IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 155



08 Developing a Global Infrastructure | Assistance Centres
Every time we help someone
is a sweet moment.
— Siow Yen Goh
Listen Carefully
Systems in Place
Our language skills are a matter of
great pride, but accents can sometimes
defeat us. A co-ordinator was once
rather bemused by a call from an oil rig
reporting that a worker had ”suffered
an attack by a goat.” This seemed very
unlikely and the caller was asked to
clarify. On the fourth repetition it finally
became clear that the rig worker had
actually “suffered an attack of the
gout.” We were happy to help him.
As these services have developed and expanded a
number of systems have been put into place to
ensure consistency of quality and delivery:






Transmission meetings are held every morning
and evening on shift changes to hand over calls
and agree follow-up actions.
Assistance Centres are part of a global network
so that calls can easily be transferred to access
experts or other language speakers in other
Centres; plus some travellers simply prefer to be
put through to their ‘home’ Assistance Centre.
The Case Management System means all
authorised staff in all centres can access the
same real-time records.
With many clients we have medical emergency
response plans in place, so that all lines of
communication and levels of response are
agreed in advance.
We have developed our own medical transport
standards and assistance centre standards
to ensure a consistent level of quality service,
globally. These are regularly subject to
independent audits.
Business continuity is tested monthly – ensuring
all calls and cases can be readily switched from
one Assistance Centre to another. From time to
time such transfers happen for real. For example,
in October 2012, during Hurricane Sandy, as a
precaution we diverted all calls from Philadelphia
to London, for three days. The only difference
our clients noticed was “hearing those lovely
English accents.”
Ricus Groenewald: “No two days are the same,
no two cases are the same, no two calls are the
same, still you can always learn something from
every experience and use it every time you
assist somebody.”
Left: Beijing Assistance Centre,
China, 2014.
Right: Paris Assistance Centre,
France, 2013.
147

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