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Integration of Pipex to mean job losses
Tuesday 30 October 2007 14:41:39 by Andrew Ferguson

The Register is quoting sources saying that Tiscali will outsource the support for services within the Pipex Broadband and Voice divisions that it now owns to places like North Africa and India starting in January 2008.

If the jobs are outsourced there will of course be redundancies at existing call centres, and it looks like this may be up to 650 jobs across the various call centres. The job losses are apparently to take place in three rounds starting in January 2008 and ending in April 2008.

"Following the acquisition of The Pipex broadband and voice division in September, alignment of our key operations is important to ensure we maximise the opportunity for the Tiscali UK Group moving forward.
Where we can make decisions we are moving forward quickly, but we are in an internal consultation process with employees and will not discuss specific plans or sites outside of that."

Tiscali Statement

Overseas call centres are commonplace within many areas of customer service these days. All too often it seems this is done as a cost cutting exercise or as a way of improving things like measurable statistics (e.g. call answer time, time to close tickets etc) as opposed to something that is much harder to judge and that is resolving an issue to the satisfaction of the customer. The fact a call centre is overseas does not mean it is automatically bad, but staff are at a disadvantage immediately as there is no way they can be using the same broadband service at home, and are much more reliant on what management tells them about how things work.

We hope Tiscali with these moves will take a close look at the level of service that will be offered as a result of the changes, and ensure support does not become just another support by checklist operation. The Pipex customers include consumers and small businesses from a number of suppliers Pipex itself acquired over the years, so if people perceive a negative change in support levels, loyalty could easily stretch to breaking point.


Posted by Newnetteruser over 9 years ago
And there yet again is another reason to drop them and never return!
Posted by cloister over 9 years ago
Roger that! (mind you I dropped them a few years ago and I ain't coming back!)
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
"We hope Tiscali with these moves will "take a close look at the level of service that will be offered as a result of the changes"

A quick glance at the Pipex/Tiscali forums would suggest that quality of service is the last thing these ISP's care about.......
Posted by SteveToplek over 9 years ago
Tiscali...customer service... words never normally used together in a sentence with a positive context.
Posted by ruskin0 over 9 years ago
I was thinking of going to Pipex, just as well i read this, wont be joining them now. Oversea helpdesks are the main downside with regard to customer services. What other reason is there for engaging overseas helpdesks other than cost cutting ( slave labour)?
Posted by taras over 9 years ago
I haven't tried Tiscali's help desk this year (will be soon I think). Anyhow it was appaling last year.

Please don't want: "reboot the machine" rubish, but people that can actually understand the problem without using "i am consulting my book, please hold on"....

Posted by DoubleJ over 9 years ago
Up to 650 support staff jobs at risk? News here on 13 July said Pipex had 570,000 broadband customers. That's a very high support staff / customer ratio. Better than the GP or NHS Dentist / patient ratios! Yet many folk are posting in the forum saying support is poor with long wait times! Either I'm looking at the wrong figures or... if Pipex needs so many support staff, it must be ill! Wouldn't it be better to reduce costs by getting Pipex well and providing so good a service that such a high support staff per customer ratio isn't needed?
Posted by superbike999 over 9 years ago
If they locate the call centre in Outer Mongolia, it could hardly be worse than the "customer service" offered by Pipex. After numerous problems, I asked for a MAC code via email. My message was deleted without being read on numerous occasions and it took me 10 days to resolve the matter. I can only hope that those responsible are amongst those who are losing their jobs.
Posted by darkhorizon472472 over 9 years ago
This will be a tough and worrying time for their UK employees. Alot of companies still go for the cheap outsource abroad details without acknowledging the hidden costs to their business and customers. Often they do it for a combination of cost and expected improved performance. Normally they get a similar cost overall and worse peformance from a resource they no longer have direct control over.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Half the staff are rude, useless, lie and have no knowledge anyway so in that regard to those staff members im sorry but i have no sympathy. The only staff i have sympathy over losing there job were ones at pipex that done their best to help under difficult circumstances and truely did care about the customer. These are few and far between thoug and to be honest they will probably go on to work for a better company where they are appreciated.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
As to the rest of them, i imagine there will be no difference with overseas support, infact compared to some that worked at pipex it will be an improvement.
Posted by dopamine2 over 9 years ago
As a current Pipex customer, I can say with certainty that outsourcing their "customer service" cannot possibly make it worse. It's already dire. This just proves that Tiscali/Pipex are still riding the wave of new and naive broadband users. When the market is saturated, their lack of attention to customers will cost them dear, and that can't happen soon enough for me.
Posted by irrelevant over 9 years ago
I've not been a pipex customer for a few years, but even then, support calls involved hours on hold followed by ridiculous reboot & reset settings garbage, (on all machines on the LAN??) when a traceroute could see that the problem was out in their network. Good riddance.
Posted by glorywall26 over 9 years ago
As a F2S customer,i generally find support staff helpfull,but lately there have been a lot of `exchange`problems with either BT or Easynet.Now that support is going overseas i have decided its time to move.
I would like to ask for comments on the new 02 broadband or BE internet and also Sky.
Which would be best do you think?
I would be very thank full for all replies.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Glorywall26 post in the which ISP forum for honest advice, bethere IMO and others seem good but if you dont want overseas support thats them ruled out.
Posted by superbike999 over 9 years ago
I moved from Pipex to Zen, which was very reliable, although expensive. I've now moved to O2 (on 29/10) and so far it's been good. If you have an O2 mobile phone, it's virtually half price. UK support & 100 day cancellation if you're not happy with them.
Posted by mrbuzzmaverick over 9 years ago
I'd been with Pipex for 4 years as a Broadband home customer... after hearing they had been taken over by Tiscali I feared stuff like this would happen and so transferred my broadband over to Be Unlimited (which as it turns out is much better value and very, very fast) just this week. In fairness to Pipex it only took 3 calls!! to get my MAC code (10 days total) and then 7 once I had it for Be to get everything done.

Pipex WILL lose existing customers because of Tiscali, but they will gain more as a result of the general unware public going for anything from big names (Tiscali)
Posted by synapse1_618 over 9 years ago
In today’s market, keeping an edge on competitors is crucial. Cost control is one aspect that businesses have control over and outsourcing overseas to reduce costs is going to happen. However, this should not be done to the detriment of providing a decent level of service. I do not understand why any company is still considering India for voice. Yes, on IT or back office, India is very strong, but not on any voice processes.
Posted by synapse1_618 over 9 years ago
If you are going to outsource for financial reasons, at least balance it with decent service, not just robots who answer the phone in 10 seconds, but cant answer your questions and cant have a proper conversation or build any rapport with a customer.
Posted by synapse1_618 over 9 years ago
After all, all customers wants when they phone a call centre is to have someone listen to what they say, show some empathy when they have a problem, and fix the problem, or at least pass you to someone who can fix it. I’m sure everyone would rather wait an extra 1 or 2 minutes if need be, to speak to someone who can sort out your problem quickly and efficiently rather than have the phone answered quickly and someone on the other end who is not listening to what you are saying.
Posted by synapse1_618 over 9 years ago
I am a customer of Madasafish’s, and have experienced their Customer Service & Technical Support first hand. It happens to be based in South Africa and I have to say that it is excellent. I really think that if companies are going to outsource, I don’t think any destination outside the UK has as much to offer as South Africa, and to be honest, I think their service is better than most call centres based in the UK.
Posted by synapse1_618 over 9 years ago
You can’t buy a genuine concern from an agent doing their best to help you in a positive and polite way, and let’s face it, this is often lacking with many UK call centre staff (though there are many good staff too).
Posted by synapse1_618 over 9 years ago
South Africa can nearly compete on price with India (a good 50% cheaper than UK), proper English is spoken, there is only 1-2 hours time difference to UK, there is western cultural influence, and it is part of the British Commonwealth. Most importantly, they have staff who care about supporting a customer, and not giving scripted answers that don’t apply to your query. So I would suggest to Tiscali to re-think their strategy, and if they are going to outsource, rather balance cost savings with quality of service, or face losing a large numbers of their customers.
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