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Supporting our customers through COVID-19

VODAFONE NZ RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

 

At Vodafone NZ we are committed to following Covid-19 guidelines and continue to prioritise the health and safety of our employees, customers and New Zealanders.

Please see below for answers to our frequently asked questions around Vodafone NZ’s response to the Covid-19 situation in New Zealand.

 

What is Vodafone NZ doing to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in New Zealand?

We follow or exceed all NZ Ministry of Health guidelines and have been communicating regularly with our staff, contractors and suppliers regarding travel restrictions and to ensure we adhere to the Covid-19 restrictions as mandated by the NZ Government. During Alert Level 3 & 4, almost all of our people in New Zealand are working from home.

 

What about those that can’t work from home? 

The vast majority of our staff can work from home and are equipped with devices such as smart phones and laptops with SIM cards so they can do their work remotely. 

There are a handful of essential workers that need to come into our office locations to perform their job (e.g. network engineers) but these people are spread between our office locations, are practicing physical distancing at all times and are taking all precautions possible to protect themselves and others.  

 

How are you monitoring the health and wellbeing of your staff while they are working from home? 

Every day our people are sent a notification to access our custom-built Vlife application and answer four short questions about where they are working, their health and the health of those they are living with. These responses are monitored and any issues are followed up on by our Health, Safety and Wellbeing team.  All Vodafone NZ staff and their families have free access to our EAP service at Benestar. 

Team leaders are also in regular contact with their staff, ensuring they have all the support they need during shifting levels of lockdown.

 

Can I visit a Vodafone NZ office?

No visitors are allowed at Vodafone offices at this time. We encourage the use of digital communication methods where possible.

What about your retail stores? Are they open?

Some of our stores are operating as Essential Connectivity Hubs. See our store locator page for details. You can visit these stores by appointment only and can book an appointment on the Essential Connectivity Hub booking page. Many supermarkets, service stations and dairies sell Vodafone Prepay SIMs and top-ups if you need them.

The safety of our customers and our staff is our main priority, so let’s all work together keep our social distancing and keep each other safe.

 

What are your processes if one of your staff contracts or comes into contact with Covid-19?

Our communications to our staff have been to follow the Ministry of Health guidelines should they feel ill and have symptoms of Covid-19. This means:

  • immediately self-isolating at home
  • calling Healthline’s dedicated Covid-19 number on 0800 358 5453 or their GP to assess if they need to be tested. If recommended to do so we ask that they get tested as soon as possible.

We also ask that they contact our Health, Safety and Wellbeing team to inform them. The team will contact any other affected parties and ask those people to immediately self-isolate. Any Vodafone NZ locations the employee has worked in over the previous two weeks will also be isolated and deep-cleaned.

 

How are you communicating with your staff, suppliers, contractors, and customers throughout the levels of Covid-19?

We are communicating regularly with our staff through email updates, app notifications and through a dedicated Sharepoint site created to host up-to-date information.

We have communicated our policies with all our suppliers, contractors and third-party vendors and remain in close contact throughout each change.

We regularly post news and information about how we are responding to the Covid-19 situation on our website and news page here: https://news.vodafone.co.nz/.

For our enterprise customers our Account Managers are available via phone and video conferencing for any questions or issues.

For the most up-to-date information on how to contact us see www.vodafone.co.nz/contact.

 

How are you prioritising urgent requests from the Government and key customers for service or resources?

Throughout Covid-19 alert level 4 we receive a high number of requests from customers for extended services and therefore have to prioritise these requests. This may mean a delay to some active projects and requests as we aim to first and foremost assist the Government with a national response to Covid-19 where needed.  

Our whole industry has been asked to support this approach, and is working together to ensure resources are allocated to customers and activities with the highest need. We will continue to work collaboratively and share resources as an industry to ensure ongoing network resilience and connectivity for New Zealand 

We would like to help all our customers but we need to prioritise work that will make the most difference to New Zealanders at this time. Therefore, our current prioritisation is as follows:  

  1. Government agencies and other customers who provide healthcare services (e.g. Ministry of Health, District Health Boards or primary healthcare workers) or adjacent services such as welfare or welfare enabling service (for projects directly related to Covid-19) 
  1. Emergency services: Police, Ambulance, Fire (only for projects directly related to Covid-19) 
  1. Key lifeline infrastructure (only for projects that are directly connected to Covid-19 response) 
  1. Other customers (related to Covid-19 response) 
  1. Non-Covid-19 related projects 

All customer requests received by Account Managers will be assessed against this prioritisation and responded to accordingly.  

We have in place a TRT (Technology Response Team) which is activated immediately in the event of major incidents such as responding urgently to emergency services requests and we will always prioritise any Government direction made under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act (CDEM) and national CDEM plan. We have also engaged with Civil Defence for collaboration as required, for example escorted access to sites locked down. 

 

What about your call centres? How are they being managed throughout the levels?

Throughout the Covid-19 period, our call centres are dealing with higher call volumes than usual. We therefore ask our customers to use digital customer service methods wherever possible to reduce the reliance on call centre staff.

Digital ways to contact us include: My Vodafone app, online chatbot Hana, website help and our online shop.

Our social media care team is available between 8am-9pm every day, on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

 

How can Vodafone help me during Covid19?

Vodafone is here to help you during this time and can offer ‘hardship relief' to customers that are also recipients of hardship assistance from WINZ related to Covid-19 or wage subsidy relating to COVID-19.

Please complete the below application for us to review your case and we will be in touch with you in the next 2 business days.

Consumer customer - https://www.vodafone.co.nz/hardship/

Business customer -  https://www.vodafone.co.nz/business/hardship/

 

How have your networks managed throughout Covid-19?

We've come to expect data and voice increases whenever New Zealand shifts alert levels, with our networks holding up well. We added extra capacity to our fixed, broadband and mobile networks to cope with the extra demand as people use our networks throughout lockdown.

Our networks infrastructure is closely managed, health checked and monitored 24/7. Security of data, platforms and infrastructure has been adapted to mitigate typical risks associated with mass scale remote working, for both Vodafone and customer teams.

 

What about your supply chain and stock levels of devices and SIMs etc.? As more of your customers are equipping their people to work from home are you able to keep up with the supply?

We are closely monitoring supply levels, maintaining good relationships with our vendors and suppliers, and working dynamically to mitigate any supply delays that emerge.

We are keeping track of hardware, spares, mobile devices and SIM card supply levels, forecasts have been increased and extended and we are actively managing any constrained stock lines.

We have provided priority access SIM cards to Emergency Services, a mobile device and SIM card distribution Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is in place and regularly tested.

We are working closely with Vodafone Global Procurement Company (VPC) who consolidate all Vodafone global requirements and stock levels. We also have an agreement with other telecommunications operators in New Zealand to share resources for critical emergencies if required.

 

What about the contractors you rely on for network support? Have you checked their BCPs and are you confident they can continue to support Vodafone with its network service?

Absolutely. We have reviewed the BCPs of all our major contractors and we are satisfied that they can continue to support Vodafone’s network service with adherence to the Covid-19 Alert Level restrictions. We continue to maintain close contact with these contractors and have contingency plans in place should we discover any issues.

 

How can I ensure I have thought of the correct things when it comes to my business’ BCP?

We have provided our business customers with a Business Continuity Checklist for reference when creating their own BCP and encourage them to get in touch if we can be of assistance.

 

COVID-19 Phone App compatibility.

The NZ COVID Tracer App is supported on phones with Android OS 6 (codename Marshmallow) and later versions of Android. The App is also supported on iPhone models that use iOS 10 and newer versions of iOS.
If you need a phone that runs a compatible Operating System, then we can help. First - check whether you can upgrade your phone to use a newer version of your Operating System.

All of the iPhone models that we sell are compatible with the NZ COVID Tracer App.

All Android based phones we sell, that use the full Android OS, are also compatible with the NZ COVID Tracer App.

 

Are you mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for Vodafone staff?

While it is not compulsory, we strongly encourage employee vaccination. We care deeply about the safety of our people and of our customers so we are hugely supportive of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and will do all we can to encourage our employees to be vaccinated.

This includes giving people half a day off paid to receive their vaccinations and also includes us applying to be a registered company who can administer vaccinations for their employees and whanau onsite, which, if accepted, will give our people a highly convenient vaccination option.

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