Extraordinary act of supplier selflessness keeps council call centre working for Aucklanders

Last Updated : 18 Aug 2020
Extraordinary act of supplier selflessness keeps council call centre working for Aucklanders

Aucklanders contacting Auckland Council for essential services, emergency food supplies and other services can do so thanks to an ‘extraordinary’ act of selflessness by a major supplier.

As the council closed its facilities and buildings down to fight the spread of COVID-19, its contact centre still needed to provide both the essential council services that Aucklanders require as well as gearing up to support the new government food distribution programme. This meant that the contact centre needed to have the right processes and technology to meet the needs of the programme.

Sophisticated requirements

Implementing the sophisticated requirements to stand up the programme, all while handling the 3000+ daily calls and emails was not without its challenges, and something that would have ordinarily taken around three months. 

However, thanks to the help that Vodafone NZ provided, it was done within 24 hours. As well as helping to set the call centre up, which meant having 85 call centre staff able to take the calls, it helped create a sophisticated call triage system to allow people calling council for essential services to reach the right agent. 

Auckland Council Director of ICT, Mark Denvir, says the help provided by Vodafone was critical in ensuring the council could continue to serve the people of Auckland that need the help the most.

“We were contacted by Vodafone as early as March 22 as we were starting to come to terms with the implications of what any potential council service reduction meant for council operations,” says Mark.

“Vodafone provided a full complement of System Engineers, Account Managers, Service Delivery Managers and Business Solution Consultants to work tirelessly with us to design, build, test and deploy a new queueing system for the main council telephone line - all within 24 hours. It was something we could not have done on our own,” he says.

Vodafone also negotiated on behalf of the council to provide it with an additional 100 licences for staff to better utilise its email facility, which enabled the council to clear a 3000-email backlog.

That now means customers will have email queries dealt with a lot faster going forward and the results are already showing, says Mark.

Extraordinary selflessness

“This has allowed the customers with needs under the essential service umbrella to be served first, and we are incredibly grateful to Vodafone whose demonstration of extraordinary selflessness is something that I have rarely seen in my entire career.”

Vodafone Enterprise Director Lindsay Zwart says she is very proud of how the team came together to ensure that Auckland Council could continue providing essential services to Aucklanders throughout the lockdown.

“In the lead up to the Alert Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand we had a huge number of requests from customers to assist with business continuity plans,” she says. “The team have been under extreme pressure to deliver solutions in a short timeframe that will keep essential services running.

“We understand how important Auckland Council is to keeping Aotearoa’s largest city running and therefore prioritised the work needed to keep the Council lines operating despite the lockdown. I’m extremely proud of the hard work all our teams have put in to keep New Zealand connected.”

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