A world-class academic and healthcare system based in the southeast United States was gearing up for the first wave of COVID-19 vaccines. The official announcement had not yet been made, but it was clear the health system would be the region’s largest vaccine distributor and administrator. To manage the inevitable wave of calls, a separate hotline was created to handle all traffic related to vaccine inquiries. With the number ready and the trunk lines in place, the hospital was one step closer to being fully prepared. And then calls started failing.
The hospital’s IT director knew very well that failed calls can be a matter of life and death. And with a wave of vaccine calls waiting just around the corner, he needed to get to the bottom of the issue right away. He started by texting Marion Wyand, his contact at Frontier Business and Vice President of the Commercial Customer Support Center. Within minutes, she discovered the issue: their trunk lines were being bombarded with calls.
“It’s not a situation you want to find yourself in,” Marion said. “But with the right partner, it’s one that can easily be overcome.”
It wasn’t long before the health system discovered that an outside party prematurely released the hotline number. With the number now public knowledge and people vying for a vaccine, the anticipated wave was officially here, jumping from a daily average of 2,000 calls to more than 14,000. To make matters worse, calls kept failing on both the COVID and hospital lines. Since all COVID traffic came over the normal trunk routes, regular hospital traffic was also blocked. The health system was essentially paralyzed.
Marion and her team went to work immediately. To help mitigate the calls, they split traffic into logical segments, allowing the hospital’s operational calls to continue on the legacy system while COVID-related inquiries were moved to a newly designed environment. These new trunk groups were specially configured to take on a higher number of calls simultaneously, reducing the impact of traffic on overall call completion.
Within 72 hours, Frontier had set up the healthcare system to accept 400 active calls, with another 200 in queue. Anyone calling beyond that threshold would hear an automated message informing them of the high volume and instructing them to call back. With the new trunk lines established, the hospital now sees an average of 7,000 calls per day and addresses every one of them.
Doing different together
“Navigating through uncharted territory requires trust,” Marion said. “Trust in the equipment, trust in the setup and, most importantly, trust in your partnership. Anything less simply will not cut it, especially when the nature of your work relies on open lines of communication. We have your interests at heart and take pride in the support we give.”