Spark today confirmed that it had repurposed 39 retail stores to act as no-contact emergency distribution centres for essential hardware provision during New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lock-down. The centres will be up and running from tomorrow, Friday March 27.
As a lifeline utility, Spark will continue to provide essential services to its customers during all Alert Levels. These emergency distribution centres ensure that in the event of a hardware fault, no existing Spark customer is completely cut off from essential communication services such as phone or broadband during the lock-down.
Emergency distribution centres will remain closed to foot traffic, and will only provide essential services to existing customers with pre-booked appointments. The centres will operate for a short window of time, 7 days a week and with clearly marked security cameras operating outside the front of every store.
Essential services include the following:
- SIM swap
- Handset – new or replacement
- Broadband modem – new, swap, replace
From Friday, the process for utilising this service is as follows:
- The Spark customer experiencing an essential service fault or issue contacts Spark’s contact centre team on 123 to lodge the hardware fault or request
- This request is then routed to the customer’s closest distribution site.
- The team member working in that site would contact the customer to confirm and provision the order and then schedule a designated pick-up time. The customer would pay for the service at this time over the phone or online.
- The customer would then visit the store at the designated time with photo ID, which would be held up to the window for the Spark team member to check.
- The Spark team member would then leave the product in a bag outside the door for the customer.
Spark Customer Director, Grant McBeath, says that these robust processes have been put in place to protect the health of Spark’s people and customers in unprecedented times.
“We believe this approach protects our people and allows us to fulfil our obligations as an essential service for our customers while also upholding the Government’s Alert Level 4 protocols. Our aim is to ensure our customers remain connected to family and friends, and able to work from home, at a time when this is so critical,” says McBeath.
The number of emergency distribution centres required will be reviewed on an ongoing basis during the four-week period.
Spark is also currently creating a hotline that customers will be able to contact us on, to help with queries that would usually require an in-store visit. This hotline queue will be staffed by our retail team members.
Like its retail stores, Spark Business Hubs are closed to foot traffic for the duration of Alert Level 4, but where possible our teams are working remotely to support our customers. Business customers who need support are advised to call 0800 Business or book a call online.