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ISP BT to Recruit 500 New Customer Service Staff for the UK and Ireland

Monday, December 12th, 2016 (11:35 am) - Score 739

The consumer (retail) division of BT has today announced that they intend to further improve customer service quality by hiring 500 people for related roles at its business in the United Kingdom and Ireland (mostly front-line positions in customer care).

Today’s move complements BT’s earlier promises to both hire 1,000 extra staff for customer care roles by the end of March 2017 (here) and answer “more than” 80% of customer calls in the United Kingdom by the end of 2016 (here), with the latter also being targeted to reach 90% by March 2017 (the bulk of this effort has already completed).

Apparently the biggest beneficiaries of the extra staff will be BT’s contact centres in Swansea, Warrington, Doncaster and Accrington. Other new jobs will be across the UK and Ireland. The provider will also be offering current Manpower agency staff the chance to convert their role into a permanent job working directly for BT.

Libby Barr, BT Consumer’s MD of Customer Care, said:

“We are proud to be creating these new jobs in the UK and Ireland. BT is completely changing the way we serve our customers in order to boost our service levels.

We are going to answer 90 per cent of our customers’ calls in the UK and Ireland by the end of March, and we have been taking on great people to fill full time jobs working for BT. In fact, we will be recruiting for an extra 500 positons, which will be a dramatic increase in what we said we’d do.

We can offer the chance to join a business that is transforming its service and investing in brilliant and motivated people in the UK and Ireland. There are opportunities to earn £500 by referring a friend and also openings for agency advisors who want to work for BT directly.”

The extra staff should help BT to improve its support quality, which is particularly important for their fixed line broadband products. Ofcom’s Q2 2016 consumer complaints report noted that the ISP attracted more broadband gripes than any of the other major ISPs (here), although they did a better job for fixed line phone services (i.e. fewer complaints than many of their major rivals).

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21 Responses
  1. GNewton says:

    “BT is completely changing the way we serve our customers in order to boost our service levels.”

    A step in the right direction. BT has one of the worst rated customer services for UK companies.

    1. AndyH says:

      Pretty much any company with 5+ million customers will have a poor customer service. When you start looking at the electricity/gas and financial services sectors, it doesn’t get much better there either.

    2. GNewton says:

      @AndyH: I agree, though this is no excuse not to improve the customer service.

      Below is a comparison of BT with a bank and a gas company, taken from trustpilot:

      BT: Bad 0.4 from 0 – 10
      Lloyds Bank: Poor 3.3 from 0 – 10
      British Gas: Average 5.3 from 0 – 10

      As can be seen, and stated by Ofcom, BT has a need to improve, and the recruitment of 500 new customer service staff is a right step.

    3. AndyH says:

      Sure. I think the relocation of staff from India to the UK will also make a big difference as there is a common trend where the quality of overseas customer service is of a lower standard than found domestically.

      BT do have some advantages over their competitors though. Online fault diagnostics + the ability to see the engineer appointment book is a big advantage for those people who are happy to deal with things themselves online. I found that very useful for resolving a line issue in the past.

    4. paul says:


      Sky & Virgin both have a much much better customer service, when i was on BT it felt like we dont care we have over 9 million broadband subs who cares about you.

    5. AndyH says:

      @ Gnewton – I think you put too much faith in Trustpilot. Look how many times BG has been fined by OFGEM for customer failings.

      @ paul – I’ve been with all three providers before. The only one I can fault is VM, but this goes back quite a few years now. On the rare occasion something went wrong with BT and Sky, things were dealt with in a very timely manner and without issue.

    6. GNewton says:

      @AndyH: I am glad to hear you didn’t experience any problems with BT’s customer service.

      However, this does not mean that BT’s customer service doesn’t have issues. If you don’t like Trustpilot, how about Ofcom’s Q2 2016 consumer complaints report, or Thinkbroadband, or ISPReview, BT Business forum, etc, the list goes on and on. The fact is, as many users can confirm, BT’s customer service needs serious improvements!

    7. Data Analysis says:

      Why is it Sky and Virgin do so well but BT and Talk Talk do so poorly? They all have around 5 Million customers (just under 5 million for VM and TT and over 5 Million for Sky and BT).

    8. AndyH says:

      @ Gnewton – Explain to me why VM have a very poor Trust Pilot rating, yet perform as one of (if not the best) ISPs?

    9. AndyH says:

      Sorry, I should add performs the best according to the OFCOM data

    10. MikeW says:

      Perhaps VM do better because they are vertically integrated. They don’t have to go through wholesale hoops.

      Perhaps Sky have done better because, when they do go through the wholesale hoops, their fixes have a 24-hour prioritisation head-start over BT. Or they did have that head-start until this summer, when BT increased the care level of their subscribers, and Sky decreased the care level of their subscribers. I guess we’ll find out over the next couple of years.

    11. GNewton says:

      @AndyH: Virgin Media has 74.2% with a 1-star rating only, while BT has 88% with a 1-star rating on Trustpilot. So yes, both of then with poor customer service ratings. VM has a better hybrid-fibre technology, compared to BT’s FTTC, on average, which might be one of the reasons why VM gets away with it, unlike BT. See also e.g. http://www.thinkbroadband.com/isp/compare.html?isp_7=1&isp_84=1&commit=Compare

    12. FibreFred says:

      Or another view is trustpilot isn’t to be trusted 🙂

      Face it you found a review site that fits in with your hatred of bt so obviously back it

      Any bt news articles on this site are just full of trolls whether the news is good or bad

    13. GNewton says:

      @AndyH: Please ignore FibreFred, he keeps calling names on other posters.

      As I said, there is a need for both VM and BT to improve their customer services. In addition to BT now hiring up to 1500 new staff, which is a positive step, it might help with the continually investing in newer infrastructure which in general should reduce line failures and therefore the need for calling customer services. This will be especially true with fibre lines.

    14. AndyH says:

      @ GNewton – I don’t think it has anything to do with the fixed networks. Sky have a far better OFCOM rating, but a marginally better Trustpilot rating when compared to BT. Both providers have the same ‘final mile’ network.

      Naturally people will generally only post on the likes of Trustpilot when they have a complaint or issue (if things work, why bother to rate you ISP?). Some ISPs actively ask their end users to rate them (Zen for example emails it’s customers to ask for a rating). This will definitely skew things a bit when you have ISPs pushing for essentially positive ratings.

    15. GNewton says:

      @AmdyH: True. How does Ofcom do the rating where Sky seems to be doing better compared to some other rating sites?

  2. John says:

    Manpower are crap. My niece had a job with them under an NHS contract, they were so shabby the NHS department shunned them off and employed her directly.

    They were THAT unimpressed!

  3. Wise Old Owl says:

    It’s not the volume of staff that makes the difference here, it’s the quality and the approach taken to deliver it.

    BT will never make headway by chucking bodies at this, they’ve tried that for years and it simply will not work if service quality is your driver.

    Of course if it’s just about getting call queues down then they’ll make a slight impact.

    What they need to do is change the inherent culture, attitudes and behaviours within BT group first.

    Until they do it’s just another Ofcom appeasement cycle.

    1. gerarda says:

      Agreed. Only if the customer service people are given the tools and authority to actually to solve the problem it will make a difference.

    2. GNewton says:

      @Wise Old Owl: You have a valid point here. Making Openreach more independent might help with this. Also, having a single ownership of responsibility for a customer issue, e.g. line repair, could help. Better than spreading the responsibility across different departments. Improving the communication with end customers would be helpful, too, like some ISPs, such as AAISP, already do.

    3. FibreFred says:

      @Wise Old Owl

      Oh I think this will make all the difference, more onshore staff is a good thing, I’ve always had great service from onshore staff

      @GNewton, this isn’t about Openreach, maybe read the story before inserting your usual, Openreach split, Trustpilot cut and paste trolls.

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