News | 22 February 2021

The team who takes up to 1000 calls a day

It’s 11am on a Friday, and the Wellington City Council Contact Centre has already received 400 calls since midnight.

Contact Centre staff member Amber wearing a headset, at her desk with multiple computer screens open in front of her.

So far Kate, who began her shift at 8am, has booked multiple customers in for building inspections, she’s requested the Street Cleaning Team respond to a report of a mattress dumped on a footpath, and she’s asked the Roading Team to contact a customer who wants to find out more about the resealing work that is happening on their street.

She has also logged reports of water leaks, a missed recycling collection, tagging outside an animal charity op-shop, and notified the relevant teams to respond.

In one hour, Oscar, another Contact Centre team member, has taken 13 calls.

These include queries about recycling calendars, road closures, an illegally parked motorcycle, paying for coupon parking, and a complaint about an overgrown section neighbouring a customer’s property.

Whether it’s a person reporting graffiti, checking their rates bill, or asking about the weather, there’s always someone listening and ready to find the answer – any hour, every single day of the year.

The Contact Centre is always on.

A dedicated team answer up to 1000 calls a day, with a wide range of queries coming from Wellingtonians. They may be reporting a problem or street lighting outage, calling about noise control, or lodging a complaint.

Senior team member Megan says people call the Contact Centre on matters ranging from parking in the city and building consents, to roaming dogs and fallen trees.

They even receive calls from “some regulars” who just want to have a friendly chat.

“We have a guy who is guaranteed to call in everyday asking about the weather.”

Megan says many of the staff often have MetService’s Wellington weather forecast webpage up and ready, anticipating his call.

“Some people also call for directions when they get lost – they see the phone number on the nearest parking metre and call up to see if we can help find where they are going to.”

And then there’s the “ideas man”.

Everyone in the Contact Centre perks up when he's mentioned.

“He’s a good call,” says Kate.

“He’s been calling since I started two years ago. He just calls up with ideas or for a chat. And he invites us to his exhibitions.”

Wellington City Council Contact Centre staff members, Matai and Enisha, standing on either side of two colourful paintings with glass and high rises in the background.

Sure enough, Ideas Man is a keen artist, and two of his paintings that he gifted to his Contact Centre chums are prominently displayed in the office, on windows overlooking The Terrace.

The Contact Centre staff are impressively apt at navigating different computer programmes – they manage at least a dozen systems to do their job.

They also respond to emails, texts, and FIXiT requests – taking about 200 digital enquires a day.

They log every customer enquiry, and have just introduced a new system which saves questions, concerns, or complaints so staff can easily find a specific customer’s earlier requests.

The team must find answers to a myriad of questions and therefore need to be knowledgeable about all things Wellington City Council. And if the caller is ringing about something unrelated to Council business, they do their best to point customers in the right direction.

Oscar and Kate, alongside their colleagues, can take up to 100 calls each, during their eight-hour shift.

Talking to that many people surely takes a lot of energy, and as they are quite often the first point of call for people contacting the Council, they have been known to cop a fair bit of grief.

Despite this however, they remain calm and polite, efficient and helpful, no matter what gets thrown their way.

If you have any queries about the Wellington City Council services please contact the team on (04) 499 4444, by email at info@wcc.govt.nz, or free text to 3400. They’ll be more than happy to help.