GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A major change is coming to Guilford County Schools Transportation Department. The district said it's overwhelmed with calls. A call center will help parents get answers, faster.
"Everybody is short, I get it, but when it comes to my kid I just want to know when her bus is coming," GCS mom Monchell Baker said.
Baker said safety is her biggest concern. When speaking with her on Tuesday, she was one of the 50,000 phone calls the transportation department received in the first three months of school this year.
"It was really an eye-opener that we were not able to receive those calls in an effective way and resolve a lot of the parent and community issues we were hearing," Michelle Reed said.
Michelle Reed is the district's chief operating officer. She said the extremely high call volume is one of the reasons the district felt a call center could be beneficial.
"The goal is to not leave the call without having a response for the parent," Reed said.
Reed said in one week the department received about 3,800 calls mostly from parents with a range of questions.
The big question now that the board approved the call center is how it will work. The contract is with a company called North End Teleservices.
“We have heard parents’ and families’ frustrations with getting answers from transportation and as a parent myself, I understand,” said Superintendent Sharon L. Contreras. “This call center will allow us to provide the timely and accurate information our families need and deserve, and we look forward to this partnership.”
This contract will provide 13 representatives from 6 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. to answer calls. The representatives will be able to utilize the district’s systems including routing and GPS to help solve problems.
The contract will be funded by savings from the transportation budget according to the district. It will cost about $852,000.
"The company is based out of Omaha, Nebraska, which is typical for a lot of call centers around the country, so they are not local," Reed said.
The district is hopeful the call center will be up and running sometime in early Decemeber.