No one deserves a serve was the tagline of a national campaign to stop the abuse and violence towards retail and fast food workers by customers. But the same counts for customer service staff in every industry and sector, including local government.
The plea for people to treat customer service staff in a respectful manner comes after council’s front counters copped the brunt of people’s anger about a recent increase in water access charges.
Central Highlands Regional Council CEO Scott Mason said aggressive behaviour towards customer service staff is unacceptable.
‘It’s been reported that, after water notices were sent out last Friday our offices received phone calls by customers disgruntled about their water notice,’ he said.
‘While people have a right to be disgruntled and complain, aggressive behaviour, yelling and blaming customer service staff is neither acceptable, nor will it lead to an effective solution of complaints.
‘Our front counter staff are local people, they strive to provide the best service they can and be a conduit between the organisation for feedback and service delivery – but they are not personally responsible for council’s decisions and actions and should be treated accordingly.’
Mr Mason said the change to separate the water charges from rates charges means that people have paid a little more attention to their water charge and, unfortunately, a printing error on the new water notices didn’t help the cause.
‘But, the actual amounts stated on all notices are correct and separate notices are common practice around Australia,’ he said.
‘The water access charge has increased by 32 percent from $416 to $550 per year and water consumption charges increased by 1.9%.
‘Your water bill funds the cost of water supply to households and businesses.
‘The increase is an adjustment to recover costs previously subsidised by general rates revenue.
‘I ask people to carefully read all paperwork included in their rates and water notices and use council’s website for more information – then follow the complaints process to lodge an informed complaint.
‘If you wish to speak about your water and rates notice in detail, please contact council and ask to speak with a senior officer.
‘Our customer service staff don’t deserve a serve.’