Australian businesses attempting to contact corporate regulator ASIC are spending an average of 8.5 minutes on hold despite it having doubled its call centre headcount in the past year.
ASIC call volumes grew from 650,000 in May 2011-12 to more than 1.1 million calls since May 2012, when it combined 8 separate state and territory business name registers into a national database.
Website issues wrecked havoc on ASIC’s call centre initially, with so many businesses calling for help that callers were turned away by a recorded message that said only to call back later.
“After Business Names Online commenced, the volume of calls almost doubled and the average wait time increased to an average of 13 minutes over the past 12 months,” an ASIC spokesperson told Business Insider, noting that callers waited an average of 40 seconds prior to May 2012.
“On a few occasions the wait time exceeded 30 minutes. This has now improved to a current average wait time of just over 8 minutes.”
According to shadow minister for small businesses Bruce Billson, some businesses were forced to wait on hold for more than 45 minutes while others were taking two months to complete tasks that previously took minutes.
ASIC’s spokesperson said it did not expect call rates to fall significantly below current figures, because ASIC’s registry business had effectively doubled in size to 1.7 million names since the online register was launched.
ASIC will continue to support its call centre with a two-year, $7.8 million budget allocation from the Federal Budget last month
ASIC reported last week that it had facilitated the online registration of over 260,000 new business names, 120,000 updates to the register, more than 14 million business name searches and issued close to 500,000 business name renewals since May 2012.
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