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Big Jump In APEC Telephone Inquiries

Auckland City Council

Big Jump In APEC Telephone Inquiries To Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council is fielding an avalanche of APEC-related telephone inquiries, despite the introduction of a special APEC 0800 service.

The Council’s Customer Call Centre received more than 1,000 APEC calls in the first six days of September, with more than 400 received on Monday alone. More than 250 APEC calls had been received by noon today (Tuesday).

Call Centre Management are trying to stem the number of callers by reviewing the information available on a special APEC information service: 0800 APEC 99 (0800 273299).

Council staff say almost all APEC calls are traffic-related, with callers asking for advice on the best route to travel, the timing of motorcade traffic and the impact of APEC leaders extending their stay beyond their earlier expected departure date of next Monday.

Many of the leaders are now planning to leave on Tuesday, extending the disruption to normal Auckland traffic. Leaders’ motorcades will travel to the airport on the southern motorway and an alternative airport route through Gillies Avenue and the Mangere Motorway.

Call Centre Team Manager Steve Merchant said the flow of APEC calls was comparable with that following the Council’s annual rates pack mail out but far greater than was generated by any other issue.

"The number of calls is rocketing and we can only see it increasing further as we get closer to the APEC leaders’ meeting on the weekend," said Mr Merchant.

Mr Merchant said the Council’s 50 Customer Service Representatives were coping well with the extra calls. The council had so far fielded a minimal number of complaints about the time it took to respond to individual calls.

Many of the callers were making inquiries which could have been answered by the automated responses provided on the 0800 line. The 0800 number offers information on a range of APEC topics, including traffic and road closures, but also invites callers to hold for a council Customer Service Representative.

"Most of the information is there but people often want additional reassurance and to discuss how it affects them with a real person".

Council staff are working with the APEC Task Force to see whether traffic information can be given more effectively through the automatic 0800 service.

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