Constables manning Mumbai polices ElderLine 1090 are undergoing training to deal with calls from distressed elderly couples. The helpline was established in 2004 and aims at providing assistance to senior citizens in the city.
Elderly couple approach the constables with an array of complaints ranging from issues with heartless children to criminal cases.
The line was initially set up with the help of Spanco Limited,a company that provides networking and systems integration solutions to the state government,public sector units and the defence sector. Spanco is one of the largest service provider for the BPO sector. The company has been providing training to the staff of ElderLine since its inception.
The constables are not used to showing their soft side. They sometimes do not realise that the callers can get discouraged if proper attitude is not shown towards them. Therefore one of the first things I teach them is to make a good first impression over the phone, said Rakesh Thakaar of Spanco who took the training sessions.
Recently two batches of 16 constables each were given training in a day long conference. Though the behavioural module is the most important one we also teach them the importance of attitude vis-à-vis skills,knowledge,etiquette and how to be good listeners and to ensure that important details are not missed, added Thakaar.
We had conducted some mystery calls before this exercise and played them back to the constables,many of whom hadnt ever heard a recording of their own. They could point out their mistakes themselves. We also followed this up by making them hear real professionals who handle similar calls, he added.
The constables are used to a totally different line of work and this is a unique experience for them, said police sub inspector Feroz Patel who has been in charge of ElderLine since it began. Along with new constables we also send some older ones for a refresher course so that they are better equipped to serve the callers, he added.