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back to article 500 jobs threatened as Virgin Media shutters Liverpool call centre

Virgin Media is closing its outsourced call centre in Albert Dock, Liverpool, and "consolidating" its operations by shifting to an existing site in Swansea. The telco said it hoped to "create a new in-house centre of excellence for customer management in Swansea". VM's two sites are run by IBM and its contract partners Adecco …

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Bugger

The few times I've had to deal with VMs customer services, the best, most helpful responses I've had have been delivered with a scouse accent :\

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obvious really

They were the guys who knew what they were talking about, so took the time to fix customer problems. Which of course meant that they took longer to fix things than the folks who followed the scripts and never got past "turn it off and on again". Clearly less efficient, so they got the chop. Typical beancounting helldesk management, really.

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Childcatcher

Scousers?

Unless scousers have recently developed accents originating in Bangalore then things might have moved on since you last spoke with anyone at VM.

We lost our TV and Internet last week for 24 hours. During that timeframe I placed 4 calls, and every one was answered by someone who was clearly not of Liverpudlian origin.

And don't tell me they must have been Welsh either. i could at least understand the people I spoke to last week, a feat that would have been impossible had it been people from South Wales.

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Isn't bigotry wonderful?

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Management speak translator

"create a new in-house centre of excellence for customer management in Swansea".

--> "Turns out outsourcing isn't that cheap after all, so we'll have another go at doing it ourselves. Again..."

"There will be a thorough consultation period over the next 90 days where we will be discussing the proposals with the teams and gaining their feedback and views,"

--> "We will be telling the staff how it will be, some of them won't like it, they can fuck off"

"In Liverpool, outsourced staff will be offered the option to relocate to Swansea, or seek other employment within Virgin Media or through their current employer, subject to consultation."

--> "If you want to keep your job, move to Wales or fuck off. We might need a few of you to stay to keep the lights on but we aren't sure how this is going to work yet so we will just keep that carrot dangling for a while yet"

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Bummer.

The Liverpool call center seemed to be the one that actually knew what they were doing - it's not often that Scousers are the most trusted, but in this case...

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FAIL

fools

The Liverpool site was one the better Virginmedia support locations.

"Make some of the more skilled contractors permanent employees" = huge pay cut

PS. TUPE means "Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations )"

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UK Call Centres?!??!?!?!

VM have UK Call Centres???

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Anonymous Coward

As someone that used to work in that call center, i wish everyone there the very best of luck might be a few jobs going at the headend in Knowsley

The Albert dock site held the boardband technical support and the phone and TV support. Some really good people there. We were screwed over enough when we were out sourced to IBM/Adecco and we were promised that Albert dock was "Flagship site" so was safe from closure, how times have changed.

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Unhappy

I'll second that

I had a lot of problems in the early days with my cable installation. I ended up with a direct line to one of the managers. They had a really good team, you could talk to them and they actually knew what they were doing and were not patronising. Luckily I've not had any more problems but if I do, I am sorry to see them go. The 'problem' was they could not communicate directly with "Networks", the guys who worked on the cabling - and I don't mean their installation teams.

IMHO they would be better off getting rid of the dross I've spoken to on the odd occasion I've had to call them about the TV service.

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The cable guys are mostly sub-sub contractors (small 'c' ), and some can't even use the toilet without pissing all over the seat...

don't ask...

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Angel

I know how they feel......

I used to work for VM 5 or 6 years ago. I was based at the Atlantic Pavilion.

Made some good mates there, some I am still working with today in my new job with a different company which is based on the 3rd floor of Atlantic Pavilion

This seems like a rushed announcement from VM in light of the new "agency workers" laws that are coming into effect this weekend.

Many of the employees at VM, as stated, are employed by external agencies and have been very unhappy with the lack of pay rises. In fact the pay is the same as 5 years ago. Starting wage for 1st Broadband Tech was £15k IIRC. Now its £12k.

VM / Adecco / IBM & Manpower are currently at logger heads with a union regarding pay, working hours, working environment etc etc.

Wouldnt surprise me if VM were going to close the site in a couple of months anyways.

Hell, they screwed me and my mates over when they "tested" off shore call centres.

@ all my mates who are feeling screwed right now:-

I just wont be the same, flicking ciggies into a bin without you there to witness the skill.

Good luck peeps.

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Happy

VM feeling the pressure......

Sounds like I am not the only one to find I can get most of my TV entertainment via Freeview & Internet. Also, you do not need an aerial - VM will downgrade you to Freeview via cable for nowt!

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Anonymous Coward

sad day

I remember when the Albert Dock office was opened in 1999/2000 after it was purchased from Littlewoods.

I was one of 20 to start in the lush office surroundings, back then it was Telewest with their BlueYonder product.

Good days...

As someone said, they may get work at knowesly but who knows..

Sad times....

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Anonymous Coward

Telewest sucks!

I worked there many a year ago, started in the 15k 1st line tech support job and worked my way up through 2nd line etc., The main problem the company had were jobsworth management. When the centre opened staff had a free reign to actually fix customers problems.

Then the jobsworth money grabbers restricted what we could advise and referred all out of scope stuff to a £1 per minute premium line, then the outsourcing and snooping on staff computers. It was shit like this that made me hate the company (and don't even get me started on jobsworth managers timing how many minutes 1st line workers had popped to the loo for)

Having worked there I knew many many talented individuals (and some dross of course) but these people were a true asset to the company willing to put up with shitty pay, shitty conditions and and unpleasantness from customers and worse from management.

Sad to see the Albert dock office go though.

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Anonymous Coward

Not surprised

I also worked there back when it was Telewest Blueyonder.

Luckily I jumped ship just before it got outsourced. Even back then it was clear that my job was only going one way. To India( via Wales). The company just didn't value its workers at all.

As much as I liked the actual job, the piss poor pay, stupid part time hours, management spying on my pc and having to justify every second of my toilet trips was too much to bear.

A company ruined by management who seemed determined to turn tech support into a sweatshop.

3 cheers for Telewest !

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Flame

@ Hplasm

You've got that right. The idle, useless bastards/tossers won't even go under floors to put in broadband or phone cables. I had to do that myself because "We aren't trained to do that".

Training? To go under a bloody floor? Wankers.

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Meh

Had to smile about this

No, not at the unfortunates who are losing their jobs. It reminds me of some of the poor impersonators who attempting a Welsh accent sound like they come from India so when you ring the VM `helpline` you won't know if you're through to Swansea or Bombay central.

At least you could understand the Scousers (more or less. :o) )

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"create a new in-house centre of excellence for customer management in Swansea".

Don't make me laugh. If there's one thing VM know nothing about it's customer support. Or is "customer management" just their way of saying "telling customers to fuck off"?

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queues outside of argos will start early this year

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N2

Sad day

Just at a time when the UK really needs to insource call centres and look after its own workforce.

Please will someone tell me why some (financial for example) companies outsource when they should be legally bound to employ UK bums on UK seats which would be a no brainier for this ineffectual coalition to mandate?

LloydsTSB for example, or is it just another case of fuck you weve got shareholders to consider?

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So you think Swansea isn't in the UK?

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Anonymous Coward

Sad News

I was one of the PCNS team from Knowsley (Yes the portacabin in the car park) who did the fit out and install when its opened in 2000. Still got the carpet rash scar on one knee to this day. Thanks Jackie & Clair ;0)

What a great building and location though it was a right shit hole before the refit. Littlewood were using it right up to the last minute before the refit.

We had so many good laughs at the time often crashing at the Holiday Inn Express round the corner after a night on the lash.

Very sad to read everyone was out sourced. Hope you find something else.

But for FFS don't think about chasing you job to Swansea ......

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Anonymous Coward

VM

The worst company in the UK?

We now get (after 10 years loyalty) - threatening phone calls from India, threatening letters, nonsensical phone bills, outrageous and entirely unjustifiable extra charges, throttled nearly every day, a Catch Up TV on Demand service that rarely works and bills that are over twice as high as what any competitor would charge.

It's only because the competitors ar Sky (repulsive politics of its owners) and BT (reputedly even worse than VM) that we stay where we are.

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Long time VM customer friend of mine moved house recently. They wanted cable in their new house and even went so far as to make that one of the criteria when choosing a house. So they gave VM much more than the required notice of the move and requested the installation for the week they moved in. VM couldn't make that and gave them a date for a couple of weeks later. So they took the day off work and waited in for VM to show.

By the afternoon they were worried by the continued absence of the VM engineer and rang the call centre. The call centre initially denied that they had anything booked for that day. Then they claimed that the engineer had already been to site and been turned away. Further questioning revealed that the engineer had actually been to site a week before they moved in. Even though the customer had been told the earliest available date was the date booked the engineer had tried to do the work three weeks earlier, there's joined up thinking.

Needless to say my friend is no longer a Virgin customer. Asking round the office it's remarkable how many people are ex customers of VM or NTL or Telewest. Most of these people will tell you that everything was fine until VM took over.

Virgin is great when everything works, but if you need to talk to customer service you're in trouble.

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Admittedly been a couple of years since I used VM, but when I did, the Liverpool call centre seemed have the only people that were capable of doing anything more than following scripts, for example actually pro-actively looking at reported problems that weren't published on the service status pages.

Sky Broadband seems to have the same problem, I only ever get a decent response from call centre people with Scottish accents...

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Mushroom

'Excellence' sought in Swansea

This'll be the same Swansea that already hosts such bastions of customer support quality as the DVLA then?

Probably better if they bring any required 'Excellence' with 'em to avoid disappointment, as there would seem to be a severe shortage locally.

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FAIL

Just when you thought VM Customer Service couldn't get any worse!!

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Anonymous Coward

otoh

having worked with some of the ex Scouse Virgins (and they pretty much all were).. they didn't do actual customer service very well.. they didn't do talking to people very well either.. bloody ace technically and they certainly know their collective stuff..and i know where they all legged it to.. STH i'm looking at you :)

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