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Topic # 30301 4-Feb-2009 09:09
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Just received and posted about this:


Telecom New Zealand announced that following trials the company proposes to retain its largest contact centre operations, 123 and *123, in New Zealand, predominantly in Hamilton, while transitioning a total of approximately 250 positions from a range of other contact centres from New Zealand to its international partners in Manila over an 18-month period.

The move follows almost a year of trials and research which looked at the impact on customers’ experiences from offshoring several Telecom contact centres, including 123 and several back office functions.

“We always said we would not make proposals until after the exhaustive trials were complete, and we’ve stuck to that promise,” said Alan Gourdie, CEO Telecom Retail.

“Put simply, if the customer experience offshore could not be proven to match the experience provided by New Zealand-based call centres, we did not proceed.

“In the case of 123 and *123 the trial data did not show us the consistent performance we needed to see in order to be comfortable with a large-scale offshoring of that operation, in which a detailed knowledge of an extremely varied set of products and services is all-important.

“If confirmed, today’s proposals would therefore retain the vast majority of our 123 and *123 contact centre positions in Hamilton.

“In other areas, where specific, technical knowledge was particularly important, offshore staff have delivered strong results for the New Zealand customers they dealt with.”

Mr Gourdie said the results of the trials have now been announced to staff, with Telecom proposing to restructure of six of its contact centre operations. This would see a total of approximately 250 positions transitioned from New Zealand to Manila over an 18-month period from a range of contact centres.

“When the migration of these roles is complete, Telecom will have around 1600 contact centre positions in New Zealand, and 700 positions outsourced in Manila.

“This proposal will see the further migration of our broadband support helpdesk to our outsourced partners over the next 18 months, where we have found it easy to recruit technically-skilled staff. Our customer research has shown very strong performance in this area, so we are comfortable in changing the mix of onshore and offshore within that function.

“In fact, the offshore operation recorded our highest ever level of customer satisfaction for broadband support in December.

“With the trials complete, we will strike a strong balance between offshore and New Zealand call centre positions that will deliver great customer service, and achieve the cost savings necessary at a time of challenging economic conditions.

“Today’s proposals will not change the fact that Telecom still has more contact centre reps in New Zealand, answering more calls from more New Zealanders, than any of our competitors. It gives us a good blend of domestic and offshore coverage, assisting our 1.4 million customers with a range of often complex product and service inquiries,” Mr Gourdie said.

“If the proposal is confirmed, this re-balancing of contact centre positions will be carefully managed to ensure our people are treated fairly and wherever possible given other opportunities within Telecom, along with maintaining the customer experience in those impacted areas.”

Mr Gourdie acknowledged that the past year had been a time of uncertainty for staff in our New Zealand-based call centres, particularly those at the company’s Hamilton operation.

“We have communicated openly and regularly with staff throughout the trials. Feedback on the proposed structure will now be sought over the next two weeks, with a final contact centre structure to be confirmed by early March.”

Mr Gourdie said if the proposed model were confirmed then Telecom would work hard to ensure affected staff would be redeployed within the company or offered support to find other roles, with redundancies to be kept to a minimum.

“Due to the long timeframe for the migration, we expect the total number of redundancies to be very limited,” Mr Gourdie said.

After the proposed move Telecom contact centres will have 1610 people in New Zealand and 700 people offshore.





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  Reply # 193899 4-Feb-2009 09:18
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I cant believe the offshore operations got rated so highly.

I rang them a few days ago to resest my password - they asked what modem i used, which I thought was rather irrelevant, but I told them to which they advised that they don;t support it.

Thats fine I said, I can support it myself I just want my password reset - went back and forth about five times before the guy finally understood, plus that fake american accent just annoys the hell out of me




For billions of years since the outset of time, every single one of your ancestors survived, every single person on your Mum and Dads side, successfully looked after and passed onto you life.  What are the chances of that like?

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Reply # 193902 4-Feb-2009 09:27
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There really must be a huge cost saving for moving call centre's off shore.. because there sure is no way in hell that the customers prefer it, or recieve a better level of service from it.




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  Reply # 193929 4-Feb-2009 10:59
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RedJungle: There really must be a huge cost saving for moving call centre's off shore.. because there sure is no way in hell that the customers prefer it, or recieve a better level of service from it.


that's it isn't it.  Foreign call centres offer ZERO advantage to the customers

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  Reply # 193932 4-Feb-2009 11:02
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RedJungle: There really must be a huge cost saving for moving call centre's off shore.. because there sure is no way in hell that the customers prefer it, or recieve a better level of service from it.


I worked in a company that moved most of its operations to Thailand. They were honest enough to tell us that 1 NZ salary worked out to be about 6-7 Thai people so it made good business sense.

Feel sorry for the people being made redundant. Sad fact is that South East & North Asia, as well as parts of the former Soviet Union, have huge amounts of people willing to work for very little (when compared to New Zealand wages).

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  Reply # 193947 4-Feb-2009 12:02
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How low does the NZ $ have to fall before the management is outsourced overseas to a new owner?

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  Reply # 193960 4-Feb-2009 12:32
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brentbart:

Feel sorry for the people being made redundant. Sad fact is that South East & North Asia, as well as parts of the former Soviet Union, have huge amounts of people willing to work for very little (when compared to New Zealand wages).

Don't worry.  In a few years if things keep going the way they are Asian call centers will be outsourcing here because of our low wage economy..





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  Reply # 193965 4-Feb-2009 12:45
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freitasm: Just received and posted about this:

 “In the case of 123 and *123 the trial data did not show us the consistent performance we needed to see in order to be comfortable with a large-scale offshoring of that operation, in which a detailed knowledge of an extremely varied set of products and services is all-important.

“If confirmed, today’s proposals would therefore retain the vast majority of our 123 and *123 contact centre positions in Hamilton.

“In other areas, where specific, technical knowledge was particularly important, offshore staff have delivered strong results for the New Zealand customers they dealt with.”

As a former telecom 123 employee this move by Telecom disappoints and confuses me.  Not really shocked as this was the kind of thing they were doing before I got "let go" from Telecom.

The issue to me is unless the outsourcing help desk employees have had a lot more training in English skills , communication skills and customer service skills then I don't think the customers are going to be serviced very well at all. In fact I believe that most of their "strong results" from offshore staff have been because a 123 CSR has had to waste time on a call telling them exactly how to do their job. Here's an anecdote from my time at Telecom :


When I was on the 123 Blended Queue we used to be able reset a user's Xtra password. It was literally as easy as logging onto an Xtra management webpage , plugging in a username and clicking a few buttons to reset the password. It was extremely easy to do. They they took this ability off the CSR and moved in to the help desk in Manilla. With virtually every call I had to send through to Manilla I had to explain to the guy or girl in Manila several times what I wanted done and how to do it :( 


I'm really confused as to how their outsourcing companies in Manilla scored so high on their polls.




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- Hone , Often accused of Excess Verbosity
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  Reply # 193974 4-Feb-2009 12:55
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allstarnz:

that's it isn't it.  Foreign call centres offer ZERO advantage to the customers

 

Depends on your point of view.  If one looks holistically at the issue you could say that it delivers benefit to the end customer by being able to use that money saved by off-shoring towards making better products.





My views are my own, and may not necessarily represent those of my employer.

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  Reply # 194000 4-Feb-2009 14:15
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so are the current telecom contact centre employees going to be offered the chance to do their same job in manila? or will telecom only be hiring manila citizens inside manila?


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Reply # 194004 4-Feb-2009 14:23
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richgamer:

so are the current telecom contact centre employees going to be offered the chance to do their same job in manila? or will telecom only be hiring manila citizens inside manila?



It will be OUTSOURCED to a company with their own workforce, telecom will no longer be the direct employer of the staff members.




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  Reply # 194006 4-Feb-2009 14:25
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richgamer:

so are the current telecom contact centre employees going to be offered the chance to do their same job in manila? or will telecom only be hiring manila citizens inside manila?



That is one of the wierdest suggestions I have heard of related to outsourcing. - Under HR law they must try to find a similar role WITHIN the company - but as they have outsourced they are under no obligation to offer jobs in manilla.  Additionally I'm sure the CSR's would love to go over to manilla and earn a third or less of what they earn over there.

Plus in the article it mentions the transition will take place over 18 months, and knowing first hand Telecoms (123 in particulars) rate of turnover - those position would almost be covered by natural atrition




For billions of years since the outset of time, every single one of your ancestors survived, every single person on your Mum and Dads side, successfully looked after and passed onto you life.  What are the chances of that like?

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  Reply # 194196 5-Feb-2009 09:23
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From reading the article it sounds like the only 'customer facing' contact centre that will be moving to Manila is the BB Helpdesk.  This helpdesk is predominantly based in Manila already so I guess they are just moving all the bb helpdesk over.

Most of the other positions that are moving over sound like they will be back office functions.

From a customers point of view I don't really see how this will significantly make any change to how things are now.  I nearly always get through to Manila when I call the Xtra Helpdesk now so this isn't going to be much of a change.  I don't really know what all the fuss is about. 

All companies need to find ways to cut costs regardless of whether they are big or small.  If this frees up some more money to invest in their network and services then we just have to live with it.  The Manila staff may be a little frustrating to deal with but eventually they do what you ask of them.  You just need to be patient.  They will improve over time I reckon with the more experience they get.

I am pleased that the 123 team is staying in NZ.  Their is nothing worse that trying to arrange a move of address when the person on the other end doesn't understand what you are saying.  most general account enquiries are dealt with by 123 so at least this experience should remain pretty good!!

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  Reply # 194729 8-Feb-2009 12:53
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The BB Helpdesk was always originally run by the outsource provider, although in Auckland, in fact I was the first BB trained CSR in the country (10 years ago now).  After several years it was all moved totally into Telecom (taking our staff).  Due to bad Telecom processes and disorganisation it fell over within a few weeks.  They then asked us to to put on staff to assist (about 25% of the total).  We were taking 75% of the calls with 25% of the staff because the TC staff were always off the queue or on smoko breaks.  It went back and forwards a few times, but in the end they couldn't do a better job than the outsourcer and since then it has been moved to Manila - which ironically isn't much of a change of staff as most CSR's in the NZ CC industry are new immigrants as kiwis don't want to work in call centres.

I agree and don't think this change will have much effect as (from personal experience as a customer) the AKL Telecom group were no better than the Manila group and they probably only have about 20% of the workforce, but were probably only taking about 5% of the calls.  Those people will end up elsewhere in Telecom anyway.  People don't realise how costly and difficult running a call centre is, and when 90% of the calls are rediculous uneeded calls (ie: Hi Xtra, I'm plugging my mouse into my printer and it doesn't work and because I pay you $30 a month (half of which has been lost due to the cost of this call) you must help me with all of my problems to do with my computer that I don't know how to use).

This will allow them to get enough staff on the phones (that are really pleased to have a call centre job and overly qualified) and will stay and be able to improve the service over time.  PS: According to Stuff, a Manila worked earns a quarter of the salary as an NZ worker, but has the same hours and Annual Leave, but other costs are much higher (ironically Telecommunications and other infrastructure). 

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  Reply # 194732 8-Feb-2009 13:29
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One thing that would be very interesting to know would be the staff churn rate of Telecom CSR's.

Inwould  suspect that 250 out of a total of 2000 would potentially be less than 6 months churn - if that is infact the case then the losses are not as significant as they look.

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  Reply # 194874 9-Feb-2009 12:09
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sbiddle: One thing that would be very interesting to know would be the staff churn rate of Telecom CSR's.

Inwould  suspect that 250 out of a total of 2000 would potentially be less than 6 months churn - if that is infact the case then the losses are not as significant as they look.


Churn is VERY high within 123 - when I was a Team Leader there (A few years back now) it was around 25-35% IIRC




For billions of years since the outset of time, every single one of your ancestors survived, every single person on your Mum and Dads side, successfully looked after and passed onto you life.  What are the chances of that like?

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