Feeds

back to article O2 brushed off outsourcing 'rumour' - but it's happening ... to THOUSANDS

More than 3,000 helpdesk staff at mobile network O2 will be transferred to outsourcing giant Capita and around 600 made redundant by August, according to the Communications Workers Union. The trade union described the move as "a betrayal". O2 owner Telefonica, meanwhile, told the Telegraph that only 2,000 positions would be …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Holmes

"voluntary" layoffs

As in, bugger off now and we won't have to pester you later to get you to bugger off.

2
1
Silver badge
Unhappy

From the wording given here and on the CWU release it would appear that neither the correct consultation period nor TUPE are being applied. I sense a legal challenge imminent ... (unless the CWU have chosen to miss out some information)

In either case, my condolences to those affected. It may seem like a bad thing right now, but outsourcing then redundancy was the best thing that happened to me - I wish you the same success.

0
0
Meh

What's the purpose of O2 now anyway?

I mean, they're bloody expensive, they use half the bandwidth of other mobile providers (so making a call sounds like making a long-distance call in the 1960s in a thunderstorm), their customer service is now going to be rubbish, I'm not seeing a raison d'etre.

2
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: What's the purpose of O2 now anyway?

Well, they're providing jobs to people in india, so the soon to be jobless in the UK can get better tech support for their mobile phones. Isn't it obvious?

But seriously this is a terrible move by O2, one of the few things that I look for on mobile is that they have an English call centre, not to sound racist or anything, but I can't understand half the indian call desks. Sure you'll ocasionally get the guy witha good english accent, but for every one of those there are ten who only just have a loose understanding of the language and you have to fight with to get anywhere.

I'll admit getting a guy with a strong welsh or scottish accent isn't that great either, but better than indian, at least they understand you.

I'm sure it's a decision which will come to bite O2 in the rear.

11
0

Re: What's the purpose of O2 now anyway?

Accent is not a poblem, its slang, idiom.and those unthinking cultural references that we make that mess up their heads... I have seen it with people from europe who come to work in the UK. They have the same cultural blindness.

The same problem would happen if we set up an outsourved call centre in southampton serving the western United States.

1
1

Re: What's the purpose of O2 now anyway?

They've also sold what used to be the best ADSL ISP in the UK (BeThere) to Sky. You want a betrayal? That's the worst!

Also: Be persist in trying to take money from me for service I've cancelled. If they persist, they'll be in Court for harassment. I'll be seeking damages in £100k+ range (and I'm told that I'll probably get it!).

The sooner they go out of business, the better.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: What's the purpose of O2 now anyway?

I'm not so sure. A few episodes of Benny hill and the Americans can understand. Just as long as we don't have to watch east enders.

0
0

Re: What's the purpose of O2 now anyway?

Ok then.... Explain Rentaghost....

0
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Instead of money losing call centers

You could try more QC to begin with instead of the bullocks that passes for goods and services these days.

You know, ounce of prevention and all that.

4
0
Thumb Up

Re: Instead of money losing call centers

I fear that's too much like common sense there ecofeco... Why spend money fixing a problem for all devices if only 50% of people complain about it... fix the problem after the fact and save 50%... I abandoned O2 long ago, I'm very glad I did.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Capita...

Thanks to them, I might be made redundant soon :(

10
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Capita...

Upvoted as a token gesture of moral support rather than out of any ill will.

7
0
Silver badge

Outsourcing, the last resort of the completely useless manager. If it makes sense to outsource 10 quid an hour jobs, lets outsource all the C level jobs and the BOD, they're on a fortune so you should save a fortune.

Seriously, I am the only one who can't see the sense in offshoring (which is what will happen here eventually, sadly). If everyone jumps on the offshoring bandwagon there will be sod all people left employed here to buy anyones products. Some costs shouldn't be saved. It's like they're all playing some giant game of jenga with the economy, at some point it will collapse entirely. The states is even worse, tax breaks for sending jobs overseas??

17
2
Anonymous Coward

I've been "On shored"

I got my current gig because the Management realised how many staff were complaining about the offshored service desk. Which only lasted 2 years, before it was on-shored again.

I'm a new face to the team, but I was amazed to see guys they'd made redundant 2 years ago have come back.

I hope they said.. 'I'll only come back if you pay through the nose'

So I'm confidently expecting that the cycle will continue for years to come.

1) New CFO

2) Save money, share price will go up.

3) Outsource stuff

4) Profit

5) Hmmm quality sucks, CFO improve things or you're out

6) Onshore

7) Service improves

8) Profit!

9) New CFO... Hmm, save money, share price will go up....

4
0
Anonymous Coward

"Seriously, I am the only one who can't see the sense in offshoring "

There's plenty of people who can see that outsourcing and offshoring are crap ideas. But in the boardroom they don't ask you and I, they ask turds like McKinsey, BCG, or other parasites, and they assign some spotty Oxbridge grads to come back with a £2m bill, 160 pages of Powerpoint, and recommend that they outsource to save money (and employ said scumbag consultants to "manage" the changes in a further lucrative contract).

My company (hence AC) recently offshored its Nordic accounts payable function (which was well run and efficient). They moved the work to a captive operation in Rumania (months before all the foreign language speakers leave Rumania for other better paid parts of Europe), and then wondered why they'd got no telephone service - somebody in Rumania had not paid the telephone bill. Our UK operation outsourced its IT to HP, costs have gone up, service is bloody dreadful, and last weekend we lost all computer systems - so all the call centre staff got the weekend off because we had no systems (nor did the operations guys).

On your point about sod all people left to buy anything, I'm afraid we're there already. With huge budget and trade deficits (thanks to both political parties) Britain has a Ponzi economy. Out government borrow to fund about one seventh of their spending every single day (austerity? Don't make me laugh!). And we print and borrow money to buy our imported goods, fuels, and food. We have a good manufacturing sector, but we don't have enough of it - too many well paid public sector sector employees, too many people in financial services, and too many rules and restrictions. Outsourcing and offshoring has already ripped the volume out of British manufacturing as was (although the workforce didn't help, with poor working practices and crap quality all too often), now the same process is being applied to the white collar jobs. Another dark influence on manufacturing is Europe, where progressive "environmental" laws have pushed industry out of the UK, to locations where it is even dirtier, like China - there's a win for the planet!

Yet government keep taxes like employer's NI, that make employing people here more expensive. They continue an energy policy that will bankrupt the country. They won't stand up to Europe and tell Brussels to fuck off and die. But they will waste their time arguing about irrelevant things like gay marriage, laws of succession, or rules that require landlords to check on the immigration status of new tenants, etc etc.

/grumpyoldgit

18
8
Anonymous Coward

eh?

Can you explain why you think this wouldn't be an issue if we weren't in the EU, or what gay marriage has to do with this? You seem to have mistaken this discussion board for the one at the Daily Mail.

7
6
Silver badge

Re: eh?

I think the last point was meant to be along the lines of "The government is wasting time arguing about this shit nobody really cares about apart from the far right or far left folks. While there's plenty of stuff nationwide which does have a massive impact on us that they don't even sniff at."

11
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: eh?

"Can you explain why you think this wouldn't be an issue if we weren't in the EU, or what gay marriage has to do with this? You seem to have mistaken this discussion board for the one at the Daily Mail."

Let me spell it out for you, thicky:

All of our environmental legislation is driven by Brussels. It may be enacted by Westminster, but the greasy thieves have actual given the rights to law making to Brussels in that area. So, for example, all of our water quality legislation and standards are derived from EU directives that other countries implement half heartedly, and then enforce half heartedly. Same with power plant emissions or anything else eco-ish.

And, as previously stated, gay marriage is an issue not because of what it is, but because Parliament and politicians are wasting time on it.

Too difficult for you?

9
7
Silver badge

Re: eh?

Actually, the 'solution du jour' for consultants is now 'insourcing'. In many cases exactly the same firms that dropped in 5/10 years ago and told management to outsource everything, are now returning, sucking their teeth, saying 'who sold you this, then?' and charging millions (again) to bring it all back. It would be funny if it weren't so bloody serious.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: eh?

Thicky? Yeah, you've not really got an answer so you retort to insults. How...sad.

Let's make it simpler for you.

So if we weren't in the EU, are you saying that O2 wouldn't outsource these jobs? Because no one in the USA or Australia has ever has their job outsourced to Mexico or India?

And you are also saying that if if the lunatic leftie tories weren't busy legislating against prejudice , they'd be busy banning all outsourcing? Really? Do you honestly believe that? And you call me thicky?

5
7
Thumb Up

When there's no lef tot sell to...

Exactly the point that not many people make, one can go on (and on) about booming, bustling, storming ahead India, but the outsourcing industry is driving their growth (China's got the manufacturing, and no, you won't be able to 3D print your iPhone/Android device any-time soon), but once the western markets start to shrink because of outsourcing, and it's not just call centres, the software industry is another one that's being outsourced, they'll be fewer and fewer people to sell to..

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.

Oh and another gripe, every time I contact a bank by e-mail, I am almost always sent a reply in Indian English, "please be informed", "revert back to us", etc. ad infinitum. It puzzles me that this has now become acceptable. It's rare for the first reply to ever answer the question, so I have to send another e-mail, the reply then suddenly turns into British English. Seems like some form of escalation to someone 'here' once the offshore reply doesn't quite manage to answer the question. HSBC, Barclays and Santander appear to do this.

4
0

Not good

I'm always happy when I ring O2 and get someone who's easy to understand and actually creates the impression that they care - and it gets done immediately.

Three's call centre on the other hand...

5
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not good

Don't get me started on 3.

I had a contract with them a fair few years back since they had the best coverage in my local area. All was well until the contract ended and I wanted to cancel it as I'd signed onto a new contract elsewhere. After telling the guy on the other end "No I don't want a new contract, I want to cancel." at least a dozen times. (it took half an hour before he finally clicked I don't want a new contract) he finally 'cancelled' the contract for me. Only several weeks later I got a letter through about my 'new contract'.

I went through threes dispute service, they told me I'd agreed to the contract (I hadn't) and they couldn't cancel it unless I paid out the full 24 month contract. I then went through ofcom, who told me to go through 3 again. Then they gave me somebody else to contact.

In this time 3 had called debt collectors on me, phoned up every day to threaten me with legal action so on so forth. It took about 4 months to finally get the contract cancelled.

Henceforth I will never get a contract with 3, nor will I recommend them to anybody I know. And it's starting to get that way with Orange also.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Not good

PAYG ftw.

Never contract with someone who's got a bigger legal department than you. Ideally.

0
0
Thumb Up

Re: Not good

3 is the worst company ever to try and cancel with. Pro tip to save time - be aggressive and abusive from the start, because that is where it will end anyway! Even then it will take a minimum of 30 minutes before they will let you cancel.

0
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Good old Telefonica

Spending peanuts, and delivering rubbish quality and service, a company unable to compete, eternally angry with the world because they think google, yahoo, microsoft and other companies got rich at their expense using their "Network".

Yes, literally they think like that, they think that they are the ones making any investment on that thing punters call the interwebs, and hence the googles and apples of the world should pay them, because without them (Telefonica) there would be no internet for the googles to get to customers.

They are royally pissed off because a guy in some remote corner of the globe can upload something to google play and make money, Telefonica thinks that they deserve their share of the guy's money because the application uses their network to get to the google play store.

Yes I know, it is nonsense as they already charge a fee for using the network, they do not operate a charity, but this is how they think.

So take a Spanish company with that mentality, put them in the 21st century and get them to buy an UK mobile operator.

2
0
Bronze badge

Here we go again, more of what the customers dispise and help desk agents fear

Yeah, you know exactly what will happen, 2 year contracts will end with all the operation going to India. O2 just doesn't want to get their hands dirty so they're using Capita to do it for them.

3
0

I’ve never understood outsourcing/cloud computing, same basic idea, unless it’s for economies of scale.

If it’s costing company X £1000 to do a job in house but company Y come along an agree to do it for £900 for the same service, and still make a profit out of it, then company X must be doing something wrong in the first place and the managers should be fired for being incompetent. Or if company X goes with company Y and the service is worse than it was before, and not as agreed, then the managers should be fired for being incompetent and going with company Y.

6
0
Anonymous Coward

There's a Dilbert cartoon where PHB complains about the Help desk service. Dilbert explains it was outsourced to save money - and that supplier then off-shored it to save them money.

The final step was that the offshore supplier finally offloaded it to an even cheaper supplier - Dilbert's company.

There is a Mark Twain short story about an island where people farmed out their washing to someone else. That person then farmed out all their washing business to someone else. ..and so on until there was no one actually doing any washing. That story must ave been written nigh on 100 years ago. Before call centres it was recycled for IT consultancies.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Reminds me of where I work. Outsourced a load of their programming work to India. Found that the folks in india were god awful coders, and the majority of the code we got back was

a) not fit for purpose

b) didn't follow the spec

c) was written in the most shoddy way possible

d) injected defects

e) created circular dependencies

so on so forth

But because they were with india for a years contract to 'test the waters' they were stuck with a years worth of shoddy code which is now anchored into out main software. To do anything we have to navigate a steaming pile of indian code (read shit)

5
0
Unhappy

Subtle problem

The decision makers who decided to outsource waited till it could be proclaimed a success, then either have been promoted or moved on to a better job smartish. They are never available to be punished.

0
0

If Only....

If only the companies would get their business properly sorted out, there wouldn't be the need for so many support staff, anyway. It's only when thing go wrong, that customers turn to Customer Support, which in truth, the seldom get. I had an account with Voda, for about ten years, but since I live in a no-signal area, it got very little use, except for an emergency phone in the car.. But when I got one of their femtocell units and had to use their Customer Service, because the courier lost the package en-route, it took me five weeks to get a refund. Feeling that a complaint was due. It took me four months to get absolutely no response to my complaint about their Customer Service. I'm now with another provider, but hgave little confidence that they're any better. I contrast, I do a lot of business with Amnazon, which seems to run like clockwork. Only once have I used Customer Service, on an item which was giving trouble, and that issue was cleared up, satisfactorily, in no time at all.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Just "voice" channel staff...

Telefonica are only outsourcing the "voice" staff. This includes support functions such as back-office and planning, but doesn't include the High Value customer-base staff and Tesco's already outsourced staff sitting in the Telefonica call centres (which will now be sold or released to Capita).

So Telefonica UK will now sit in Capita premises, only employ non-voice staff - but not all the non-voice as half of it is already performed by FIS in india, no Broadband as they have sold that, and they will actually be doing Tesco outsource (as it is half owned by Telefonica).

I am not affected by this (being in a department that services all of the TEFUK estate) but I am not looking forward to the next move. Sure I can understand this is a business decision, but accountants are not the best at creating a quality customer experience, just one that wrings the most money out of customers, who will notice a difference if Capita choose to do anything silly.

This biggest issue I face with any immediacy is where I will actually sit in the building and how I access the office, as the two sets of employees will be unable to access each others' areas. That is a challenge in the very open-plan office I am in.

I can apply for VR and will get a very healthy payoff, but really in the current climate, having a job is much more important to me than the possibility to "give myself opportunities".

This whole thing seems to be a case of the spanish trying to buy their way to the top of the game with borrowed money and now suddenly not being able to afford that debt. Telefonica are not alone in that regard.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Glad

I really am glad to have resigned from O2 recently, I wasn't in the contact centres, but have seen the same things happen to lots of the internal teams, and can see it about to happen to the team I was in.

I feel there needs to be a change in the UK corporate Tax an/or accounting laws/regulations. The CAPEX/OPEX ratio is, I think, to blame for the rush to outsource/offshore everything. A UK based Full Time Employee is hired largely out of the OPEX (operating cost) budget, where as a outsourced headcount will be largely charged to the CAPEX budget (capital expenditure). Spending money in new systems/products etc is CAPEX and perceived as good. Spending money maintaining those systems/products/facilities/pension plan/benefits etc is OPEX and is perceived as bad.

If there was a way to have OPEX spend perceived as good or incentivised then it would probably quickly reverse the rush to outsource.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Glad

I think there was something of the same in my first employer. I was in research and development then.

Capital expenditure in introducing a new project or way of working was one thing, but anything that added to operating costs seemed to be anathema. They did do some highly efficient restructuring - literally, some factories were made bigger with the plant from others which were closed - actual employees running the place was reduced with cleaning and delivery done by contractors/contracted companies.

But at the time, any new idea or system that added to revenue had to be shown to bring in a better rate of return than just leaving the pile of money in the bank - the one project I was involved in with costing had a target of about 7% return. In the end most of us were made redundant as they figured they could just buy in the new technology or systems as needed and for less than runing our site with about 40-odd employees.

(Thank you for allowing me to talk about a difficult point in my life, just hit another one now and "it's good to talk")

0
0
Bronze badge

Online chat from O2 - where's that done

used this earlier today when fishing for a deal on going from Pay as you Go to Monthly. Chap ("Hamilton") on the other end was quite helpful and thanked me effusively at the end for being pleasant to deal with.

Slight quirk in his typing "Do you've" for "Do you have" so I wondered if it was off-shored, or a new invention in the English language by young people.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Online chat from O2 - where's that done

much of the e-chat is done in india. Has been for many years. From what I gather they have about 6 terminal windows on the go at once. Hamilton is not their real name.

0
0
Silver badge
Pint

Around 600 (will be) made redundant by August

Quite the boss, this August guy. Sounds a bit french, too.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

The headlong rush to...

So, the former BT Cellnet, still populated with a lot former BT people. At the start of the year, strategic 'partner' 2e2 collapses, and O2 hops into bed with BT Engage. Meanwhile, at the 4G auction, O2 picks up half a usable spectrum, BT the other half. Then the 4G backhaul for O2 is given entirely to... have a guess. Next, 2-3000 staff are moved off the balance sheet. All the while, Telefonica continues to drown in a sea of its own debt.

I'd give it three months, maximum six, before it comes full circle.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: The headlong rush to...

meanwhile we the staff are bent over and get the purple shaft...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: The headlong rush to...

I wish the journalist who suggested that BT's LTE spectrum will be donated to O2 would have gotten his facts straight, BT bought one 5MHz LTE block, which is suitable for (and licensed by ofcom for) data services only. Presumably to help them with there 2Mbs broadband coverage. Proper mobile LTE Voice requires a matched pair of frequency blocks, normally a pair of 5MHz blocks.

Also the news of the O2 / BT circuit deal really isn't that big a news, all the UK "Mo Pho Co's" will probably be purchasing circuits from BT, C&W, Level 3 etc,

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: The headlong rush to...

It's not so much that it is news, rather pieces in a jigsaw.

Besides that, C&W get almost all their last mile from BT now anyway - they instigated a no-dig policy back in 2010 when I was there.

0
0
Holmes

Outsourcing does not equal offshoring

When deals like this are set up typically the company outsourcing have options over the loction of staff. Often buildings are included in the deal which tie the provider in at least for a period to a location.

If the company do not want to offshore then they can dictate this in the contract. If they do want to offshore then they may use the provider as a vehicle to facilitate it but the provider will rarely be dictating it.

This is not an argument to support the outsource, just to provide clarity on the situation. These jobs may eventually move offshore (I have no idea if they will or not) but if they do it is unlikely to be Capitas decision but O2s.

Anyone want to guess how many call centre staff Capita employ in the UK?

According to their website (http://www.capitacustomermanagement.co.uk/) "With over 11,000 employees and sixteen centres in the UK and offshore centres in India and Poland, Capita is one of the largest companies of its kind."

Doesn't say how many offshore but if anyone knows (ie actually knows, not wild assumptions and guesses) it would be interesting to compare. Though, returning to my main point, this will be driven by Capitas clients more than by Capita.

As is the decision tp outsource to Capita in the first place. The article back in April stated that capita already provide most of O2s support for contract tied customers (or something like that). I guess O2 are making an informed decision on whether it's best for them to outsource more to Capita or retain it. whether this is the right decision or not, it's O2s and not Capitas.

0
0
Childcatcher

Re: Outsourcing does not equal offshoring

Outsourcing does not always equal offshoring, but it usually does. Companies such as these - both Capita and O2 / Telefonica are run solely on a for profit basis. O2 / Telefonica don't care about providing you with a phone service, and Capita don't care about providing helpdesk / IT services. These are secondary issues to making money for investors. As soon as Capita say they can do the job for 30% less if they offshore, the UK jobs will be gone.

0
0
Bronze badge
Devil

Re: Outsourcing does not equal offshoring

"With over 11,000 employees and sixteen centres in the UK and offshore centres in India and Poland, Capita is one of the largest companies of its kind."

That doesn't mean anything. They could have 10,998 employees in 14 centres in India, and a bloke called Dave in Shrewsbury occasionally ringing Petr in Warsaw to make sure that he's not too lonely!

0
0

"Telefonica-owned O2 says it will be spending £31m saved through the outsourcing deal on improving its response to customers on social networks and live web chats. "

LOL

0
0
Mushroom

Social Media!!! If people contact companies this way they should be shot, Apple and social media has turned the average internet user into a complete and utter moron.

0
0
Thumb Down

Why?

whta nonsense. I recently had an unsuccessful interaction with a companies call centre to resolve an issue. I went to Twitter and Facebook, posted a short version of my pain on both and got a reposnse from both which resulted in a satisfactory resolution.

I could have spent time pushing the point and trying to raise a complaint with the call centre but social media worked miush more efficiently and effectively for me.

On what basis does that mean I should be shot?

Secondly (you can count can't you?) in what way have apple and social media made the average internet user into a moron?

The avergae cannot be "a moron" as it's conceptual not real. I can see an arguement that says the average has moved to be more moronic though I'm not entirely convinced thats either a bad thing or true.

Let's examine the argument... first internet users were quite smart people, scientists etc... This was quickly followed by pornographers and bookmakers plus their clients. Then more general retail, amazon etc, then Apple and social media may have come along... and increased the number of users... Clearly those initial uses of the internet were not moronic that coffee pot watching webcam brought real advancements in science don't forget. I'm not sure there's a correlation here...

Then lets see would this be a bad thing? Negative impact on morons invading the web and social media?? those that don't want to see it can avoid social media. no impact, those morons have exposure to lots of other morons, no change, you don't need to buy apple products... so what is the impact.. Well some of them may stray into excellent websites like this.. ah, I see your point now.. it was a self fulfilling post. A QED post, self proving.

I think you proved your point about morons.

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

And...

...last night in the pub I find out that O2 by default censor Internet access.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: And...

All major mobile companies do. The government pulled out the big stick on that one.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.