Tackling call centre woes

2013-02-01 00:00

THE dysfunctional Msunduzi call centre, which has led to frayed tempers in the aftermath of last month’s massive storm and the recent power outages, is to be revamped.

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi told the executive committee (Exco) yesterday that the centre is receiving urgent and immediate attention.

Nkosi said more staff were being appointed on an emergency basis and there would be changes to the existing staff.

The call centre has been widely criticised because of the difficulty residents have experienced in getting through. For those lucky enough to get through, many have complained about the alleged indifference and unhelpfulness of the staff.

Complaints lodged at the call centre have allegedly not being passed on to the departments and some residents have been given two or more reference numbers for the same query.

Yesterday, Exco members voiced their frustration, saying they were getting lots of calls from residents complaining about the call centre. They wanted to know what was being done about the problem.

Nkosi said the system was being reviewed and that the municipality was looking at moving the call centre as well. He said the current location, in the former publicity house, was not ideal. A new location was being considered, either in the municipality’s A.S. Chetty Building or the Professor Nyembezi Centre next door. This would happen as a matter of urgency, Nkosi said.

The municipal manager said he had even given irate residents his own number to lodge SMS complaints when they told him they could not get through to the centre.

City hall sources say the staff at the call centre should not always be blamed. They believe the phone system should also be upgraded given that it could not cope with the volume of calls during the recent storm and power outage crises.

In instances of widespread power outages when the centre experienced a high volume of calls, a recorded message on the call centre phone system was meant to explain the problem and the time in which power was expected to be restored.

Many residents have been unhappy about the paucity of detail in the recorded message. They also complained that the message should have been regularly updated.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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