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BT to add 500 jobs to meet customer service targets…

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British Telecom (BT) has declared it will add a further 500 frontline customer service positions to its
bases across the UK and Ireland.

Due to the continuing growth of the company’s BT Consumer division, contact centres in Doncaster,
Accrington, Swansea and Warrington are expected to benefit the most, and the new roles are in addition to the previously-announced target of 1,000 UK and Ireland customer service jobs by the end of March 2017.

Expanding the customer service teams will also help with BT’s commitment to answer 90 per cent of its customers’ calls in the UK and Ireland by the same date.

Libby Barr, managing director of customer care at BT Consumer, said: “We are proud to be creating these new jobs in the UK and Ireland. BT is completely changing the way we serve our customers in order to boost our service levels.

“We are going to answer 90 per cent of our customers’ calls in the UK and Ireland by the end of March, and we have been taking on great people to fill full time jobs working for BT. In fact, we will be recruiting for an extra 500 positons, which will be a dramatic increase in what we said we’d do.”

BT’s existing employees can earn a £500 bonus under a ‘Refer a Friend’ scheme if their friend’s application is successful and they complete the first six months of the role.

Manpower agency staff will also have the chance to convert their role into a permanent position with BT.

Register now for Customer Service of the Year…

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Customer Service of the Year is now open for 2018 entries! Head over to to see what the awards can offer you, including a detailed research report, personalised debriefs, and a true understanding of how your customers really feel about you. Plus, there’s an exclusive discount for Call Centre & Customer Service Summit attendees.


Contact Bob ( and quote code CCS!

Noble’s RTSA endorsed by permanent tsb to improve contact centre performance…

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Noble Systems’ Real-Time Speech Analytics (RTSA) has been adopted by the Irish banking chain, permanent tsb, in a bid to enhance all contact centre controls and further improve its customer service offering.

Noble’s Composer RTSA claims to ‘listen’ to all agent interactions and assigns an individual virtual coaching partner to provide agent feedback when needed.

Using a library of ‘user-defined phrases’, the system monitors all calls and triggers an alert when a phrase is detected or not detected on both sides of the conversation, based on the conditions defined for the campaign.

Alerts can be sent to managers via the Noble Harmony web manager interface, as well as agents using the Noble Composer agent desktop.

Alan Murphy, head of Collections at permanent tsb said: “At permanent tsb, we take customer service very seriously and we have invested heavily in technology that will support our agents to provide exceptional service and support to our clients.

“One of the key reasons we purchased Composer RTSA from Noble Systems was to complement our existing Noble technology, allowing us to identify areas of the scripted conversation not going to plan for our agents  and to proactively notify them during the call. With Composer RTSA, we can listen out for key phrases to ensure that 100 per cent of calls are in compliance and that any customer or agent issues are flagged in real time, rather than after the event”.

Colin Chave, general manager at Noble Systems EMEA added: “We are delighted that permanent tsb have invested in Composer RTSA, and we are looking forward to seeing them quickly realise their return on investment and at the same time improve their customer journey and increase agent satisfaction.

Learn more about Composer RTSA here

Senior business leaders holding back on adopting new technology…

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New research carried out by 8×8 and the Institute of Directors (IoD) has exposed a rift between attitudes of company directors and IT managers when it comes to embracing new technology.

Comparing the views of mid-level ‘hands-on’ IT managers with senior directors across more than 260 UK businesses, the research found 45 per cent of IT managers say their senior business leaders are holding back technology for reasons of ‘self-preservation’, whereby they are reluctant to embrace new techology that will disrupt their own position within their organisations.

In addition, IT managers were found to be far less optimistic than senior directors when asked if their organisation makes full use of the latest technology, with just 34 per cent believing they do, compared with 49 per cent of C-suite respondents.

Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK managing director at 8×8 said: “We frequently hear anecdotal evidence that IT managers face significant opposition from senior leaders when it comes to adopting new technologies such as cloud communications – this research suggests this is something which is widely felt.”

62 per cent of IT managers say UK businesses are too wary when it comes to adopting new technology, such as cloud communications, and only 56 per cent believe senior members invest sufficient resources to stay up-to-date with the latest technology.

An insufficient budget is also a significant factor felt by IT managers when it comes to new technology implementation (35 per cent), compared to just 20 per cent of senior business leaders.

Scott-Cowell added: “Certainly, many senior leaders fear replacing expensive legacy IT systems that they have invested in. Their reluctance to do so in order to preserve the status quo can be damaging to businesses who are losing out on the many benefits to staff productivity and, ultimately, the potential for business growth.”

To read the full report, click here

BA to ‘outsource more than 1,000 UK call centre jobs’…

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A spokesman for British Airways (BA) has confirmed that the airline is considering outsourcing its UK contact centre operations in a bid to reduce costs at its Manchester and Newcastle sites.

Branded “a slap in the face” to its employees by the trade union, Unite, BA – owned by International Airlines Group – has reportedly already asked outsourcing firms to assess the two call centre sites and bid for the jobs. Third-party firms have also been approached to submit proposals for potential cost-effective solutions to implement. 

It is thought that a downturn in the aviation industry has prompted BA to make these cuts to compete with the popularity of low-cost airlines.

Consultation with union representatives and staff members will take place before a final decision is made, and the BA spokesman claims that outsourcing these jobs would enable the use of the latest technology to further improve customer service.

Oliver Richardson, Unite national officer, said in a statement published on the union’s website: “This review is nothing short of a slap in the face for hardworking staff who have constantly adapted to changing markets, while continuing to deliver the highest level of customer service.

“A cloud of uncertainty now hangs over the heads of workers who fear that their jobs will be outsourced or offshored as a result of this exercise. Such a scenario would lead to poorer customer service and a more fragmented experience for passengers. 

“We urge IAG to resist the temptation to engage in a crude cost cutting exercise and repay its loyal workforce by keeping the customer service operations of our national carrier in–house.” 

GRS predicts five ‘rapid’ trends for call centres in 2017…

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Global Remote Services (GRS) has come up with five trends set to transform the call centre industry next year with the assistance of industry analyst Peter Ryan.

Acknowledging that Brexit and continued digitalisation will potentially bring many new opportunities to the sector, both parties claim:

  1. Self-serve will grow with chatbots, apps and mobile: By 2020, Gartner predicts customers will manage 85 per cent of the relationship without any human interaction. The rise of mobile, apps and chatbots will revolutionise how organisations communicate with customers. Companies need to be clever to capture customers browsing the web on their mobile phones.
  2. Data security will become a top priority: Contact centres and outsourcers will have a strong focus on preventing security breaches and data theft and ensuring safe and easy to use payment options.
  3. Location and languages spoken will become less important: Where your outsourcer or contact centre is based will become less important as a new business model around automation changes established concepts of nearshoring and offshoring.
  4. CEE Region will provide huge opportunity for UK companies: Post-Brexit is providing additional opportunities for outsourcing to Central and Eastern Europe as UK companies look for additional skills. T.Kearney Global Services Index 2016 found Romania and Poland increasing as top outsourcing destinations based on financial attractiveness, people skills and availability and business environment.
  5. Digital will take over from traditional voice: Millennials prefer digital interaction. Call centres will need to leverage more channels such as email, livechat and social media to service broader customer bases. According to the 2016 Global Contact Centre report, contact centres expect to be managing nine different channels within the next 12 months.

For more information about GRS, click here

RSVP launches ‘Artists’ division at new Manchester site…

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The outsourced call centre company RSVP has introduced its in-house actors agency, RSVP Artists, to the recently opened MediaCityUK site in Manchester.

The company, which has been employing actors for the past 28 years at its London office, has extended the existing agency to its newly-appointed Manchester workforce that opened its doors in October.

RSVP Artists will offer a wide range of talent including actors, singers and dancers. Those currently on the books include recent drama school graduates, to seasoned professionals with prior experience working in TV, film and radio. The company predicts it will represent 150 creatives in Manchester alone within the next year.

Hiten Patel, director at RSVP Manchester, said: “We’re thrilled to be launching RSVP Artists here in Manchester. As a company run by actors for actors, it makes perfect sense to offer our employees an in-house agency.

“Auditions and castings take place daily here in Media City, so we are perfectly located. I still maintain that we are the only company in the UK actively trying to find our staff work that takes them away from us!”

Once staff members successfully complete an induction at RSVP Manchester, they are given access to representation at RSVP Artists and will be represented in exactly the same way as any other commercial agency. The division fully supports all employees at every stage of their career development and provides additional benefits including reduced headshot costs, free rehearsal spaces, as well as discounted beauty and hairdressing treatments.

Commenting on RSVP’s North West expansion, Mark Abernethy, managing director, said: “MediaCityUK is such a great place for us to be situated in the North. It’s a vibrant and creative environment and it suits us perfectly to be so close to The Lowry Theatre, BBC North, ITV Studios and the Coronation Street set.

“It will be great to have so many casting directors close by and they in turn will have easy access to a pool of actors, should they need to fill last minute castings. This is the perfect location for our actor agents, and also for our business growth.” 

Banking and financial services top UK customer satisfaction league…

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The banking and financial services sectors have the best levels of customer service satisfaction in the UK, according to statistics from Bright’s first ever ‘Industry Satisfaction Survey’ as part of its latest Customer Experience Report.

Based on insights gathered from more than 1.5 million post-transaction surveys in 2016, the fourth annual report considered key elements of the customer journey to make its final conclusions, including: call handler knowledge, average response time, query resolution, agent handling skill, and customer after care.

Banking was rated as best sector in the UK when it came to general customer satisfaction with 91 per cent stating they are happy with the level of service they receive; closely followed by the financial services sector at 89 per cent.

Mats Rennstam, managing director at Bright UK said: “Only a few years ago, the findings of this research would have been unthinkable. It has taken a huge amount of effort for the banking and financial services industries to turn the tide of public opinion that was so viciverous in its criticism post-2007.

“However, with the links between quality customer service and profits becoming increasingly clear, both sectors have done much to convince customers that they not only understand and care about them, but are actually doing something about it.”

Besides financial, the utility sector was rated third when it came to general customer satisfaction (87 per cent). Retail and media followed with 86 per cent and 81 per cent respectively, as well as housing (77 per cent), transport and travel (72 per cent) and the public sector coming in last with 71 per cent.

Rennstam added: “There is no silver bullet solution for achieving a world-class customer experience. However, there are things that can be done in customer service departments that do not require a lot of time or monetary investment.

“The fact is that today, most customer feedback is available verbatim via voice of the customer recordings that are fed back to staff and managers, which is having a much greater impact than traditional stats and charts, if analysed and monitored in the right way.”


Download a copy of the report here

Looking for a new call centre event to attend? You need the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit…

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With the next Call Centre & Customer Services Summit taking place on April 24 & 25 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, we thought we’d give you a few reasons to book your place at the event nice and early.

Put simply, if you’re looking for a new and informative call centre and customer service focused industry event, you’ve found it.

First and foremost, the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit provides a platform for highly-targeted one-to-one meetings between industry professionals and trusted suppliers. But it also comes with a full programme of educational seminars, allowing all attendees to increase their industry knowledge and develop their skill sets while on site…

Plus, there’s full hospitality throughout, including lunches, drinks reception and an evening gala dinner, offering copious networking opportunities to build new business relationships.

But we think the enduring success of the event is best summed up by visitors who have attended previously:

“We found the Summit to be an excellent investment of our time; a pleasant and productive way to meet new customers.”

Netcall Telecom Ltd

“Fantastic event! Well organised; definitely will attend future ones.”


“Excellent Summit with genuine buyers and senior people seeing what is new for forthcoming projects; no time wasters.”


“Fully packed event with lots of food for thought. Well organised and facilitated; great event to make new connections.”

Boots UK Ltd

“Another great bunch of interested, potential customers, ready for follow-up meetings.”

Premier CX

So there you have it. More bespoke than a conference and more focused than an expo, the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit is the only event you need to attend in 2017.

The next Call Centre & Customer Services Summit takes place on April 24 & 25, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted.

For more information or to book your place, call Gayle Buckland on 01992 374063 or email

Alternatively, visit

Online billing making customers ‘disengaged’ with service providers…

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New consumer research has revealed that one in three customers are ‘disengaged’ with businesses due to the growing use of online billing.

Surveying 1,000 UK households, Echo Managed Services suggests online billing is potentially placing businesses and service providers at risk of losing touch with their customers. The outsourced centre does acknowledge the benefits to online billing, with 70 per cent of respondents preferring digital communication, and a third stating that online is the only method they use to receive bills. However, its increased prevalence has made some people ‘detached’ from what they are paying for everyday services…

  • 27 per cent of customers claim bills are the only method of communication they have with their service provider;
  • More than one in 10 state that online billing has made them less aware of what they pay each billing period;
  • 17 per cent only notice the bill amount if it is higher than they had expected;
  • Only one third of those surveyed said they read every bill in full.

Nigel Baker, managing director at Echo Managed Services said: “It’s clear that a large proportion of customers favour online billing, however this mustn’t become a reason for businesses to lose that all-important contact with their customers. As more and more customers switch to online billing, service providers must find opportunities to engage with them so that they’re not at risk of becoming invisible.”

Furthermore, the research also found that not everyone is happy with the level of communication they receive from their service providers:

  • 27 per cent would like to receive pre bill alerts to warn them of higher than usual bills;
  • One in 10 would prefer more regular contact;
  • Only nine per cent said they had received such useful alerts from their providers in the past.

Access ‘The Secrets of Better Billing’ here