Call centre revamp on track

2013-02-25 00:00

UNQUALIFIED employees at the dysfunctional Msunduzi Municipality call centre will get the boot as part of the local government’s new plan to improve efficiency.

According to municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi, the new and improved centre will be operational by next month.

Nkosi outlined details of his plan to the executive committee meeting last week, which included buying new computers and software, and turning the centre into a 24-hour operation.

Speaking to The Witness, Nkosi said the current call centre was staffed by employees who were seconded from other departments, and did not necessarily have call centre experience.

“We appreciate the work they have done under difficult circumstances,” he said.

He said there would be a call centre-specific recruitment drive and those among current employees who had developed interest would have to apply for the positions and would be considered like all other candidates.

Nkosi told council that the call centre would recruit additional employees to handle the enormous volumes of queries the centre received daily.

In that regard he said the shifts had been revised to cover 24 hours. The amended shifts are 6 am to 2 pm, 2 pm to 10 pm and 10 pm to 6 am.

The first shift will have 10 attendants, the second will have eight and the last shift will have six. All shifts would include a supervisor.

He said they would also have two people with cellphones on standby, who would be able to handle water, sanitation and electricity queries, if landlines were down.

Currently the centre has 16 people working four shifts, with only four people per shift.

Municipal spokesperson, Brian Zuma said the call centre would be moved to the AS Chetty Building due to the availability of a back up generator there. This, he said, would ensure the centre operated even during power outages.

DA caucus leader, Bill Lambert said this was the most important item on the agenda.

“We welcome anything that promotes the efficiency of our call centre and this is the kind of information that our ratepayers want to hear,” he said.

The chairperson of Msunduzi Rates Forum, Babs Sithapersadh said the relocation of the call centre might be a good idea if it meant providing efficient service.

“It will succeed if it is run by efficient people, who will be able to provide much-needed information to customers,” he said.

Napierville resident, Sphephelo Mthembu said: “The call centre is the backbone of communication between residents and the municipality, so if that is not working, people become frustrated with the council.”

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