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Mississippi Emergency Management Agency

Scalable Contact Center Program

Creating a User-Driven Process in 72 Hours with Technology to Provide Emergency Housing

Key Benefits

An on-the-go, on-call, end-to-end, scalable integrated solution that worked for MEMA and for those in need.

  • Automated screening process for rapid housing placement
  • Real-time integration with MEMA systems
  • Scalable, HIPAA-compliant solution to meet the needs of any evacuation emergency
  • 24-hour on-call support from iostudio team

Whether you need a business solution in three days or three months, we can help.


As a part of its disaster response services, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) coordinates emergency housing. As hurricane season approached during the height of the pandemic in 2020, MEMA was experiencing a new challenge—how to provide rapid housing solutions for evacuees, while not increasing the spread of COVID-19.


In the event of an evacuation, MEMA had to screen and qualify every Mississippian in need of housing. And they needed to do so in real-time, supporting all types of situations, from anywhere in the state.


MEMA needed an automated screening solution ASAP. They came to iostudio because we have the experience it takes to stand up a user centric-workflow and a fully integrated call center in 72 hours.


As true operational partners, iostudio staffed and trained team leaders, managers and technology support personnel to be on-call throughout hurricane season. This structure offered continuity, organizational integration and rapid scalability. The model was built to stand up for 24-hour operations within 72 hours of activation.

  1. Screening at scale: iostudio developed a screening process that directly integrated with internal MEMA systems to effectively screen individuals while ensuring all data remained HIPAA-compliant and ended in the same place.
  2. Resource connection: MEMA databases were used to geographically align available housing types with individuals in real time.
  3. Hand-off and resolution: iostudio developed a methodology for real-time connections to hotels and housing facilities to ensure the individual on the phone had a contact at the ground level. The result was an on-call, end-to-end, scalable solution for those in need.


MEMA’s Non-Congregate Housing Emergency Contact Center (ECC) was set up, staffed and on call in case of an evacuation order. Multiple teams were successfully activated during hurricane season of 2020. In early 2021, the state would face another unprecedented logistical challenge: COVID-19 vaccination scheduling.

Specific deliverables included:

  1. Customized Call Center Workflow for use in any evacuation emergency
  2. Custom CRM Application for customized workflow and data capture
  3. Ongoing readiness state for real-time activation
  4. System integration with vendor partners to minimize redundancy and waste in an emergency

Saving Lives with Custom Technology Solutions

This work was about helping Mississippians avoid danger. When you’re counting calls and calculating success rates for MEMA, it’s not your typical customer service project. Being prepared for a large influx of calls means we were ready to help evacuate families from their homes and find shelter in the path of the storm.

How We Did It

Program Development

Before the first call could be answered, the technology had to be in place: telephony software, an in-house customer relationship management (CRM) application, a call queue-management system, a knowledgebase and the integration of these new systems with MEMA’s existing platforms. Representatives needed a script and guidelines, a thorough set of standard operating procedures detailed roles and responsibilities, scheduling protocols, quality assurance methodologies and other workflow matters.


In addition to on-call operators, iostudio hired team leaders, managers and technology support personnel. All were trained on MEMA operations and use of the CRM application. The ECC can stand up for 24-hour operations at any time with a minimum staff of 15 within 72 hours of activation.


iostudio’s data tracking and reporting capabilities included daily rundowns of all call center activity: calls received, calls answered, speed of answer, hold times, abandonment rate and dispositions (a way to categorize the purpose or result of the call).

When you’re asked to create an ‘emergency’ engagement system, you’d better be able to do it fast.

MEMA needed a solution as soon as we could provide one. As it turned out, we had exactly the kind of experience it takes to stand up a call center in 72 hours. Whether you need a business solution in three days or three months, we’d love to hear about it.