BT have announced that as part of a rationalisation of their call centres their facility in Chiswick is to close. The centre employs 35 people but there will be no compulsory redundancies. Most of the functions that this centre carried out are being moved to a more modern facility in Croydon. The plan will result in the reduction of 2,200 full-time equivalent posts at BT by 31 March 2004.

Currently, there are more than 400 BT people employed in eight sites in the London area, with 35 in Chiswick. The closures will not be immediate with the transfer to Croydon to be completed in over the next two years with many staff expected to relocate.

The new multi-function centres will cover a range of services for residential and small business customers.


BT to modernise call centres

Patricia Vaz, BT Retail's Managing Director of Customer Service, said: "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."

Although just over 50% of existing call centre sites will close within two years, the proportional impact on job numbers will be significantly less.

Carol Borghesi, who is directing the call centre reorganisation said that BT will be spending £100 million on training and technology to improve the quality of customer service at call centres. She claimed that over the last 18 months there had been a 50% reduction in abandoned calls and a 10% improvement in the number of calls answered promptly but to continue this rate of improvement a reappraisal of call centre operations was necessary.

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