free number - 1-866-GET-INFO - the call center in Northern Virginia becomes a central point Americans can call for information and referrals on topics ranging from basic safety/security issues and counseling services to blood donation locations and how to make financial donations.
"This showcase facility will help us provide Americans with essential information in this time of uncertainty," said John Clizbe, vice president, disaster services, American Red Cross. "We turned to Verizon with an urgent and vital requirement. Despite the tremendous demands being placed on their company, the employees were able to fulfill our request - even beating the agreed-upon delivery time."
To set up the national hotline, the American Red Cross contacted call center implementation experts from Verizon's Enterprise Solutions Group. They worked with Red Cross communications and technology staff to develop a solution.
In a matter of hours, Verizon conducted a comprehensive site survey and finalized requirements. Acting as a single point of contact, Verizon coordinated with all the vendors that were required to complete the complex project.
The initial survey work began at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, and the newly configured center was ready for calls by 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Approximately 60 people worked around the clock to install the multi-media call center, which is capable of handling phone calls, as well as interactive chat, e-mail and "call-me-back" functionality over the Internet.
"Few companies have the intellectual and technical expertise to quickly respond to major requests for critical communications services during times of crisis," said Eduardo Menascé, president, Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group. "Verizon's employees and the companies who worked side by side them did an extraordinary job for the American Red Cross."
To complete the project within the parameters established by the American Red Cross, Verizon called upon many of its regular suppliers and some new ones.
Cisco Inc., Comret Inc., Genesys, Mayflower Van Lines, Rockwell Electronic Commerce and WorldCom provided their products and services to assist in the quick completion of the call center project.
Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group manages the design, operation and maintenance of end-to-end total network integrated solutions for large business and government customers across the United States. With over 15,000 employees in 46 states, Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group offers a complete range of basic and advanced communications products and services to meet the voice, video, data and IP-related needs of its customers. For more information on products and services available through Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group, visit www.verizon.com/enterprisesolutions .
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.