Pow­er­shop con­tact cen­tre em­ploys 100

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - PIERS FULLER

Pow­er­shop’s in­ter­na­tional ser­vice cen­tre has more in com­mon with a hip Sil­i­con Val­ley head­quar­ters than a cu­bi­cle grid of call cen­tre drones.

The Master­ton-based cen­tre has just taken on its 100th worker, mak­ing it one of the town’s big­gest em­ploy­ers. Judg­ing by the num­ber of peo­ple that hang around, it seemed to be a pretty good place to work.

With a loose lay­out of sta­tions in a colour­fully dec­o­rated open plan of­fice space, all the staff are ca­su­ally at­tired as they chat to cus­tomers on phones or take a break over a - very good - cof­fee.

Tak­ing pride of place near the en­trance is a wall of hon­our, show­ing off a host of the cus­tomer ser­vice and in­no­va­tion gongs that the com­pany has racked up over its short life.

It also has one of the low­est rates of staff turnover, or ‘‘churn’’ as its known in the in­dus­try, which means their well-trained staff are stay­ing put.

As an on­line elec­tric­ity re­tailer Pow­er­shop is a sub­sidiary of Merid­ian En­ergy and has amassed 180,000 cus­tomers in New Zealand and Aus­tralia.They also have a cor­po­rate branch in the UK.

Es­chew­ing the cook­iecut­ter off-shore call cen­tre model cho­sen by many large cor­po­rates, the com­pany has opted to set it­self apart by giv­ing cus­tomers a lo­cal on the end of the line who un­der­stands what they want.

Con­tact cen­tre man­ager Sean Richards said in con­trast to the drift of the labour force to the ci­ties, Pow­er­shop is at­tract­ing tal­ent from the main cen­tres to come and work in the prov­inces.

‘‘We now at­tract­ing peo­ple from Auck­land be­cause we’re pro­mot­ing ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple that would nor­mally work in the city,’’ he said.

Joe Satchell of Folke­stone, Eng­land came to Wairarapa for rugby and a steady job.

‘‘I came over here in 2016 fol- low­ing a few other English boys. I had mates who were work­ing here and now work for Pow­er­shop UK. The en­vi­ron­ment here is what makes the cus­tomer ser­vice so good. There is a lot of vari­a­tion in what we do,’’ he said.

The ser­vice cen­tre has been grow­ing at 20-25 per cent a year and man­age­ment ex­pects another big bump in their cus­tomer base when Pow­er­shop starts sell­ing gas in Aus­tralia in the next year.

Head of re­tail op­er­a­tions Stephen Grif­fin said be­ing Wairarapa’s lo­cal power com­pany and sup­port­ing the com­mu­nity was vi­tal.


Call cen­tre staff mem­ber Joe Satchell at his sta­tion.

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