BT commences charm offensive with UK jobs pledge

UK fixed-line market leader BT waited only one working day after getting the green light to acquire EE before commencing a charm offensive that is likely to continue for much of the year.

The company has announced it will be creating 1,000 permanent UK jobs in its call-centres as part of a previously-made pledge to answer over 80% of consumer customer calls from UK-based call-centres by the end of this year, although this new round of recruitment won’t be complete until April 2017.

“We will have created 2,000 permanent UK jobs by the end of this process, including agency transfers, which is a fantastic boost for the UK economy and many regions where we are already a significant employer,” said Libby Barr, MD of customer care at BT Consumer.

“Our advisors have recently agreed to support our investment back in the UK by voting to adopt a new work pattern to ensure we have more people available to answer calls in the UK at weekends and in the evenings. This demonstrates the commitment from everyone at BT to work together to improve customer service and to make things easy for our customers.”

Ewan Taylor-Gibson of uSwitch thinks BT is doing a relatively decent job on customer service. “Ofcom’s latest Quality of Customer Service report shows BT fields a higher percentage of calls for landline billing issues than the sector average, while only 43% of landline billing complaints are resolved in just one call – the average is 47%,” he said.

“Bolstering its frontline customer care team is a clever move in an increasingly competitive market. Service is almost as important to bill payers as reliable broadband connections and fast speeds – it can be the difference between keeping and losing a customer.”

This does seem like a sound strategic move by BT. When it swallows EE it will rightly be perceived as the big beast of the UK telecoms market and with that come distinct PR challenges. Any move to improve customer service is an acknowledgement of that and the fact that BT is so keen to promote the ‘UK jobs’ angle indicates a renewed commitment to winning over both the UK public and regulators that will doubtless be watching the combined company very closely for signs of abusing its dominant position.

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