NBN Co Blog
Mon 24 SEPComment
Behind the scenes: meet NBN Co's national contact centre team
Posted on Monday 24 September 2012 by Dan Warne
NBN Co officially opened our new national contact centre on the Gold Coast on Wednesday. We took a look behind the scenes and met some of the staff who will be taking -- and making -- more than 8,000 calls and emails a month, and more every day.
The contact centre is located in the Queensland suburb of Varsity Lakes and feels nothing like what you'd imagine a call centre to be like. It's bordered by windows that let in plenty of natural light and is surrounded by a beautiful waterfront park.
Contact centre manager Joanne Conway cuts the official NBN Co cake with CEO Mike Quigley officiating.
The local cake place had actually managed to make an ultra-realistic headset out of Bundaberg sugar.
CEO Mike Quigley and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate celebrate the opening of the centre, which has employed 22 people so far and is forecast to eventually house up to 130 people.
Contact centre consultant Adam Brown took the first call when the lines opened. He is a Gold Coast local who plays Rugby League and enjoys a BBQ when not taking calls at NBNCo. After five years with a previous telco call centre, he left to travel around the world visiting USA, Canada, Caribbean and Europe for a year.
When he returned - "about 25kg ago" (his own words!) - he tried his hand at opening a personal training studio which (although fun and rewarding) didn't reach the dizzying heights he'd envisioned.
Now he is part of one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Australia's history, and he says he feels privileged to be able to inform the public about it. "I fully believe the NBN could cement Australia as a leader in the global digital age," he says.
Dan Schy worked in recent years for another telco, until it closed its call centre. Shortly after, he found himself ringing the very contact centre he now works in, to enquire how he could get a job with NBN Co.
"I actually received a visit from Community Account Manager Darren Rudd, who was in the area at the time. He pointed me to this opportunity on the Gold Coast and encouraged me to apply.
Dan worked in telecommunications during the implementation of ADSL2 and saw in the first day of a major 3G network.
One of the memorable experiences of his career to date was being among a small group to receive full technical training on the then "new" iPhone 3G from Apple techs in California.
He says his technical background and knowledge of Australia's fixed line and mobile networks has helped him to quickly understand the inner-workings of the NBN, and he enjoys making this easier for the public to understand too.
"I'm looking forward to people realising the true potential of the technology that is coming to them," he says.
"A lot of people still don't seem to realise that fibre is planned to come to all areas with over 1,000 premises, and that for those that fall outside the fibre footprint, will still be able to access high-speed broadband over fixed wireless and satellite.
"I can't wait until the rollout reaches full speed and people in the fibre footprint start to expect an NBN connection in their home or business as standard.
"Every day, I field calls and enquiries from people who can't access a DSL service because the ports at the exchange are full, they live too far from exchange, they're behind a pair gain system, there are no DSLAMs at their exchange, and so on, and so on.
"Some of these people have never been catered for with adequate broadband connectivity, and under NBN we hope these problems will become a thing of the past."
"To me the job at the contact centre bought a lot of opportunity, and in turn I bought my experience and enthusiasm. It is pretty exciting being a part of a project you believe in, and everyday I seek to understand as much as I can about the technology we are delivering and the business behind it," Dan concluded.
Jason, one of the contact centre consultants, fields a call from a member of the public enquiring about whether their house is in a coverage area. Consultants at the centre have satellite imaging and mapping at their fingertips to help answer questions like these.
"For the most of my career, I've worked in another telco's call centre, doing customer service, IT support off the phones for the call centre, and scheduling/managing call flow and trends," he says.
"The most interesting aspect of working in a centre like this is that every day can be completely different. I like being prepared to assist with anything and everything!
"Being a part of such a major project is really exciting, and being there from the start and helping bring everything together is an amazing feeling," he says.
Kylie King has worked for the last five years in another telco's call centre, working on different areas including management, quality, training, inbound and outbound calls, and her favourite role -- Deployment Support Coordinator. (This role involved working with the company's software systems to make sure they were always available and up-to-date for call centre consultants -- something she describes as a daily challenge!)
"Since day one, I have always wanted to be a part of one of Australia's biggest infrastructure projects in our history," she says.
"I'm looking forward to working in a team environment and being able to help out in any way I can."
Tara O'Toole previously worked in contact centres for a telco in New Zealand and in Brisbane. She says she's excited to be working at NBN Co and to be part of such a large project with the potential to make great changes to the lives of everyone living in Australia.
Wendy Manning has worked for over five years in another telco's call centre, working on quality call monitoring and the resolution team (which handled complaints).
"Even before I applied for the job at NBNCo, I was excited about the whole concept of rolling out national infrastructure to the people of Australia. There is a big demand for this upgrade.
"I am so happy to be part of the NBN project -- to say the least!" she says.
"I have lived on the Gold Coast all my life with my family and would not live anywhere else in the world (except perhaps for Tuscany in Italy!)"
The waterfront park surrounding the call centre makes for a glorious lunch spot for staff.
The NBN Co Contact Centre also has a new easy-to-remember phone number: 1800 OUR NBN (1800 687 626)
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When we talk about speeds delivered over the National Broadband Network, we are referring to the wholesale speed to telephone and internet service providers. The speed you can achieve, and services you can use, on your individual connection will depend on many factors including the services you subscribe to, the software and communication protocols you use, quality of your equipment and connection to your home/business, the broadband plans offered by your telephone or internet provider and how it designs its network to cater for multiple users.
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