14 Dec 2023

The Christchurch City Council Customer Service Team has been busy this year, helping residents with enquiries ranging from rubbish bins to backyard burials.

Top of the list for garden city residents is the humble wheelie bin.

“People really do love their rubbish: the red, yellow and green bins prompted 41,651 service tickets to be issued in the 2022/23 financial year,” says Head of Citizen and Customer Service, Sarah Numan.

These could be for missed bins, missing bins, refused bins, broken lids or changes of size.

“Wheelie bins are by far our biggest category year-round, and service requests can easily spike when we get extreme weather events such as those we’ve been having lately.”

Water supply was the second most common category with 33,242 service tickets issued, including 21,256 reported water leaks which were either investigated or resolved. Potholes, roads and transport issues were also common areas of concern for residents.

It’s not all rubbish and water pipes, however.

How can we help?

Of the 640,729 interactions with the public, 234,771 resulted in a service ticket – requesting the Council fix something or provide a service.  

  • 39 % were face to face interactions, which includes NZ Post, across 12 Service Hubs
  • 37 % were phone calls
  • 12 % were emails
  • 12 % were from online forms            

“Our team receives a wide variety of enquiries," says Ms Numan. "For instance, a team member took a call from a gentleman recently, who requested a DNA test on a condom he’d found in the street. He wanted to find out who was littering (he had already called the police about it).

"We advised that we couldn’t organise a DNA test but could arrange to have the condom collected as hazardous waste. He replied that he had already removed it from the street and was keeping it as evidence!”

Other unusual enquiries included a hospital employee, who wanted to know whether a patient could bury their amputated limb in their own backyard; and a resident who asked if they could mow their local park because the contractor wasn’t doing it right.

Then there was the time the Customer Services team received a call about a wandering dog – a Jack Russell that had run into Muscle Cars on Moorhouse Avenue. It turned out the dog belonged to another team member at the Contact Centre, who happened to be sitting right next to the call taker! Luckily the colleague who took the call was just ending his shift and went and picked the naughty dog and delivered him home.

The Customer Services team always do their best to try and solve a problem or point the customer in the right direction, and earlier this year were recognised nationally, receiving a Supreme Gold Award (across all sectors) at the CRM/CCNNZ Contact Centre Awards. 

Additionally, for the fourth year in a row, they took out the Industry Sector Awards for Public Services.

“I’m very proud of the Customer Services team, they work incredibly hard to serve our community 365 days of the year," Ms Numan says.