Drew Douglas and Zoe van der Valk.
13 May 2020 – We spoke to two of our wonderful Customer Engagement Consultants, Zoe van der Valk and Drew Douglas, about their experience of continuing to deliver top-notch service to Mercury customers, during a time of great uncertainty for New Zealanders.
The unusual countereffect of New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown forcing us apart, yet bringing us together, echoes the experience of our Customer Engagement Consultants who are working hard to maintain service levels from their home environments.
“Initially, it was a huge adjustment to go from being physically present with my colleagues to only digitally present from my home office set-up,” says Zoe. “Without someone next to me to turn to if I need support over a customer enquiry, I’ve been forced to become more self-reliant. I am learning to back myself more which has boosted my confidence and helped my professional development,” says Zoe, still in her first year at Mercury.
Drew and Zoe have noticed an increase in calls during lockdown, with a different focus showing through as customers deal with the effects of Covid-19.
“In particular, I’ve had more conversations with our older and more vulnerable customers since lockdown,” says Zoe. “They have understandably been stressed about the situation and what it would mean for them, so seek reassurance that at least their electricity supply could carry on as normal at a time when most things in our day-to-day lives are being turned upside-down,” says Zoe.
“A lot of older customers prefer to pay in person, and we were able to give them reassurance that they could keep up-to-date with payments, even without access to pay in-person options. An upside is that it’s given us a great opportunity to educate customers around self-service payment options, including automatic payments, direct debits and online banking,” says Drew.
Conversations have refocused during the Covid-19 era, as customers may be grappling with what it means for their personal financial situation or even dealing with a job loss.
“Conversations have been a little different because people are worried about the bigger financial picture,” Drew says, “but it’s great to be able to refocus customers on something we can give them reassurance around – their energy supply. It’s also been really rewarding to support customers who have lost their jobs as a result of the lockdown. We can talk through a payment plan with them, so they can keep on top of their energy bill,” says Drew.
“Ultimately, working through a time as unique as the Covid-19 lockdown has seen us really focus on each customer as an individual. Being on the frontline has been eye-opening as to how many people out there are stressed and scared. It’s been an opportunity to connect with customers on that deeper level, and give them a little extra time and care,” says Zoe.
“Our focus remains on maintaining the quality of our calls and supporting our customers as best we can during the lockdown. It’s a privilege to be on Mercury’s frontline, and I find it really motivating to be helping our customers through such a difficult time as Covid-19,” says Drew.
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Mercury’s mission is energy freedom. Our purpose is to inspire New Zealanders to enjoy energy in more wonderful ways and our goal is to be New Zealand’s leading energy brand. We focus on our customers, our people, our partners and our country; maintain a long term view of sustainability; and promote wonderful choices. Mercury is energy made wonderful.