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Better phone service promised

Change to operators means more Inuktitut

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Aug 26/02) - NorthwesTel is changing the way telephone operators provide service for Iqalungmiut.

Because the length of time customers need assistance from operators is quite short, the services -- primarily collect calls and requests for directory assistance -- will now be handled by operators in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The two employees who used to provide these services in Iqaluit will now handle different sorts of calls in the city's call centre.

Essentially, the change is designed to allow NorthwesTel to provide a heightened level of service to customers in Inuktitut.

That's according to Mark Walker, NorthwesTel's vice-president of customer solutions and service in Yellowknife.

"When a call comes into the call centre, it's a more in-depth call and customers need to speak to someone in Inuktitut more," said Walker, Thursday afternoon after the announcement was made.

The decision, which involves no loss of jobs or services and no change in location for the Iqaluit employees, means the workers will now answer questions relating to phone services and billing.

The cost of the change, including changes to equipment that also need to be made, rings in at $750,000.