SOS International’s alarm centre: Peak load at the weekend
SOS International’s alarm centre, which assists Nordic travellers abroad 24 hours a day, experienced a 350-percent increase in the number of telephone calls this weekend.
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Many travellers have needed assistance and guidance during the weekend in relation to their homeward journey.
At times, this has meant extra waiting time in getting through on the telephone to the SOS International alarm centre. Conditions are now normalising thanks to extraordinary efforts on the part of staff across professional groups and locations as well as the creation of a special corona hotline to ensure that other cases of acute sickness and injury while travelling were handled in the best way possible.
- We found ourselves in an entirely extraordinary situation, especially Friday and Saturday, which we had not been able to anticipate. In the situation, we adapted by increasing staffing, creating a special hotline for corona-related enquiries as well as communicating on social media, says Karin Tranberg, who continues that the Copenhagen alarm centre was able to draw on the resources of the Aarhus alarm centre of the roadside assistance provider, SOS Dansk Autohjælp, during the period when the most telephone calls were received.
The timing of the authorities’ announcement meant that many of the employees of the insurance companies had left for the weekend and had not been able to establish their own preparedness as Danes abroad needed assistance and information on their homeward journey. This meant that the calls were transferred to, amongst others, SOS International, where staff answered the questions of concerned Danes about imminent travel, questions relating to cancellations, return trips, re-bookings and insurance cover in general.
The load was further complicated by the fact that travel agents and airlines also found handling the many enquiries difficult, which is why travellers contacted SOS International instead.
- We are deeply sorry if the extended waiting time on our telephone lines contributed to creating feelings of insecurity amongst Danes abroad. Fortunately, the situation at the alarm centre is now normalising, says Karin Tranberg.
On Monday morning, the total number of SOS International cases relating to COVID-19 was close to 5000.