5 reasons your customer service operation should be in the North East

by | Sep 20, 2016

Virgin Trains this week opened an 85 seat contact centre here in the North East, joining many of the UK’s leading brands who have customer service operations in the North East. There’s good reason for that. Here’s 5:

1. Heritage

The North East has a rich heritage in providing outsourced services to companies throughout the UK and further afield. Many of the UK’s largest outsourcing companies have operational sites in the North East, such as Serco and Capita. Since the industrial and manufacturing industries in the North East have declined, the service industries have increased dramatically. Many government offices and agencies were, and still are based in the North East.

As well as outsourced contact centres, we have warehouses, software developers, back office providers, technology companies, IT providers, software houses, design agencies and web developers all with incredible histories and abilities.

2. People

Its not just outsourcers that have large operations in the North East. Many national or global corporates also have service offices in our region. The North East has a wealth of contact centre operations, partly due to our friendly accents, which are often voted as the most welcoming for customer services. Major companies with contact centres in the North East include:

  • BT
  • Sky
  • Virgin Money
  • Virgin Trains
  • Everything Everywhere
  • Vodafone
  • AA
  • More Than
  • Barclays
  • Capgemini
  • TUI and many more

As a result, there is a very rich talent pool of contact centre advisors available. Good outsourcers are frequently able to cherry pick from some of the best people available in any particular industry.

Unlike in other parts of the UK, such as London, employee tenure is often way above average levels. Especially in the contact centre industry, which typically has a very high churn rate. At Spark Response for example, the average staff tenure in our inbound contact centre is over 9 years.

It’s not just the contact centre world where talent is available. There is a healthy talent pool across sectors such as IT, Design, Web Development, Back Office Management, Manufacturing and many others.

3. Innovation

The North East Is a hotbed of creativity and innovation across multiple sectors. We have a range of development bodies available to help budding entrepreneurs to successfully launch their business ideas. Digital City at Teesside University is fast becoming one of the leading digital hubs in the UK. Sunderland Software City is at the heart of the thriving software industry in the North East whilst Newcastle Science City is helping to create world wide recognition for our expertise in scientific fields. The North East is also fast developing itself as a hotbed of gaming development. Eutechnyx and Ubisoft Reflections are just two of the major players with development offices in the region.

Not to mention the many manufacturing and technology companies who are truly leading the way in their fields, app developers bringing their exciting ideas to the stores of Apple and Android, and design and creative agencies who are pushing boundaries of design and user experience.

The innovative culture spills over into all areas of business in the North East, so we all benefit in one way or another.

4. Economy

We’ll openly admit that the North East economy is not the strongest of all the regions in the UK. We acknowledge that house prices are lower, unemployment is higher, and GDP is lower than in other regions. However, that all delivers advantages for companies who choose to outsource to the North East. Why?

  • A shortage of jobs leads to an increase in employee tenure. Leading to experienced staff.
  • Real estate, such as development land is typically less expensive than in and around other major cities.
  • As a result, rent and rates can be cheaper than in other cities such as London.
  • As rent or property costs are lower, businesses don’t always need to charge quite so much to recover those costs, meaning activity costs can be lower.
  • Overall salary costs are also lower in the North East, again leading to a possible cost saving versus other regions.

5. Location

What can you do in 2 hours and 36 minutes? Watch a film? Read a magazine or a few chapters of a good book? Write a report?

You could do all of those on a train from London Kings Cross to Newcastle Central Station, which can take as little as, you guessed it, 2 hours 36 minutes. That’s not long is it, really?

Occasionally, we’ll be told that outsourcing to the North East just doesn’t make sense logistically. That we’re “too far from London”, which would make meetings or regular visits difficult. Whilst we accept that the North East is a couple of hundred miles from London, it’s not exactly a long haul flight away. The East Coast Main Line is a fantastic service, with trains between Newcastle Durham, and Darlington to London every 30 minutes, or less. Our clients regularly tell us that they do their best work when they’re on the train, free from day to day office distractions.

And once you’re here, why not look around? Explore the modern city centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, the bustling Gateshead Quayside, or the historic cathedral and cobbled streets of Durham. Pay a visit to the picturesque coastal towns of Tynemouth or Whitby, or spend a weekend in our secret paradise, Northumberland, with its dramatic coastlines and lush, rolling countryside.

Honestly, pay us a visit, we guarantee you’ll want to see more. And we haven’t even mentioned the Bigg Market and our famous nightlife once… (excluding that one, nevermind).

Could outsourcing benefit your customer service operation?