Fibre and staffing lift Spark performance
Spark’s customer service has recovered ‘‘markedly’’ but it admits there is ‘‘much work still to be done’’ in what it described as a challenging market.
The telecommunications company’s profit after tax for the six months to December 31 rose to $178 million, up more than 12 per cent on last year. This as revenue rose 4.1 per cent to $1.8 billion.
Spark managing director Simon Moutter said the ‘‘solid, if not specatular’’ first six months of the year had all been about its programme called ‘‘Upgrade New Zealand’’.
This was mainly about moving as many customers as possible off the older copper broadband and onto new and less fault-prone fibre or wireless technology.
He said there had been $13m worth of investment in Spark’s customer service, and particularly its call centre resources and processes.
This had reduced call wait times and led to significant improvements, he said, but there was still ‘‘much work’’ to be done.
‘‘Digitisation will be pivotal to future service measures as customer preference continues to shift to online and mobile self-service channels.
‘‘A new Spark app is launching imminently which will provide customers with significantly enhanced self-service capability.’’
Since June last year, there had been a 33 per cent increase in calls answered within three minutes, mostly down to a significant lift in the number of people working in the call centres.
More than 25 per cent of its customer base had also moved to fibre or wireless broadband from the copper network.
Moutter said this combination had led to a significant improvement in Spark’s customer service, with copper a particular source of a large number of issues.
Furthermore, Spark’s migration from the ‘‘very poor performing’’ Yahoo to a new mail platform was causing a few hiccups but should be completed by the end of March.
Spark chairman Mark Verbeist said that although revenue was strong across mobile, broadband and IT services, there was intense ongoing price competition, particularly at the lower end of the market.
‘‘While there will inevitably be more challenges to come and the market remains very competitive, Spark is confidently looking forward to the rest of the financial year, and to delivering on our ambitions for our customers, our shareholders and for New Zealand.’’