Iran (SAT-7) — [EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an article posted from the Web site of SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa. Click here to learn more about how SAT-7 is bringing Christ to the Middle East through television.]
You’ve sponsored a new phone system, bringing unexpected benefits for SAT‑7’s Farsi-language channel. Through this new system, we are gaining a deeper insight into the needs of the Iranian people. The SAT-7 PARS team had previously relied on a conventional phone system, which depended on a staff member actually picking up the phone and answering every call. Unfortunately, during busy periods, it just was not possible to answer every call, and many were lost. Now, more Iranian Christians are sharing their prayer requests, testimonials, and their need for physical Bibles.
Hundreds of Calls Missed
Parsa, the channel’s Audience and Public Relations Manager, says hundreds of calls were sometimes missed. “Previously, during our live shows, especially those for children on Thursday and Friday, we might miss about 300-400 calls. That was the reason we introduced the new system: to avoid missing all these opportunities,” he said. “We designed it so that any time we have a live show during the week, the system automatically switches to a menu that instructs the caller how to join the program if they wish. Otherwise, they can choose to go through to record a request for prayer or for a Bible, or just to leave a message.”
More People Ask for Bibles
Parsa says the number of Bible requests being recorded by the new VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system has been one of the surprises since its introduction. “One of our voicemail messages is specifically for anyone who just needs a Bible. From the moment this was
introduced, the number of messages we received began increasing greatly. Now, we have a long list of requests for Bibles and prayer,” Parsa says. “We were surprised at the number of viewers asking for Bibles because, although we knew we missed lots of calls before the VoIP system was introduced, we didn’t know exactly what these callers wanted. Now, we don’t lose any chances to hear from our audience, and we can serve our viewers much more quickly.”
Much More Flexible
Another benefit of the VoIP system is that staff in one country can answer the calls from viewers of a show in a different country. This has made it easier for SAT‑7 staff in different studios to assist one another during busy times. The VoIP system is also less expensive to operate and more user-friendly for the viewers than the conventional phone system. Some callers can reach the studios using a toll free number.
Sometimes it can be difficult to quantify the benefits of an innovation, but in this case, Parsa says, the figures are clear. “Our numbers right now show that our follow-up list of people who have called us has dramatically increased. It’s now about five times longer,” he says.
Thank you for empowering SAT-7 PARS to capture every contact from Farsi speakers who desperately want Bibles and prayer. Please continue to support this vital spiritual lifeline for them.