Charedi callers overheat weather helpline

Charedi callers overheat weather helpline

Met Office investigates how to best serve the strictly-Orthodox community after thousands of weather enquiries stretch resources to breaking point.

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Kids enjoying the sunshine on the beach
Kids enjoying the sunshine on the beach
The Met Office is considering how weather forecasts can be provided specifically for the Jewish community, after thousands of enquiries from strictly-Orthodox callers stretched the organisation’s resource to breaking point.
Among the ideas being mooted are text message forecasts sent direct to Orthodox users’ phones and an automated forecasting service in English and Yiddish, with a particular focus on the weather in areas of large Orthodox populations.
The Met Office, which is asking for thoughts and feedback from the community, has said an innovative solution is needed, because Orthodox callers often use the phone to check the weather, rather than using websites or smartphone apps.
Megan Kerr, Customer Service Team Leader, said: “We have received an increasing volume of enquiries for weather forecasts from the Chasidic communities of north London (specifically from the areas of N16 and N15), Manchester and Gateshead. Call volumes can increase into the thousands at times during the summer and over specific festival periods.”
Kerr added: “The number of calls is increasing month-on-month and currently represent almost half of our total calls received. Unfortunately this means that, at times we have been unable to respond to their calls with the level of customer service we expect due to the high number and frequency of calls, which often occur within a short period of time.”
The Met Office acknowledges that strictly Orthodox community members often prefer not to use the internet, and said it wanted to work with the community to better provide forecasts, perhaps with area-specific forecasts in Jewish News. “We are keen to ensure the community gets the best service from us as possible and hope that by working together we can make this happen,” said Kerr.
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