Demand real customer service, councillors
I knocked off early yesterday and drove into town from our farm at Ormond to pay my rates, one day early as I'm unable to make a trip to town today. I choose to pay in person instead of online as a personal statement.
I walked up to the council door at 2.15pm to see a sign saying due to Covid-19, customer service hours are 10-2. Me and another ratepayer, also there to pay her rates, exchanged some profanities about how unhelpful this was.
As I drove home I thought how typical of council to be so far removed from practical business sense and customer service normality. I felt some urgent feedback was required, if only I could actually speak to a real person . . . so I phoned 867 2049 and took a deep breath.
The first live human voice was a fail. I explained to him that tomorrow is rate payment day and 10-2 is just not going to work. Lots of good citizens will be making the trip to council outside of these hours and could I please speak to a manager to suggest they open from 9-5 like everyone else. He tried to defend 10-2 and mentioned that it had been advertised on four media and on Facebook, which I don't do. He reluctantly agreed to put me through to someone, which of course went straight to voicemail.
This has been “the straw that broke the camel's back” for me, and I feel a need to warn others not to raise their expectations of good customer service from our council.
With my rate demands came a leaflet about Covid-19, including payment of rates with no mention of reduced customer service hours.
This follows years of frustration when dealing with council. I also tried for a warrant of fitness on a Saturday or two before Christmas, to find the council-owned business closed but the opposition down the road flat out.
I won't even start on waiting for the council to process a subdivision from over 12 months ago.
So come on councillors, tell the CEO that we ratepayers demand real customer service, not lip service.