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Vodafone urges customers to go digital, expects call times to increase

Vodafone New Zealand is urging its customers to utilise digital customer service methods before picking up the phone, as it looks at ways to reduce reliance on its call centre staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are doing our utmost to respond to the ever-changing landscape around the COVID-19 pandemic," Antony Welton, customer operations director, Vodafone NZ says.

"Due to precautionary measures in New Zealand and internationally, our customer care teams are managing the impacts of COVID-19 while dealing with higher call volumes," he says.

In response, the telecommunications provider says New Zealanders should look at other ways to contact customer support staff before calling the customer service line.

Digital channels include our My Vodafone app, online chatbot TOBi, website and chat – as well as social media channels, particularly Facebook and Twitter, which have recently extended their hours to be available from 8am-9pm.

“If you can use a digital way of contacting us instead of calling in the first instance then please do. We have a great website and newly relaunched My Vodafone app as a first port of call," says Welton.

“We have major call centres in different offices in New Zealand and India, and a small specialist customer care team in the Philippines – and while we’re able to redirect work and calls for some customers between them, we are also planning for future impacts including what we can expect will be further increased restrictions on movement in cities worldwide." he explains.

Welton says Vodafone is expecting call wait times to increase over the coming weekend after India's recent announcement of a Janata Curfew on Sunday 22 March.

A Janata curfew is a concept introduced by the Prime Minister of India, asking all citizens of India to observe curfew from 7am to 9pm on Sunday, 22 March, to help reduce community spreading of coronavirus disease in India.

"Urgent queries such as service restorations or medical emergencies need to be prioritised," Welton added.

 “Our greatest focus has to be the safety and wellbeing of our team – so we will continue to prioritise this and are unapologetically taking a conservative approach to health matters.

 “From a retail store perspective, depending on how the situation evolves we may need to close specific stores to deal with staff shortages due to Vodafone NZ asking certain staff to self-isolate in our ultra-cautious approach to COVID-19," he says.

“We apologise for any inconvenience to our customers and encourage people to visit our online store for home delivery across Aotearoa.”