The Government’s Call Center Number 333 Helpline of Bangladesh was officially inaugurated on 13 April 2018 under the slogan ‘Information and Services Always’ by the a2i program of the Division of Information and Communication Technology to implement the central information services and grievance redressal management activities, including providing a portal-based data storage facility to marginalized individuals who do not have Internet access.
In the current crisis situation, emergency health care and food relief supplies are available in just one phone call. Anyone can call the National Call Center 333 and take this service at any time with a fast expanding network of users/citizens.
Bangladesh’s government is working tirelessly to keep the country’s 170 million people safe and healthy by implementing a variety of timely steps to manage and prevent this worldwide disease. The 333 National Call Center is one of the crucial humanitarian measures done by the government to help make the most of digital technologies in order to decrease the threat of coronavirus. Coronavirus services, such as direct counseling from specialist doctors, home quarantine guidelines, coronavirus information, and telemedicine services, are easily accessible by dialing 333.
77 percent of Bangladesh’s population lives in rural areas, where healthcare is scarce. Through repurposing the 333 information helpline as a COVID symptom-reporting tool, a2i’s telemedicine services have made healthcare accessible to millions across Bangladesh.
The platform’s necessity, efficiency, and utility were further proven when the country was placed under lockdown during and after the corona virus outbreak in 2020. Government assistance for unemployed people and poor families affected by the pandemic is currently available on 333.
Of the total phone calls, more than 5 million phone calls have been made in recent times, just about COVID-19. In addition, during the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020, more than 1.8 million calls for help were made. During the coronavirus epidemic, telemedicine services were provided to nearly half a million citizens through the National Helpline 333 by volunteer specialist doctors.
By 2021, 333 will have raised awareness to over 33,000 social issues. More than 21,000 phone calls have been answered in the last three years, addressing a variety of social issues such as preventing over 6,000 child marriages and offering information and government services. In the future, there are plans to expand the number of calls to this service by incorporating AI technology to better serve citizens and connect them to more public services.
Chief Technology Officer, Mohammad Arfe Elahi said, “We have a proactive 24/7 system operating for the citizens. In addition to voice calls in 333, the initiative has been taken to provide services based on the demand & information received from the service recipients through non-voice through scheduled email, Facebook, website, chatbot, USSD, etc. On the one hand, just as the speech and hearing-impaired citizens will come under the service of 333, the citizens who use the Internet will be able to take the service of 333 in their preferred way. We are on the way to making it fully accessible for every citizen.”
To improve customer satisfaction of 333 services, a2i’s Customer Innovation Lab (CIL) has implemented a rating system for 333 since January 2021, in which callers can rate their degree of happiness or displeasure after receiving the service. After a series of feedback and survey, it turns out that the majority of callers were satisfied. It was segregated if any caller expresses discontent for any reason. It requires a genuine effort to determine the source of his or her dissatisfaction and to address the source of dissatisfaction. The policy has been well received: 51% of users stated they were satisfied with it, and 38% said they were extremely satisfied. As a result, a2i is working to improve the quality of 333’s service based on citizen input.
Golam Mohammed Bhuiyan, National Consultant at a2i mentioned, “In order to improve the quality of service of 333, an initiative has been taken to get ratings through IVR to give more priority to public opinion. The Citizen Rating System has been introduced with the predominance of public opinion to improve the quality of service of 333. So far, 1,56,245 people have rated 333 services and we are dedicatedly trying to know our customers and trying to improve our services through the feedback accordingly.”
The interventions are constantly being modified and upgraded taking key feedback from the citizens themselves as part of the ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) government campaign. They have provided healthcare to millions of rural residents and they are an important part of the pandemic’s data-driven approach to control. People’s trust in 333 is progressively growing as a result of these ongoing initiatives.
Through digitalization and personalization based on individuals’ preferences, the 333 intends to bring substantial changes in the way residents engage with and seek services from the government.