All of the 100 new customer service agents Spark committed to employing back in September are now trained and answering phones in its contact centres, and the company is looking for a further 40 new agents to work in its Christchurch-based call centre. This brings the total number of customer service agents at Spark to around 1,200 people answering around 120,000 calls a week.
Spark GM Customer Services Bridgette Dalzell says bringing on new agents is one of a number of things Spark is doing to dramatically improve its customer service performance - amidst a trend towards longer and more complex customer calls, driven by the growth of new technologies like fibre broadband. Dalzell says the additional staff will help reduce call wait times over the next few weeks, and Spark also wants to make things easier for customers who prefer to solve their problems online.
“We know some people just want to pick up the phone and talk to someone, and so this recruitment drive is about making it easy for them to do that. But a growing number of our customers say calling us is a last resort for them – they would far rather find the answer to their problem on our website or through our app, so we are also improving the tools and information available through our digital channels as well.”
One of these tools - Spark’s new Outage Map – launched today. The map gives a real-time view of any problems on the Spark mobile, broadband or landline networks. It uses icons to show where a problem is, what it is, when it began and when it has been fixed.
“We know there is nothing more annoying for our customers than when they think there is a problem with their individual home broadband or mobile connection, take the time to reset their modem and check all their wiring, then call us and find out the problem is a wider network issue. This map means they can check online to see if there’s a problem right at the beginning, and will be able to see when the problem is fixed.”
The Outage Map follows Spark’s launch of its Timesaver tool in September this year, which shows call volumes and service metrics such as wait times.
Dalzell emphasised that Spark will not be resting on its laurels, and would continue to improve its customer service across all channels. In particular, the business is also working with Chorus and other fibre lines companies to streamline the fibre installation process.
“We have seen some improvement when it comes measures like call wait times over the past couple of weeks, but we know there is still a long way to go. We will keep working hard to make it easy for customers to sign up for new products and sort out any problems, using both online and traditional service channels, in the coming weeks and months.”