Friday, July 1, 2022

Call centre gearing up for Moving Day

Moving Day is approaching fast and Ospri’s recently-appointed support and customer service manager Adam Wright hopes a support centre restructure will help make recording herd movements easier for farmers.

Moving Day is officially June 1 and DairyNZ estimates about 5000 farmers pack up and move around that time ahead of the new season, although these days moving is spread well beyond a 24-hour period.

It’s the busiest time of the year for Ospri’s support centre, with Wright expecting it to receive about 60 calls an hour, which amounts to around 480 to 500 calls a day, related to Moving Day.

He says Mondays are always the busiest day of the week, which is common among all types of call centres, as people think about what they need to do over the weekend and then pick up the phone on Monday.

The centre will also receive up to 800 emails a week, while the Ospri website offers a self-service option that it’s hoped more farmers will take advantage of.

Wright says the number of calls the centre gets at the moment is double what it might get at other times of the year and it will peak at triple that number.

He says in the past the majority of calls came all at once towards the end of June, with a long tail-off into July.

“That’s one of the things we’ve being trying to address this year, with a lot of comms around a tongue-in-cheek, friendlier tagline ‘Be a mate, update Nait’, trying to let people know that the earlier they get organised with this, the easier it will be all-round.”

The support centre is covered by a team of 30, with six of those still in training, although Wright says by early June everybody should be up and running.

There’s been a slight change recently to the hours the centre operates.

It used to run 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, but Wright says no one had previously looked into how effective that coverage was.

“I don’t want to take away phones, they have got to be there, but if there’s a big group who can look after themselves, that means we can do a better job looking after the ones who can’t.”

Adam Wright

“I’ve got a long history in service centres and (recent) analysis showed farmers don’t want to talk to us between 7am and 8am, so we were sitting there doing nothing, then after 5pm, they don’t really want to talk to us either, they’re wanting dinner, they’re wanting to be done for the day.

“We could see all of the calls were happening between 8am to 5pm, with a tiny bit outside that.

“If you spread your staff outside where demand is you are weakening yourself in the middle, so we made the call to go with 8 to 5, Monday to Friday.”

Wright says farmers can do a lot of, if not all of, what they need to do in terms of recording herd movements in their own time by going through the Ospri website, rather than potentially waiting in a phone call queue.

“It’s going to be interesting this year because of how we are advertising and how we are talking to people is saying ‘self-service, check out the website, you can do a whole lot of this stuff yourself without having to wait for us, do it in your own time’.

“Then come to us if you’ve got a question.

“We’re not hiding the fact that there are 0800 numbers, just pushing that (self-service on the website) more.

“There’s only a very small group of people now who can’t do self-service.

“I don’t want to take away phones, they have got to be there, but if there’s a big group who can look after themselves, that means we can do a better job looking after the ones who can’t.”

Wright grew up in a rural community and he wants to combine that knowledge with his call centre experience, particularly with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), to help make sure farmers are looked after.

Although he grew up on a Waikato kiwifruit orchard all his neighbours were dairy farmers and he used to go relief milking, so he has some experience in the dairy sector.

“I’ve been doing call centre stuff for a long time so it’s good to be able to use everything I have learned and apply it to a sector that I really care about.”

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