After investing over $200 million in their Hobart call centre since 2013 today Vodafone’s Chief Strategy Officer Dan Lloyd announced that they will be offering voluntary redundancies to Hobart call centre staff.
Mr Lloyd claims that there have been two driving factors behind the need to downsize their call centre:
At a press conference this morning the Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said it was a “terrible blow for the people concerned. I can imagine that they will be devastated, their families extremely concerned, so we will do what we can to ensure that we support those people.”
I can understand the Premier being disappointed – 100 jobs are not easy to replace and after Vodafone received both state and federal funding to set up in Tasmania (including payroll relief and a $3.2 million grant since promising to double its workforce) you can understand why the Government might be a little disappointed.
At its peak in 2016 the call centre employed 850 people. 7SD have reported that the following 92 jobs will be cut from the call centre:
Mr Lloyd said the company no longer received any form of federal or state government funding for the Hobart centre.
Former Telstra CEO David Thodey claimed in 2014 that call centres jobs will disappear in five years. Now I’m sure Mr Thodey is a pretty smart guy however given that’s next year I’m feeling pretty confident that he got that horribly wrong. Of course, like any industry, the contact centre industry continues to evolve and I discussed some of those changes with the ABC recently. A quick summary of how call centres have changed includes:
Whilst its easy to get caught up in the hysteria of jobs being lost, Vodafone is continuing to operate a call centre in Tasmania and aren’t simply moving the jobs offshore in an effort cut costs. Like any business, you need to align your workforce to meet demand – too few and its a poor customer experience and too many and you carry unnecessary costs that eat away at profit.
Of course, it’s disappointing when anyone loses their jobs but based on Vodafone’s statement, they are offering voluntary (not forced) redundancies so hopefully its a nice little bonus for people looking to change careers or retire.
And let’s not forget years ago Vodafone was getting smashed for a poor customer experience and if we are lead to believe what they are saying, the millions they have invested in their network to increase stability and network coverage have resulted in fewer complaints. Surely that’s a good thing?