CEO's report - November, 2021

Posted on : Thursday, 11 November 2021


Dear members,


FPA Australia took steps a few weeks ago to improve customer service. 


Three dedicated staff - one full-time, two part-time - were appointed as our first ever Customer Service Officers (CSO).


The decision to establish this team was a response to valid concerns about the difficulty contacting us and the turn-around time for getting answers to questions. 


This new team is now the first point of contact for callers, answering your questions directly, or referring you to the right people  to get a timely response, ensuring they capture as much information when you call to resolve your enquiry successfully. 


Since their appointments, our CSOs have been in training - learning about our Association, our processes, and our activities - and they are quickly getting to understand the needs of our members and other customers, and how FPA Australia can help. 


It will take a while before they become fully informed about everything we do, but they are enthusiastic and committed to the task. 


Of itself, the Customer Service team can only do so much, so we have been busy planning other initiatives to make everyone's jobs more efficient and improve customer experience.  


Firstly, we are only weeks away from introducing a new Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone system to replace an outdated that fails us regularly. 


This system is an open-platform office phone system that runs on Windows, and which makes it easier for staff to make and receive calls. 


With the Customer Service team in place, calls will be responded to more quickly, and transfers will be easier, reducing the number of times callers end up leaving voice mails. 


In addition, the new system will integrate with our ZenDesk program to allow us to analyse staff responsiveness and keep track of which calls have not been addressed and how long a customer has been waiting. 


The whole organisation has been given clear directions about our expectations, and will soon be trained on the new system, so we hope you are already noticing a difference. 


As our digitisation strategy continues to unfold, it will only get better. 


Secondly, we've been transitioning our systems and database to the cloud to improve data integrity and software reliability , and increase efficiency.  We have already moved some systems and are in the process of moving all, although some systems are more complicated and their transition will need to be planned carefully. 


The move to the cloud and line upgrades, in particular, will speed up the performance of our systems, helping to improve reliability and productivity while reducing system crashes and reboots.


This work began in September with the move to Office 365 and Teams, and most of the staff have managed to adapt quite quickly to the new programs. 


Thirdly, we are currently investigating more reliable methods to facilitate the payment of invoices. 


We recognise the frustration of not being able to pay an invoice at a time of your choosing, and we want to be able to give customers the most flexibility possible. 


Whatever platform we select, we aim to have it in place early next year.  While we work on this, taking your payment at first point of call will still be a priority. 


Finally, we're working on a new website. 


We've had our current gateway for a while now, but it is outdated and has limited functionality.  While it's served us well to date, we feel that it's important to start afresh with a new look, more functional, and more secure site for our visitors. 


This is obviously not a short-term project, and some work has already been done.  But we're revisiting our project plan to ensure that we can deliver a few quick changes early, while continuing to improve the site and its content over the first few months of 2022. 


The team and I recognise that our customer service has not been what we would normally like, and we are committed to make every interaction between members/customers and staff pleasant and helpful. 


The work described above is aimed at improving your experience and our performance and delivering the level of service that should be expected of a membership organisation. 


I will update you from time-to-time on our progress and hope that you notice a change very soon. 


In the meantime, if you are experiencing problems, or would like to let us know how we are going please contact us at


Kind regards,


Leigh Gesthuizen
Interim CEO