From pet hedgehogs to noisy cows: Quirky calls to council call centres

Publish Date : 22 Dec 2016
From pet hedgehogs to house fires Quirky calls from the council call centres

This year has been another busy one for Auckland Council, and that’s certainly been reflected at the council’s contact centres, where phones have been ringing off the hook.

"We’ve received around 2 million calls this year across all of our contact centres,” says Wendell Wylde, who manages the council’s call centre staff in the north of the region.

“Our centres operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so we’re always here for Aucklanders when they need us.

“This means we can certainly guarantee someone will be there to answer a call, although we can’t promise we’ll be able to answer every question – especially those that come a little out of left field.”

Ready for anything

While the majority of the calls the council receives are related to transport, parking, rates, consents and building, Wendell says odd calls do come through from time to time.

“While our staff will always try and help customers out as much as they can, no matter how peculiar the query, some of these are a bit out of our jurisdiction.

“However, we’re always here for Aucklanders, ready to listen and try to help them solve their problems.”

Quirky queries to Auckland Council contact centre staff

  • A regular caller frequently requests that the council provide better weather, and has on one occasion asked us to stop the rain.
  • A caller asked what to do with unwanted Christmas gifts. Staff suggested contacting a charitable organisation, like the Hospice New Zealand or the Salvation Army.
  • One woman called to make a noise complaint about cows mooing in the paddock next door. She had recently relocated from the city to a rural district, and thought she would be moving to the quiet countryside.
  • A caller asked for permission to bring their pet hedgehog over from China. They said they were really missing their pet.
  • One caller making a noise control complaint about construction noise during the daytime also voiced his disapproval of the “primitive techniques” used. He said that they should not be using hammers and nails, and should instead use quieter methods that have been around for a long time. He also thought there was no need for noisy machinery either.
  • One man called to report an emergency. When advised that he should call emergency services, he asked for the phone number. The Customer Service Representative started to say “111”, but was cut off after the first number because the caller said he did not have a pen, and immediately put the phone down and began searching for one. When he picked the phone back up, he was transferred through.
  • A caller asked to log a noise control complaint because the person who lived in the flat above her was flushing the toilet late at night.

Help over the holidays

Auckland Council’s contact centres will continue to operate around the clock through the holiday season.

“We usually see the nature of our calls change a bit around this time of year, with people calling up to find out more about our regional parks and how to use them, and also things like how they can get rid of their holiday rubbish," Wendell says.

“Whatever they need, we’ll be here to help make sure Aucklanders can get the most out of the region and have as stress-free a holiday as possible.”

Contact the call centre on 09 301 0101 or through the council’s website.

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