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Posted On: 4 March 2015 05:58 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:14 pm

Citizens criticise poor call centres, hotline services

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Citizens have come out heavily against the allegedly poor performance of call centres and hotline services at government hospitals and primary health centres.

They say calls from the public have been ignored and those in charge of the service are not aware of its importance and don’t know how to deal with customers, a local Arabic daily reported yesterday.

According to Abdul Rahman Al Ghaithani, the problem exists not only in health centres but also other government facilities.

However, it is more serious when it comes to healthcare facilities because they are supposed to be different since they deal with patients.

“Because of their ignorance, people are forced to visit health centres all the time, wasting time and efforts. This also leads to unnecessary rush in those facilities. Call centre employees should be trained and educated on how to deal with customers,” Al Ghaithani said, adding he didn’t want to generalise the issue.

“Call centres reflect the image of the institution, whether good or bad,” he said.

Abdulla Al Hargan said the attitude of call centre employees depends more on their temperament than training or education.

“They don’t understand the importance of their job. Their performance should be monitored through CCTV cameras. They should have accountability. If they cannot answer a question instantly, they can ask the caller to wait,” said Al Hargan.

Minaikhir Al Marri believes the hotline and call centre services are given to receptionists as an additional job. They would be busy attending calls and may not be well informed about hospital services.

Saad Al Badr said many people who don’t want to go to hospital on many occasions are forced to do that due to the poor performance of call centres.

“Sometimes people call to enquire about some required documents but they don’t get answers,” said Al Badr.

According to Dr Hassan Al Abdallah, a dermatologist, the inefficiency of call centres could cause financial losses to private facilities and loss of trust in government facilities. Call centre staff need awareness about their job rather than training.

Dr Saif Al Hajri, Chairman, Centre for Environment Friends, said this is an annoying situation he had experienced many times.

“Some people think that this is a minor issue because they don’t understand how much time and effort they can save by answering queries promptly,” said Al Hajri.

Dr Batool Khalifa, a sociologist at Qatar University, said call centre and hotline staff should be held accountable for performance. They should be available round-the-clock, not just during official working hours.