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Continuity counts in the call centre

The troubles in Egypt have caused a few problems for Vodafone New Zealand.
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor

The troubles in Egypt have caused a few problems for Vodafone New Zealand.

Staff were unable to get to work at its Cairo call centre, which typically handles a quarter of Vodafone NZ's help-desk calls, leading to some delays for New Zealand customers.

These issues have been fixed, with work transferred to Auckland, where 100 extra staff have been taken on, but it highlights what I said in December that companies need a Plan B.

It's bad enough having your workplace disrupted by earthquakes and floods, but it seems we must watch out for civil unrest and cyclones too!

Telecom New Zealand has faced similar issues. It uses a contract call centre based in Manila. When floods struck in 2009, continuity planning meant Telecom New Zealand staff were able to take up the slack, effectively leaving services unaffected. Similarly, Auckland and Manila staff were able to perform the work of the Christchurch staff when they were sent home because of the recent Canterbury Earthquake.

These days, both politically and meteorologically volatile, major employers will have to show great flexibility with their staffing. They cannot place all their employment eggs in one geographical basket.

This brings me on to our third telco operator, 2degrees. It has just announced plans for a major call centre in, wait for it, Christchurch: a city still suffering aftershocks from the September quake.

Great to hear it will keep its existing Auckland call centre open, just in case!

It's a surprise
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