Excellent.That’s the rating the Msunduzi call centre agents have received in a recent in-house survey on the conduct of its employees when handling ratepayers’ complaints. This is despite the ongoing outcry about the lack of service from the controversial call centre.Opposition parties cried foul at news of the favourable rating, slamming it as flawed. Instead, they want an independent survey to be commissioned to gauge the performance of the call centre.The Witness has reported extensively on the complaints from both councillors and ratepayers about the difficulties they face when attempting to contact the City’s call centre. Often, residents and councillors complained that the phones rang unanswered and some ratepayers accused the call centre agents of not forwarding their matters to the relevant departments and dropping calls mid-conversation. In August, the Batho Pele sub-unit conducted a small scale service quality assessment — of 80 cases — to determine the standard of service that customers received when they contacted the municipality.According to a recently released report, the assessment aimed to find out customers’ perceptions on how City employees treated them when they phoned Msunduzi and the manner in which reports about the interruption of municipal services were handled “to the satisfaction of the customer”.The report by the City’s manager for communications and intergovernmental relations, Thobeka Mafumbatha, said telephonic interviews were conducted where customers were asked about the treatment they received from the agent and whether the problem they were complaining about was addressed. The assessment revealed that 90% of the 80 customers interviewed were satisfied with the conduct of the employees during the reporting process of their complaint. “Customers’ feedback points out that their phone calls were answered within five rings thus in line with the service standards as prescribed in the customer service charter,” said Mafumbatha.While the call centre employees received a rating of excellent on their conduct, Mafumbatha said this was a decrease from a 96% score from a survey conducted in July.On the service delivery standards the City received an “average”, as only 59% of the 80 complaints were found to have been attended to and resolved to the customers’ satisfaction, while 21 cases were still unresolved.The water department attended 55% of 20 cases reported at the call centre during the period surveyed. This was a decline from 85% achieved in July. Road and transportation also failed to surpass the 40% achieved in July as only 10% of the cases were resolved. The electricity department also experienced a 10% decline as they attended 80% of the cases that were referred to them by the call centre.“Turnaround times especially for fixing potholes as well as reinstatements are still a concern that appeared from customers’ responses,” said Mafumbatha.The IFP and DA questioned the authenticity of the survey outcome saying it was not a true reflection of the status of the City’s call centre. Executive committee member Glenn McArthur said one would be lucky to have a phone answered at the call centre let alone it being picked up within five rings. He said at times he had to contact the call centre manager for assistance. Both the DA and IFP recommended that an independent person be appointed to conduct the survey in order to obtain reliable data. ANC councillor Sphamandla Khumalo defended the report saying the councillors should not discard its contents before they had given those who conducted the study an opportunity to explain which tools were used during the assessment. Our readers experiencesWe asked readers about their experiences with the Msunduzi call centre.Vanessa Ganesh: Well it’s really difficult to comment on the attitude and resolution of problems... if they DON’T ANSWER THE PHONES!!!Sarika Parmessar: Well, you can call them, if they answer you are lucky..Heather Greene: They don’t answer.Vicki Nott: No they dont even answer their phone.Desrae Alex Stanley: Our experience was shocking. First of all after numerous attempts the phone was eventually answered. But the telephone manner was shocking to say the least. The technicians came to check the sub station for the problem. Advised they would be back the following day to repair. But never came. We tried calling again...after numerous attempts had to report the fault again, and eventually after two weeks our problem was eventually resolved. (And that’s cutting a long story short.)Margaret Kent Manning: When they do answer and put you through to some one I waited for 40 minutes before putting the phone down. I was phoning from the UK to solve my mother’s account!!! STILL not solved.