A still smarting Vodafone—which was hit with a record multi-million pound Ofcom fine after it repeatedly breached consumer protection rules—is slowly trying to plaster over the cracks of its botched IT billing system and poor customer service record by hiring thousands of call centre staff in the UK.
It vowed to create 2,100 jobs in England, Scotland, and Wales over the next two years as part of a £2 billion investment plan in an attempt to hit reboot on the carrier’s tarnished reputation. The trend among mobile operators for so-called “on-shoring”—returning call centre jobs to the UK from overseas—is growing, especially among firms that have had their knuckles rapped by regulators.
Last April, BT-owned EE said it was “bringing 100 percent” of its customer service calls back to its home turf after it was fined £1 million by Ofcom for misleading subscribers about their rights when making a complaint. Vodafone, which was whacked with a massive £4.6 million fine from the UK’s communications watchdog in October last year, vowed that the “new roles will enhance quality of service” for its customers.
It plans to create roughly 800 jobs at its customer service centre in Manchester, 150 roles in Newark, hire 150 people in Stoke, and the firm is seeking 100 recruits at Vodafone’s Glasgow hub. “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 service investment,” said Vodafone boss Nick Jeffery.
Vodafone is having to chuck money at the British wing of its network to build coverage and capacity, while at the same time struggling from the fallout of “operational challenges following a billing system migration.” And, while sales have climbed in other parts of Europe, its UK division continues to drag behind. The company recently reported a 3.2 percent service revenue drop in the UK during its third quarter.
Culture secretary Karen Bradley, meanwhile, said that Vodafone’s decision to create thousands of call centre jobs in the UK “is proof that Britain is well and truly open for business”—an oft-repeated ministerial line in the age of Brexit.
Listing image by Vodafone