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Voice Services

Voice Services handles New Year deluge

BT Voice Services has a strong, agile workforce of 700+ personnel spread across 6 geographic call centre locations throughout the UK. On average our people answer 40 million calls a year including those for some of the UK's most critical services. Trusted to handle 999 calls for 80 years, the emergency services rely on the skill, expertise and knowledge of our people to manage calls efficiently, so that callers can quickly talk to their local Ambulance, Police, Fire or Coastguard Service. This is even more challenging at one of our busiest times of the year - Christmas and New Year.

Backed by BT, and powered by our team of extraordinary people we handled 88,000 calls over 24 hours on Christmas Day and in excess of 95,000 on Boxing Day. Over New Year celebrations, our call centres were fully staffed and our teams remarkably answered half of a normal day's 999 calls in just 6 hours. During peak volume, it was noted that our highly trained agents were answering 3 calls a second and people waited less than half a second for their call to be answered.

On the busiest 6 hours of the year for the police and ambulance services between New Year's Eve at 10pm to 4am on New Year's Day - we handled almost 47,000 calls.

Ian Watson, 999 Product Manager, BT Voice Services

Storm Dylan caused the overall volume of calls to be below predictions because rain and wind dispersed New Year revellers more quickly in many parts of the country. But the number of callers wanting the ambulance service, particularly in Wales and Scotland, was much higher than expected. This meant our agents were having to wait a lot longer than normal with callers before some of the emergency services could take over the call.

Our contingency planning paid off. And thanks to the hard work in preparation, and everyone involved in the night itself, a very busy night passed without a major problem.

Presented with any critical situation, our infrastructure, technology and rigorous training ensures we’ll be there when you need us most. We've successfully built the most reliable and resilient call handling service in the UK.

If you're interested in finding out more about Voice Services, our extraordinary people and the professional service we can provide to you and your customers please contact us.

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