BT REACHES DECISION ON
NEXT-GENERATION CONTACT CENTRES
TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER FOCUS
· £100 million to be spent on creating 30 next-generation multi-function customer contact
· Fifty three existing call centres will close within two years but 68% of people will relocate to neighbouring next-generation sites.
· No compulsory redundancy and commitment to find suitable alternative roles for everyone who wants to stay with BT.
· Total net effect on jobs will be a reduction of around 2,200 full-time equivalent posts by 31 March 2004.
· Decision follows extensive review and consultation with unions.
· New spend will focus on people,
technology, training and working environment.
BT today (Wednesday, March 27) announced the shape of its next
generation contact centre operation following an extensive review of its call centres and consultation with the unions.
BT is to spend £100 million on developing a network of 30 next-generation
multi-function contact centres that will better meet the changing demands of its customers.
As a result of an extensive review of call centres that handle the greatest volume of contacts and a month-long
consultation with the unions, BT has decided to:
· create a network of 30 next-generation contact centres, on which it will spend £100m over the next two years;
· close 53 of its existing call centres during the next two years, with the majority of employees relocating to next-generation sites;
· keep open eight existing sites for up to four years before they close to allow the transition to be managed more smoothly for relatively isolated
· retain a further six sites which will be used for other specialist functions, not directly related to next-generation work.
Patricia Vaz, BT Retail’s Managing Director of Customer Service, said:
“We do not underestimate the impact of this transformation project and virtually everyone in our existing call centre operation will be affected in one way or another. However, we are totally committed to manage these changes sensitively and professionally, and in line with specific principles agreed with the unions."
“We value our people very highly and will be giving them all the support we can. We are committed to finding suitable alternative roles for everyone who wants to remain in BT."
“Even though this will mean upheaval for many of our people, it is a step we cannot not shy away from if we are to ensure BT’s call centre operations are kept in-house and are given the capabilities to achieve the twin goals of industry-best customer service and increased efficiency."
“We are absolutely committed to offering the best possible customer experience and ensuring we develop a call centre operation that will be truly world-class and set the standard for others to follow in Europe. This project will deliver just that - using our own people and properly-equipped
Although just over 50% of existing call centre sites will close within two years, the proportional impact on job numbers will be significantly less.
Vaz said:- “In close consultation with the unions, we are exploring every possible avenue to ensure that most people can be relocated to next-generation sites which are within travelling distance. Where that is not possible, we are looking at alternative options across BT Group, including non-call centre work.”
The overall net effect on BT and agency jobs by the end of the two-year project is expected to be a reduction of around 2,200 full-time equivalent posts. This would take the number of full-time equivalent posts in BT Retail’s contact centre operation from 15,800 to around.