Rural broadband provider Farmside celebrates positive customer feedback


Farmside general manager Jason Sharp, left, and customer services representative, Samuel Wallace keep an eye on how customer enquiries are progressing. DOUG FIELD/STUFF

Timaru-based rural internet provider Farmside is receiving positive service feedback after adopting a modern method of measuring customer satisfaction.

The Timaru operation employs 47 people who are tasked with engaging 14,000 customers nationwide, while fielding about 10,000 phone calls a month.

Farmside general manager Jason Sharp said the company had subscribed to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) programme about two years ago, joining multiple New Zealand businesses, where customers were asked a single question by a third party provider in an effort to gauge feedback.

Sharp said the Timaru operation's results had spiked in recent months as the business looked to continue improving standards for its customers and its employees.

The question asked was how likely people would recommend Farmside's product and/or service to a friend or colleague.

Passives were not enthusiastic enough to spread the word about the product but they would not likely say anything negative about it, while detractors were those who rated the product from zero to six, who wouldn't exhibit any value behaviours towards the brand.

Sharp said the company had "ramped its figures right up" in recent months and was aiming at 30 minute call backs after results came in.

It was also about looking after staff as the company had recently introduced coaching and developments plans, was providing breakfast for employees, and fruit throughout the day, he said.

"Flexibility is another thing we have looked at and working with our people to allow flexibility in their work and personal lives.

"The big players are all signed up to this system as well as it measures how effectively you are looking after your customers," Sharp said.

"Every month surveys are sent out to customers on behalf of us and we have been noticing some great results recently," he said.

The NPI score measured the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others.

Based on the ratings, the customers were categorised as promoters with a score of nine or 10 - those who were likely to make referrals or bring in potential customers, Sharp said.

Passives gave a seven to eight score, as their behaviour might fall in between promoters or detractors.

"We are seeing in the results that this is not accidental."

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