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Call Centre Wins Award For Excellence

North Shore City Council

North Shore City Council’s call centre has been recognised as one of the best in the country.

The Actionline service this week received an internationally recognised award for excellence from the American TARP company, whose specialised programmes measure customer satisfaction.

TARP grew out of Harvard University in 1972, and now sets the benchmark standards for call centre performance.

The council’s call centre gained the third highest score ever in New Zealand, in achieving the ‘Best in Class Call Centre Award’. Only six New Zealand companies reached the same elite standard this year.

"Speed of service has improved six-fold and satisfaction has nearly doubled since we began," says chairperson of the council’s strategy and finance committee, Councillor Jenny Kirk. "But to get this external recognition makes all the hard work worthwhile."

Established as a call centre in September 1997, North Shore City Actionline now has a full-time staff of 15 answering and responding to calls from the public on all council-related matters.

The award is for a 12-month period only and must be re-sought each year. It assesses customer satisfaction using criteria which take into account responsiveness and the effectiveness of procedures.

A random phone survey of residents is now carried out as part of the council’s annual assessment of customer satisfaction levels, which helped the call centre achieve the top award, says Cllr Kirk.

The TARP assessment of the call centre showed that 85 per cent of calls were answered within 20 seconds.

"Technology is working for us, and not the other way around," says Cllr Kirk. "Our business is very much about customer service and communication and the call centre initiative has enhanced the links between politicians, staff and our contractors."

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