PNG Power Lae staff have been challenged to deliver a high standard of customer service in the industrial hub of the country.

Boasting the second largest consumer base of the PPL, Lae city has recently seen an increase in the demand for electricity prompted by a booming mining sector and industries catching a fair share from the LNG project.

Lae being the biggest centre on the Ramu grid consumes about 40 MW with a customer base of 15000 plus.

The onus is now on the customer service team to work hard and deliver a good service to the consumers of Lae.

Director Marketing and Strategy Lawrence Solomon during the occasion urged on the staff to lead in the change in the way PPL operates.

“This centre should make a difference in the way we deal with customers.

“Customers are human beings and some of us we don’t treat them as human beings because we think that it’s just somebody on the other line,” said Mr Solomon.

He stressed that in such a business, customers must be treated like your best friends adding that the company must be prepared to take up the challenge to improve the way it deals with customers.

If this is not done, things will never improve in the way we deal with customers, said Mr. Solomon.

“There some things we cannot control. Some things are management issues which we will address that affects how we deal with the customers.

“There are a whole lot of things which we are not doing very well but we have to address that. The customer is number one and I’ve always said that without a customer, you have no job thus it is very important that we look after our customers,” he said.

Recently the company has advertised for a new power station in Lae as there is a need to improver reliability to the power supply and supplement the supply from the Ramu Grid.

Mr. Solomon said that when the generation capability of Lae and the Ramu system improve, everyone in PNG Power Lae have a responsibility to make a difference in improving the way they deal with customers.

“I expect those that mann this 24 Hour Call Centre to address customer issues within a short period of time.

“At the Port Moresby 24 Hour Call Centre, we have been able to reduce the time it takes to solve a customer’s power supply in a short period of time and I will challenge Lae to achieve that,” he said.

General Manager Operating and Maintenance John Tangit also reiterated the same message adding that first and foremost, PPL staff must know that our customers are our boss as they are the people who employ us and give us the business.

He said that we need to identify and anticipate their needs as well and make sure customers are important and appreciated.

Mr. Tangit also threw out a challenge to the regional management team to start training people to make sure they understand our systems so we can explain well to our customers.

“If a customer calls and asks about low voltage, we can be able to say you check this and that to eliminate the possibles and probables and then giving the customer a satisfactory assistance. This can help customers understand our system,” he said.

We must appreciate the power of saying yes and must know how to apologise if we made the mistake and didn’t tell the customer well, Mr. Tangit said.

“We become stronger and better if we do this because the future of the company lies in a happy customer,” he said.

He added that all employees have to be treated with respect so that they will have a high regard of the company and bring out the best in them.

Momase and Highlands Regional Manager Martin Bigiglen in response said that the Lae and the New Guinea mainland team will deliver their missions with the right resources.

He thanked the management for the vision in opening up the 24 Hour Call Centres as it greatly assists the work of the company with regards to its responses to customers.

“For the Lae team, this is a challenge for us and I know we can do it,’ he said.

Mr Bigiglen said that PPL has improved with reliability in Lae and the opening of the new call centre will see the trend of complaints being reduced.

The Lae 24 Hour Call Centre heralds a new beginning for customer service in the industrial hub of the country.

The project itself was led by Marketing and Sales Manager Togaro Asiba and Mr. Bigiglen and saw construction to the building begin early 2012.

Plans are in place for another 24 Hour Call Centre to be opening in East New Britain that will handle customer queries from the Kokopo and Rabaul consumers.