3. Basic steps of a call

The procedures you will use while handling calls are below. Your script will always guide you through the right words to use.

This course provides you with the proper instruction for each of these procedures.

  1. Answer the call with your Full Name and verify that the caller is calling about this specific incident.
  2. Always ask the caller if he is calling for a specific person as the caller might be from the media.
  3. End the call kindly and quickly if the caller is not calling about the crisis. (Always follow the script).
  4. If necessary, ask key questions to determine if the caller is a legitimate family member. 
  5. Provide loved ones with crisis information.
  6. Gather basic information about the caller (more about this on the next slide).
  7. End the call as soon as possible so that other waiting calls can be answered.
First step of the script: Answering the call

Gathering Basic Information

While we do want to keep incoming calls as brief as possible, we want to gather some basic information to better understand who it is we are talking to so we can later contact the caller, if needed. Always repeat/spell names and numbers using the phonetical alphabet

This information is simple and straightforward. Basic information include:

  1. Caller’s First and Last name
  2. Caller’s Location and phone number where we can reach the caller during the next few hours. (Always repeat them and confirm country code)
  3. The name of the passenger they are inquiring about (For some crises, persons affected will not be called ”passenger”. We will notify you of any changes related to info you are gathering from callers.)
  4. The caller’s relationship TO the passenger (or affected person). 
  5. Phone number(s) Additional Remarks: add any additional Info the caller wants to provide. 

In some cases, some clients may want to collect additional information such as address information, etc. Don’t worry, we will provide you with a template with all required fields, and you will simply ask the caller for the information requested in the template. (see example next slide)

Incident / Crisis Information

You should give the Incident / Crisis Information after searching for the loved one’s name and gathering the Caller’s contact details.

When someone (the caller) is confronted with overwhelming fear of serious injury or death of a loved one, their logical thinking is no longer dominant, as it is in a normal situation. The emotional thinking takes over, so when they hear information about the crisis, they are not able to hear / process that information, logically.
Callers need to first connect with someone who can reassure them that they can help and so when the agent takes the caller information for a call back, the agent creates a connection with the caller and the worried family member starts feeling that someone is there to help.  Only after establishing that connection, will the caller be able to hear and understand the information about the crisis where their loved ones might be involved.

Passenger Manifest 

When an accident occurs, many of our clients will provide us with a manifest, or list, of passengers or guests on the plane, ship, train, etc. For various reasons, it might take the company some time to obtain this list. Once they have the manifest/list, they will then send it to us to upload into CS2.

Your actions will be slightly different depending on whether or not we have a passenger list when you begin taking calls.

Don’t worry, your script will guide you as to what you will need to say. 

When No Manifest is Available

If there is no manifest, you will:

  1. Offer the caller any Crisis Information, located on the left of the CS2 screen (This will be updated live if any changes occur).
  1. Collect caller’s information using CS2’s “Caller Information” form (you will learn more about this soon)
  1. Advise the caller that a member of your team or the Family Support Center will call the family back only if the person they are inquiring about has ben affected by the accident.

Due to the thousands of calls that may come in, it’s impossible to call everyone back, particularly when their loved one was not affected. So, we never want to make false promises.

When a Manifest is Available

When we do have the passenger manifest, you will be able to “qualify” callers as follows:

  1. You will ask the caller the name of the person they are inquiring about (spell back the names not easy to understand) 
  1. If the name the caller provides is ON the manifest, it will appear in your list of search results. (Do not inform that the name is a MATCH, or is on the list, at this point) You will then inform the caller that you will need to collect basic information and enter them in the “Caller Information” form in CS2. If there are similar names, and/or if you are not sure whether it’s a match or not, you will still collect the caller’s info. 
  1. If the name the caller provides does not match a name in your search results, you will advise the caller the name is not on the list. You will ask the caller if they want to try a different name, collect the caller information if they insist the loved one should have been onboard, or end the call if they are confident that the loved one was not involved as the names was not found. You will be provided with exact scripting for ending each call. Follow the script accordingly.  

If a caller asks for a name that does not come up on the search result as the name is not on the first list as it, but the agent takes all details because the caller insists, the name of the passenger will be saved and shown on the Search Results with three stars ***. If someone else calls back and asks for the same person, the next agent will see the name with*** asterisk but WILL NOT confirm that the person is on the manifest, as agents know that names with *** were entered manually by another agent on a previous call.

Types of calls

In the list below you will see examples of the kinds of subjects you may experience in your interaction with callers.

  • Name of loved one is on the list 
  • Name of loved one is not on the list and caller hangs up
  • Name of loved one is not on the list but caller insists to give all detail
  • Media Call

Most People Are Understanding

Most people will understand the critical nature of the moment and end the call. However, you may get someone, or even people in the media, who may insist in asking other questions. You should always be courteous but, if necessary, you may terminate the call. 

As a general rule, You will only  provide Special Instructions to media callers,  however if the media caller insists on  getting information, you can provide Crisis Information as that is already public. 

Always check the “Special Instructions” box to the bottom

left of your screen for information on handling media calls.

Remember that your interaction with callers is in the very early stages following an accident.

When you do speak with friends or family members, many will be stunned and in some form of shock or in denial.

Be prepared to sometimes repeat your questions in order to obtain needed information.

At times of crisis, it is imperative that you use a calm, low—pitched voice when speaking to family members. Compassion is key, treating the callers as you would wish to be treated if you were in their shoes, worried about your loved one and desperate for information.

                    Survivor Interview – Video clip

Scott Maurer is a family survivor who lost his daughter, Lorin, 30 years of age, on Continental Air/Continental Flight 3407 on February 12, 2009. Scott shares the story of how he & his wife, Terry, had such a difficult time getting information from the airline after the accident. Kevin, referenced in the video, was Lorin’s boyfriend who was awaiting her arrival in Buffalo, New York. The video in the next slide is an example on how important it is for family members of loved ones involved in the disaster to be able to quickly obtain information and feel and emotional connection to those working for (or on behalf of,) the company, such as yourself.

A quick recap

Let’s do a quick review:

  1. Call handling procedures vary slightly depending upon whether we have the passenger manifest (list).
  2. Your script will prompt you to provide the caller with the incident information.
  3. We qualify callers to process calls as quickly as possible. For qualified callers, you will collect basic information from the caller.
  4. If we do not have the manifest, you will advise callers that a member of your team or the Family Support Center will call back IF it has been determined that the person they are inquiring about has been affected by the incident.
  5. When we do have a manifest, you will first check to see if the name of their loved one is a match in CS2, then proceed with your script on your screen.
  6. Use a compassionate tone at all times.