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News : Sparks Fly as Call-wait Times Blow Out to Over Three Hours
Auckland, New Zealand, July 12, 2016 -- Some Spark customers have waited more than three hours to get through to the company's call centre this week.
Waiting times to its 0800 service line peaked at 190 minutes shortly after 5pm on Monday, meaning callers had been holding since 2pm that afternoon to speak to the company.
Spark announced last week that it would hire an extra 136 customer service agents, on top of 200 hires since September, saying it was "not where it needed to be".
It has also kicked off a campaign to encourage more customers to resolve issues online.
Responding to one irate customer who wrote an "open letter" to the firm, Spark chief executive Simon Moutter directed some of the blame to network company Chorus.
Auckland businessman Mark Ellis said he waited for more than an hour to get through to Spark's fault line after his broadband was knocked out by a lightning strike on July 7, before eventually making contact using the "online chat" facility on Spark's website.
Following up to check on progress fixing the fault at the weekend, he faced a 27 hour wait getting a call back from the company. He has been told he should be back online on Wednesday.
Moutter wrote to Ellis saying the "sad reality" was that Spark had 2500 customers with copper line faults on Friday.
The faults were the responsibility of network company Chorus but were putting its customer service channels "under enormous pressure", he said.
"Even though we have put on more staff to answer calls, the number of fault-related inquiries from customers has been running at up to two to three times our capacity to handle them."
The long wait fixing Ellis' broadband fault did not come as a surprise, Moutter told him.
"We have been warning our customers recently that Chorus is currently under-resourced to deal with faults on its copper lines network in a timely manner," he said.
Spokeswoman Vicky Shepherd said customers could generally get through to the company faster in the mornings. It had directed a lot of resources to its fault line, which had shorter wait times than its service line, over the past week.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2016