The first Local Government Call Centre Conference in the Asia Pacific Region

Review of a very successful conference by editor Niels Kjellerup August 22nd 1999.

Customer Service delivery by local government is seen to become a major growth area for the call centre industry in the 21st century and its interesting that the first conference to focus exclusively on the issues confronting local government was held in New Plymouth New Zealand on August 5th & 6th 1999,

With 93 delegates from 45 local councils and cities this conference rates as the best call centre conference I have attended in Australia & new Zealand in 6 years. Key reason for the success ? Total focus on the real issues of Service Delivery. Management commitment, Process Mapping, People Development and Benchmarking, The need for restructuring of local government to facilitate service delivery was confronted with candour and willingness to change.

Delegate participation was successfully solicited by breakout brainstorming sessions to isolate and pinpoint key areas of interest which was then brought back from the focus groups to the major forum. Professional facilitators ensured every one took part and contributed.

A key issues which was picked up by local and national press & radio stations is the fact that customer & citizens hate talking to machines. The proliferation of IVR in Call Centres has become synonymous with bad customer service. Not a single customer service survey anywhere in the world has failed to highlight the frustration and anger customers feel over being put on hold or wasting time, listening to menus of pre-recorded voice messages. It might make economical sense but it certainly does not equate to good customer service.

To give you a taste of the depth and commitment to service delivery found in local government I have obtained permission to publish the presentation made by Raewyn Bennet, Group Manager-Customer Service, Auckland City Council . Later I hope to add the presentation from Dunedin City Council ' 24 hour Citizen Direct ' showing how the Internet is quickly becoming an integrated part of any Call Centre delivery solution.

See the Auckland City Council Call Centre Presentation ( click here).

A special thanks to New Plymouth District Council and Ross Fulton Customer Service Manager, who took the initiative.


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