The Co-operative Bank is an employer that has reaped the benefit of investing in its UK call centre staff and has no plans to move its operations overseas.
The firm’s HR director, Tony Britten, told Personnel Today that it has managed to reduce turnover among its 2,000 call centre staff from 13 per cent to 10 per cent since it introduced a training and development plan, Project Leo in 1999.
Project Leo ensures that new staff receive three-weeks classroom teaching where they learn a variety of skills from customer service to IT operations.
They are then given a mentor who listens to their telephone calls and offers guidance, so that by the end of their first six weeks they have the skills to do the job well.
Britten believes that well-trained and motivated UK call centre staff are more likely to be in tune with an organisation’s customers than overseas employees.
“Our priority is our customers,” he said, “and we view very much the customer interface in terms of service and sales as a major ingredient of our customer relationship.
“It was strategic decision to invest in our call centres and turn them into a world-class operation.
“The bank has continued to increase profits year-on-year but not at the expense of our values.”