Call Centres are Reopening in Britain, Despite the Economy

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The recession has seen countless businesses fold. Surprisingly, call centres / call centre companies have not been as badly affected by the economic downturn as one might think, mainly because of the savings many have made in relocating centres abroad. However, complaints by consumers about poor service from foreign-based call centre operatives is resulting in an increasing number of companies returning their operations to Britain, reports BBC News.

With several call centres having already reopened across the country, and with more set to open soon, call centre designers have seen a sudden increase in demand for their skills. All this can only be good for the British: with jobs being created not only through staffing centres but also in call centre design, equipping, and servicing / maintenance thereafter (in which call centre air con hire specialists often play a key role).

UK Call Centre Statistics

In 2009, the number of call centres in Britain declined by a moderate 2% to 6123, largely as a result of the recession

In 2011, the number of call centres in Britain increased by a moderate 2% to 6303
This growth trend is expected to be evident throughout the five year forecast period 2011 - 2015, with annual growth levels anticipated to fluctuate between 2% and 4%
The number of call centres operational in Britain is believed to reach 7214 in 2015, representing an overall increase of 17% compared with 2010, according to MBD Market research.

Just some of the companies ‘bringing their call centres home’ include NatWest, Powergen, TSYS, and Esure. Some are even using their ‘UK-only call centre’ policy as a marketing tool, tapping into the dissatisfaction millions of consumers have felt at overseas call centres taking British jobs, and also at the service they have received from them.

Pressures facing call centres are two fold: 1) People Management, as call centres can often require large numbers of staff, and 2) Technology – managing, and keeping problem-free, the huge amounts of data, PCs, servers and other equipment involved, which can be expected to be operational 24/7, all-year-round.

Call centres that are operated by individual institutions cannot afford to not run smoothly, as disgruntled customers will soon opt to take their business elsewhere – just as call centres that manage calls for multiple organisations would lose their clients if the end customer was not handled properly. What is more, call centre operatives are all on numerous targets for calls answered, call handling time, successful outcomes, and sales achieved, etc; so it is essential that technology can keep up with the demands put upon it. Climate control plays a vital role in this.

Huge amounts of detail is put into call centre planning – adequate air conditioning provision within the main open-plan floors (as well as within the server rooms) is often rightly prioritised. But even the most state-of-the-art air con system can suddenly fail, which makes having contingencies in place essential.

If a fixed air con system fails at a call centre, an air con specialist will respond immediately to an emergency call-out. At their depots located nationwide they will have a vast range of air conditioning units (all the latest models) and will know which are most appropriate for a call centre environment.

Hired air con units for call centres are reliable and cost-effective, and can be:

Used immediately;
Hired on a short contract basis, and then returned;
The perfect ‘stop gap’ between the removal of an existing air con system at a call centre, and the installation of a new one;
Added to a fixed air conditioning solution when extra cool air is required (e.g. during a heatwave and/or when additional equipment is temporarily added to the existing call centre’s server room).

Also, during planned maintenance and servicing of a built-in system at a call centre, portable air con units could be used until the work is completed. A specialist in air con hire (who offers a 24/7, year-round, emergency call-out service) could work with a call centre manager to formulate a contingency plan, with a site survey being an integral part of this: both parties could agree plans to safeguard the call centre from the potentially catastrophic consequences of a fixed air con system failure – staff performance could remain unaffected, and call centre (and server room) equipment could be kept cool at all times.

Finally, call centre growth can increase the demand for more staff and servers as well as the potential for product failure, air conditioning failure, and unanticipated call volumes/data handling. All this can put a huge strain on people and technology; therefore formulating an air con contingency plan with a proven air con hire specialist can be vital to the business continuing as normal.

Article submitted by Steve Reeve, Sales Director at Andrews Sykes.

Andrews Sykes is the UK's largest specialist air conditioning hire company, with over 25 years’ experience. Andrews Sykes provides professional climate control services to call centres and businesses in the UK.

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