Spark has repurposed 39 retail stores to act as no-contact emergency distribution centres for essential hardware during New Zealand’s Covid-19 lock-down.
The centres will be up and running from 27 March, the company said.
As a "lifeline utility", Spark will continue to provide essential services to its customers during all alert levels. The emergency distribution centres ensure that in the event of a hardware fault, no existing Spark customer is completely cut off from essential communication services such as phone or broadband during the lock-down.
The emergency distribution centres will remain closed to foot traffic, and will only provide essential services to existing customers with pre-booked appointments.
The centres will operate for a short window of time, seven days a week and with security cameras operating outside the front of every store.
Essential services include SIM swaps, new or replacement handsets and modems.
Customers experiencing an essential service fault or issue can contact Spark’s contact centre to lodge the hardware fault or request.
The request is then routed to the customer’s closest distribution site.
The team member working in that site will then contact the customer to confirm and provision the order and schedule a designated pick-up time.
The customer can pay for the service then or over the phone or online.
When the customer then visits the store they should hold a photo ID up to the window for the Spark team member to check. The team member would then leave the product in a bag outside the door for the customer.
“We believe this approach protects our people and allows us to fulfil our obligations as an essential service for our customers while also upholding the government’s alert level 4 protocols," said Spark customer director, Grant McBeath.
"Our aim is to ensure our customers remain connected to family and friends, and able to work from home, at a time when this is so critical."
Spark is also creating a hotline that customers will be able to contact for help with queries that would usually require an in-store visit.