Vodafone jumps on the job repatriation bandwagon

Vodafone has announced it will be bringing 2,100 new call-centre roles back to UK, replacing current third-party agents who are based in South Africa.

Anti-globalization moves are currently in-vogue for large companies, as the message of British-jobs for British-people seems to be a USP for BT’s Plusnet, while EE has been trying to extract kudos from repatriating its customer service operations for a year. It’s a PR play which will win applause from politicians, who will most likely sing their own praises in bringing jobs back to the UK, but also massage the insecurities of certain demographics in the British population who may feel the move towards globalization is leaving them behind.

Although this could be seen as a relatively shallow move from the telco, it’s a message which does seem to carry weight with the general population. Both the controversial Brexit vote, as well as President Trump’s rise to power, could be partially attributed to a fear of globalization and loss of control. In both instances, the idea of bringing jobs, influence and control back with domestic borders were prominent messages.

“These new, skilled roles will make a real difference to our customers and a real difference to the communities that are the focus of our customer services investment,” said Vodafone UK boss Nick Jeffery. “Our ambition is to give our customers the best experience possible, providing an outstanding level of service and support as we continue to invest in building the biggest and best network in Britain.”

The move itself will create 2,100 jobs across the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland over the next 24 months, though it should be worth noting, only 1200 of those will be directly for the telco. 900 of the new roles will be with Vodafone UK’s third-party customer service partners.

On the customer service side of things, Vodafone seemingly needs as much help as possible. The telco has been situated as the foot of the tables for customer service satisfaction rankings in recent months, though to be fair, this is not a challenge Vodafone is facing along. The UK telcos sector overall is pretty bad at customer service in comparison to other verticals.

To counteract this trend, Vodafone has developed £2 billion investment programme, which will take place over the 2016-19 period, to improve the quality of its UK customer services operations. Increasing the number of customer service agents in the UK is a central pillar of this ambition.

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