Call centre ‘ignored’

2016-01-29 12:14


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Pietermaritzburg - The ineffective running of the municipality’s call centre may result in the loss of revenue and legal disputes from unhappy customers.

This was highlighted yesterday when the city’s Strategic Management Committee (SMC) presented its report on the municipal call centre to the executive committee.

With the call centre handling over 400 calls on an average day and only six call centre agents per shift, staff are “demotivated and despondent”, read the report.

The report added that call centre staff felt they were not being recognised as “adding value” and that people perceive them as “lazy and incompetent”.

A range of problems faced by the call centre were listed in the report, emphasising that municipal departments alone were not aware of the centre’s mandate and were not offering support to the centre.

The report stated that one of the key risks taken by the call centre management was that calls were not being logged properly, which resulted in unhappy and frustrated customers.

“Call centre system users may not be adequately trained [in the use of] the … system resulting in errors and delays in the logging and processing of faults. This could negatively impact on the service offered to customers and also create a negative impression,” read the report.

However, other departments in the municipality were also compounding the problems at the call centre.

The report states that relevant departments were not providing feedback and updating the call centre on the status of a fault, which resulted in consumers not always getting the correct information when they called back.

Another concern raised was that the call centre number was not published widely enough. “It is not published in areas serviced by the call centre … The call centre number is not publicly known where it is supposed to be,” read the report.

Accountability is “inadequate” within the call centre and performance is not consistently managed, it added.

The report was noted in the executive committee meeting yesterday. However, no recommendations were made on the way forward.

Have you had a bad experience with the municipal call centre? Based on the report to the executive committee, do you agree or disagree? What are some of the ways you feel the call centre can improve?

The call centre number is 0800 001 868. It is published daily on page 2 of The Witness.

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