Annual BBC Radio 4 Appeal hopes cloud call centre technology can handle more calls and raise more money to help tackle homelessness
The BBC Radio 4 Christmas Appeal hopes the use of cloud-based call centre technology will generate more donations that will help tackle homelessness.
This appeal is in its 91st year and for 2017 is once again looking to provide specialist services and support to people on the streets and assist them with finding accommodation.
Donations will be shared between The Connection at St Martin’s, which offers day and night centres as well as outreach teams, and the Vicar’s Relief Fund (VRF) which provides housing support and one-off grants to people in need around the UK.
“You don’t have to look very far to see homelessness. At the moment we’ll spend almost £10,000 a day trying to get people off the streets and back home or into accommodation where they’re warm and safe. But we can’t do it on our own,” said Mr Tim Bissett, Director of St-Martin-in-the-Fields.
This is the 85th year that St Martin-in-the-Fields has had a radio appeal at Christmas and last year raised more than £1 million. In a bid to top that figure, Sesui is providing its technology and will this year use a virtual call centre to boost the capacity of volunteers.
“For eight years Sesui has provided the magic behind the scenes making sure every call gets through,” continued Bissett. “We’re a small team, and on top of our many online and postal donations, we’ll handle over 3,500 calls in just a number of days.
“The only possible way to manage all of this goodwill is through the cloud. Sesui’s virtual contact centre allows us to take up our posts, wherever we need to – be that London, Cornwall or Scotland – in order to get those calls answered.”
The appeal launched on Sunday and during the first day, volunteers answered a fifth more calls than last year and they were answered in half the time. Call abandonment has been slashed by a third and for the first time this year, people can give money during the night using an automated facility.
Indeed, more money has been donated during the night than the total amount last year.
“The generosity of Radio 4’s loyal listeners is incredibly heart warming,” added Lee Bryant, Managing Director of Sesui.
“For so many people, the Appeal has become part of their Christmas tradition, which means every year we’ve got to be ready to handle even more calls. At various points the phones will be ringing with more than 100 people at once, all wanting to make a donation. We don’t want to ever leave them waiting.
“You have to think that any call that’s lost, is a lost donation, and we won’t let that happen on our watch.”