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Collaborating to fix water issues

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11 October 2021

Thousands of residents report water reticulation problems in Christchurch each month and prioritising the fixes is a continuous exemplar of collaboration between the council and Citycare Water.

So what happens when a customer reports a water problem?

Tayla Perfect, Team Leader Customer Services for the Christchurch City Council, says service requests can be received through phone, emails, social media and face-to-face at council customer service hubs.

There’s even a phone app called Snap Send Solve which allows people to take a photo of an issue and report it via email when they are out and about.

The customer service team asks residents questions such as how serious the leak is and if there are any health and safety issues.

This information allows the jobs to be triaged, just like in the medical emergency department at a hospital, with issues labelled normal, urgent, or immediate and then logged in the council’s request a service system, Tayla says.

Empathy and problem-solving skills are a pre-requisite for the team members, who often are assisting stressed and worried residents, Tayla says.

“It’s important for the team to give a sense of assurance and to have clear communications with the customer,” Tayla says.

A job reference ticket is generated by the system and the information is shared with the Citycare Water.

Through the service level agreement with Citycare Water, the customer information determines the timeframe for the problem to be fixed.

“Citycare Water consistently achieves near to 100% of our targeted timeframes for Christchurch City Council and we are very proud of our team’s performance to help residents as efficiently as we can,” Operations Manager Alan Gramstrup says.

The council team also deals with enquiries about dogs barking, potholes, litter, rates, consents and licensing.

Part two of the story of what happens when residents report a water problem is here.

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