- 2013 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
- 15 February 2013
- Carried as Amended
For call centre staff in our water companies it is becoming increasingly difficult to deliver a quality service to the public due to internal pressures to ‘get rid of’ callers as quickly as possible. If a caller rings up to say they have cellar flooding or sewage coming into their property they are in a distressed stage and need reassurance and comfort. They may be elderly with no family to help them or on their own with young children. Yet our call-centre staff are supposed to deal with this call – in the case of Yorkshire Water’s call-centre staff within three and a half minutes. There is no reason to believe the other call-centres in the WET sector operate much differently.
If calls are not answered within this time our call-centre staff will fail to meet targets and likely to underachieve for that period and therefore lose bonuses.
You cannot deliver a first-class service with one eye on the clock and following a strict script. Constantly our call centre staff feel guilty as they seek to cut a call short whilst knowing they would not like to be treated in that manner if they were the caller.
None of this is driven by the regulator. It’s simply a desire by our companies to earn the maximum profit for the minimum outlay, the outlay being minimum number of staff they get can get away with employing.
We ask the WET Executive and Water Industry Sector Committees to keep highlighting this whether it be at relevant meetings with the government, the regulators, other stakeholders or in press releases as this current way of working is in the interests of no-one.