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Call centre queries leave operators baffled

Posted on Aug 19 2010
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They were on the receiving end of one of the top 10 bizarre calls in the past year, reported by the Local Government Association.
A motorist who thought her car was in a different parking spot when she returned from a shopping trip rang Sutton Council to ask if the car park was haunted, while another resident asked whether he could put a dead fox in his recycling bin.
The fourth most bizarre query nationally, from a Sutton citizen, was: Do you know where I could get an old bath that I could fill with custard?
Council customer service centres handle more than 50 million calls each year, most of which are from people reasonably wanting information about council tax, environmental services or parking.
Others, however, leave advisers scratching their heads. Baroness Eaton, Chairman of the LGA, which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, said: "These examples show just how broad a range of issues council staff deal with each day. "Councils literally have to be ready for anything from the mundane to the mind-boggling. "Councils try to help callers with support and advice as much as they possibly can. While the vast majority of calls fall within the bounds of councils' usual responsibilities, there are occasions when call handlers are left baffled.
"The fact that councils are so often the first port of call for residents who are seeking a solution to their problems shows just how central a role councils play in the lives of their communities."
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