12/17/2008 10:51:00 AM
O2 reviews call centre practices as staff avoid customer calls
O2 sacked around 22 people from one call centre last week, as part of its tougher stance on call centre staff that purposely avoid customer calls.
The sackings are mainly due to staff deliberately cutting off angry customers, or making themselves unavailable to receive calls.
O2 said problem employee practices had been ‘detected’ as the operator started a new programme to improve customer experience.
Avoiding calls is prevalent in all call centres, but the 22 job losses are all understood to have taken place in O2’s biggest centre – the business team.
One O2 call centre staffer in the team said: ‘Some people would just ring another department for the sake of avoiding a call, or would call a manufacturer’s customer service number and just wait. The most popular was RIM because you could be waiting for ages.’
Some of the dismissed employees are understood to have contacted the Communications Workers Union (CWU), claiming the move was down to
the operator seeking to reduce its headcount without going through the redundancy process – something O2 vehemently denies.
The staffer added: ‘They are taking a no-nonsense issue. They used to turn a blind eye, now it’s a big deal.’
A similar stance is understood to be taking place across O2’s prepay, consumer postpay and broadband call centres.
O2 customer services director Cheryl Black and UK CEO Ronan Dunne established customer experience as a major priority for the business in 2009.
One spokesman said: ‘We are committed to delivering a great experience for our customers. Anyone who deliberately mishandles a customer inquiry impacts the service we provide. That is bad news for the customer and clearly not something we tolerate.’