Powershop contact centre employs 100
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.