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Call centre gives hope to abused women


Disadvantaged women who have been subjected to physical abuse are receiving
training and jobs, thanks to the donation of a contact centre, initially for
national cancer awareness campaign Shavathon.

The contact centre, donated by ATIO Corporation and Interactive
Intelligence, enables organisations like the Cancer Association of South
Africa (CANSA) to implement awareness and fundraising drives, such as the
Shavathon, Women's Day initiatives, breast cancer luncheons, etc.  These
awareness drives are advertised by providing a number for the public to
call, which in turn reaches the cause marketing contact centre.
Depending on the project, women from sanctuaries for abused women are
employed and receive training to handle calls, faxes and emails, as well as
basic secretarial skills.  Most of the women have never worked in an office
environment before.  As a result of the training, five have obtained
fulltime employment in other contact centres.
According to Noelene Kotschan, MD of marketing agency, Sho-Sho-Loza
Marketing, the awareness drives and training for the women would not be
possible without the contact centre.
"Before using contact centre technology, we had a traditional switchboard
system which could not cope with the call volumes for our cause marketing
initiatives," she says.
"Thanks to the contact centre, we've also been able to reduce operating
costs by about 40%.  This is significant because it means that we can give
more money to the beneficiaries."
ATIO was compelled to assist the CANSA Shavathon as the company felt that
most people in the community had a personal experience of friends or family
affected by cancer.  ATIO approached one of its key partners, global IP
communications solution provider, Interactive Intelligence to provide the
system as its commitment to corporate social investment mirrored ATIO's.
"Because it is an all-in-one solution, Interactive Intelligence's system
gave the CANSA Shavathon the ability to have one platform for its contact
centre and office environment, driving up productivity and reducing
integration and maintenance costs," says Dawn Hollingworth, ATIO's business
development and marketing director.  "The system is also easy to use
therefore providing an ideal environment to train agents with a low skills
In fact, Hollingworth says that the call centre agents can be trained on the
basics of the centre within half a morning.  "This enables significant
flexibility for all cause projects and gives the trainees a great sense of
achievement," she says.
Dave Paulding, Interactive Intelligence's regional sales manager for UK and
Africa says that being involved in this project is a privilege.  "We are
delighted to donate our technology and expertise to support organisations
doing such admirable work in the community."
Hollingworth adds that, should any other deserving cause be in need of a
contact centre solution, they should contact ATIO directly.