BIG TELECOMS DEAL
In a £12.45m deal, Nimans has bought its rival in telecoms distribution, Rocom, to create a company with a turnover of nearly £100m and a combine staff of 400. Both companies were founded nearly 30 years ago with the liberalisation of telecoms in the UK; Bob Old, founder of Rocom, sold his company to ATC about three years ago.
Julian Niman, chairman, said both companies would retain their branding And customer facing operations.
Ratio Money, a claims management company, has started a year-long drive to hire 125 more staff for its head office in Altrincham. It says that its number of customers has doubled in the last three months and it expects the rate of growth to continue.
NEW CALL CENTRE
Autoglass is to open a second call centre, in Bardon, Leicester, with 50 staff. It says calls have increased as drivers choose to have chips in windscreen repaired before they crack. The company’s call centre in Bedford employs 65 people. Autoglass is owned by Belron, which has operations in 29 countries.
Low cost airline bmibaby has hired Vertex in a three-year contract to handle inbound sales calls, internet queries and changes in bookings, totalling about 30,000 calls per month.
CPP Group has signed a contract for call recording, coaching and consultancy with Business Systems, which is supplying products from NICE Systems. CPP has three UK sites employing 1,000 people who handle 9.3m calls a year. Its head of business support, Jayne Hartley, said the NICE coaching module allowed agents to set their own coaching plans. And she said the contract would support the company’s goal of increasing sales conversions by five per cent within 12 months.
Plans have been approved for a new call centre for AXA PPP, at Repton Park, Ashford, which will house 600 staff. Wimpey will construct two three-storey buildings — using solar power for hot water and rainwater for the toilets — with a 205-space car park and space for 70 bicycles.
Samsung Electronics has hired Bellcom, a Glasgow-based outsourcer, in a 12-month telesales contract for its office printers. Bellcom, which is hiring 30 more staff as a result, will primarily call UK prospects but will also target northern Europe, particularly the Benelux countries and Scandinavia.
Capscan has brought out an enhanced version of Nearcode. When asked for the locations of outlets or services, agents enter a full or partial postcode, place name or grid reference and a sorted list is displayed. Nearcode can also be integrated into web sites.
Prices per user of Nearcode are £200 per year and a system licence — unlimited users on a single system — are from £3,000 for the first year and £2,000 for subsequent years, all inclusive of Royal Mail’s licence fees. Capscan (www.capscan.com) offers readers a no-obligation free demo CD and the company’s recent white paper, Data Quality: Perception versus Reality.
WHAT THEY SAY
British Gas has bought customer feedback software and recording products from Verint Systems for its Cardiff call centre. It is being used to capture and analyse up to 6,000 customer surveys each week. The aim is to improve customers’ experience and to gauge responses to campaigns and products.
Ofcom is tightening the rules on 0870 numbers. From August, call costs must be clearly advertised. Its aim is to encourage communications providers to charge the same as geographic numbers and to include 0870 calls in call packages on the same basis as geographic numbers.
In another move, Ofcom started a selection process to allocate the first three UK 116 helpline numbers. It is part of a pan-European scheme to make it easy to call free for find help and advice in any EU country. The first three 116 suffixes are 000 for missing children, 111 for child helplines and 123 for emotional support. Ofcom expects the numbers to be allocated by the end of summer and in use early next year.
House of Fraser has introduced corporate gift cards which will be sold alongside its paper-based gift vouchers. The company says it will give clients greater flexibility in choosing incentives. Recipients can check their balance in store, on line or by calling the number on the back of the card.