The old standard “You can’t complain about the service, there isn’t any,” whilst not entirely applicable to the situation below, does spring to mind.
On 13 December I had great difficulty in getting hold of appropriate Council staff during normal business hours. I complained.
The result of that complaint is below:
20 December 2011
48 Jaemont Ave
Te Atatu South
Dear Mr Osborne
Thank you for your phone call of 13 December 2011, making us aware of your concerns regarding the service provided by Auckland Council Call Centre staff. We appreciate that the service that you have received has not met your expectations and take all feedback as an opportunity to improve the experience of our customers.
We are committed to providing the best service possible to all of our customers. Please accept our sincerest apologies that in this instance, this was not the case.
We have investigated this situation and identified the staff member concerned in order to ascertain what took place during this call.
In line with our process for handling planning enquiries the staff member initially offered to transfer you to the duty planner. When this proved to be insufficient, she then attempted to locate a senior member in the planning team. However, she was unable to make contact as the manager in question was unavailable. You were then offered the option of leaving a voicemail message so you could be contacted as soon as possible to discuss your concerns.
As the staff member has followed the Council’s procedure for handling these kinds of enquiries, we do not believe that any further action should be taken in regards to this matter.
Again, please accept our apologies that the service provided did not meet your expectations. We expect that any future interactions with Auckland Council will be a more positive experience.
If you have any further queries please contact us on (09) 301 0101, quoting Customer
Reference No. 9000113450. Alternatively, for more information, please refer to our website http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.
Complaints and Issue Management Team
I wasn’t satisfied with the response so sent back the following email.
Complaints and Issue Management Team,
20 December 2011.
Re Complaint 9000113450
My complaint was not against V, the Call centre staff member, who was acting on instructions, but against the Council system for handling phone calls.
At 12.30 pm on 13/12/11 I rang 3010101 and asked to speak to the Head Planner.
I was then asked by V “Which area?” and replied “Waitakere”.
I was then asked if the Help Desk would do.
I said “No, I need to speak to the organ grinder, not the monkey.”
I then suffered 6 minutes of canned music before being told “I will have to put you through to the Help Desk.”
I then listened to another 7 minutes of canned music.
At 12.43 pm I was told I would be transferred to Erin Shields. There was more music then V told me it was going to voicemail.
At 12.44 pm I said I would like to make a complaint.
I got another 2 minutes of canned music then at 12.46 pm relayed just what I have told you.
At 12.47 pm I asked for a complaint number.
After “One moment please”, then another 4 minutes of canned music, I was given complaint No 9000113450.
Today when I spoke to T at 8.20 am she was unable to find my complaint in the system.
If calls are going to voicemail, a caller should know within 10 seconds or so, not have to wait several minutes. On 13/12/11 it was 21 minutes before my call ended after having been exposed to canned music for a considerable part of that time.
I believe the service is inefficient, as demonstrated above. That is the true nature of my complaint. As you say, the Call centre staff member followed procedure on 13/12/11. Therefore the system needs a thorough overhaul.