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Sources: Azzurri coughs £1m to end O2 call centre spat

Azzurri has settled a seven-figure dispute with O2 after a financial spat erupted over a Glasgow call centre it runs on behalf of the telco, well-placed sources have told The Channel. Under the multi-year outsourcing agreement, Azzurri - an O2 Centre of Excellence partner - was paid a fee to run a support desk for O2's small biz …
Paul Kunert, 05 Nov 2013
The Register breaking news

UK gov call-centre serfs told: Fondle your button for HAPPINESS

Has anyone in the world ever phoned up a call centre to pass on how overjoyed they are about an organisation and its services? The British government certainly seems to think so, because it's introduced a new on-screen button for its headset-sporting apparatchiks to hit whenever someone rings up to heap praise. Designed by El …
Jasper Hamill, 27 Aug 2013
The Register breaking news

BBC-featured call centre slapped with hefty fine for unwanted calls

A company that is currently featuring on the BBC3 television programme The Call Centre has been fined £225,000 for making nuisance calls to Brits, the Information Commissioner's Office said today. The penalty - the first ever awarded to a cold-calling firm offering payment protection insurance refunds - was slapped on two …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Jun 2013

MtGox to customers: Your call is important to us … NOT!

Bitcoin owners keen to understand just what failed exchange MtGox may be able to do for them remain in the dark, after the outfit set up a call centre that, so far as The Register can tell, seldom picks up the phone. MtGox declared bankruptcy last week, taking more than $US400m worth of Bitcoin with it. Users are understandably …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2014
The Register breaking news

O2 scoffs at call-centre outsource fears, forgets to rule it out completely

Rumours that O2 UK plans to outsource all its telephone support work have been dismissed as speculation by the mobile network operator. The cynical among us will note that's not the same as completely ruling it out. The whisperings were enough to prompt an emergency motion from the Communication Workers Union, stating that more …
Bill Ray, 25 Apr 2013

IT bloke publishes comprehensive maps of CALL CENTRE menu HELL

Most people can't bear to use automated call centre phone lines for even a few minutes. But one former IT manager has spent seven years on the phone in a bid to produce a map of Britain's phone menus. Nigel Clarke, a self-confessed "call centre menu enthusiast", released details of his project today on a site called www. …
Jasper Hamill, 17 May 2013
IBM Watson QA Power7 cluster

IBM puts supercomputer Watson to work in ROBOT CALL CENTRE

It's clever enough to beat humans on quiz shows and diagnose illnesses, but is IBM's artificially intelligent supercomputer tough enough to cope with angry consumers who've been on hold for three hours? IBM certainly seems to think so, as it has just given Watson a new job as a customer service manager. Rather than phoning a …
Jasper Hamill, 21 May 2013
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Dell to axe 1,000-plus call-centre bods, enterprise staff in prep to go private

Dell is laying off staff in its enterprise division, The Register understands, as company honcho Michael Dell prepares to take his firm private. El Reg has heard that Dell is steadily ridding itself of enterprise workers, including senior technologists, strategists, developers, and sales employees, as well as a vice-president. …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2013
The encryption key generation screen from Kim Dotcom's preview of his new cloud storage service

Dotcom's Mega to launch with mini call centre

The new mega.co.nz will launch with 50 gigabytes of cloud storage for all comers and a global customer support line, but just 15 to 20 staff to handle calls. Kim Dotcom has announced the 50GB allowance on Twitter, and Australian-based domain name registrar Instra has put up its hand as the new service's call centre. Instra's …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jan 2013
Preston McAfee Magic Formula

Do Telstra’s call centre cuts add up?

Telstra has announced it will close call centres in Lismore and downsize another in Townsville, and cut other jobs around the nation. The carrier has said the call centre jobs will go because call volumes have fallen 20% in the last 12 months. 30 per cent of customers, the company says, now use online customer service facilities …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

Capita and pals get £500m for ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE call centre

The Department of Health (DH) has awarded a framework agreement to four suppliers for health-related managed contact centre services, worth up to £500m. Capita Customer Management, 118, Vangent and MM Teleperformance have been named as the chosen suppliers. According to a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union, the …
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Phoenix burns engineering and Northampton call centre jobs

Phoenix IT Group has told HQ-based call centre staff and a bunch of field engineers that their jobs are at risk of redundancy, insiders have told The Channel. The headcount reduction is part of a phased plan to chop 300 workers, and is understood to have led to some rationalisation in sales and marketing including the exit of …
Paul Kunert, 30 May 2012
T-Mobile Vairy Touch II

App cuts waiting out of call centre queues

A free app that takes away the frustration of being kept on hold during phone calls to corporations has launched in the UK, saving mobile users a pretty penny in the process, its developer claims. Matt King's WeQ4U promises to do all the waiting for you. The patent pending app allows you to hang up without losing your place in …
Caleb Cox, 01 Mar 2012
Prison window

Ever get the impression a telesales op was being held prisoner?

Have you ever had the impression that a telesales operator on the phone to you was actually being held prisoner against their will? Well, next time they might very well be because the unlucky inmates of HM Prison Grampian, Peterhead, are about to be put to work in a custom-built call centre. The new prison replaces two old …
Jasper Hamill, 04 Mar 2014
The Register breaking news

500 jobs threatened as Virgin Media shutters Liverpool call centre

Virgin Media is closing its outsourced call centre in Albert Dock, Liverpool, and "consolidating" its operations by shifting to an existing site in Swansea. The telco said it hoped to "create a new in-house centre of excellence for customer management in Swansea". VM's two sites are run by IBM and its contract partners Adecco …
Kelly Fiveash, 30 Sep 2011
The Register breaking news

Virgin outsources techies, pulls plug on Trowbridge call centre

Virgin Media has announced a major overhaul of its IT operations on the same day it revealed plans to shutter a call centre in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, which has almost 500 staff members. The winding up of the call centre is part of Virgin's plan to shift its Mobile operation into the Virgin Media operation, which will mean a …
Team Register, 04 May 2011
hands waving dollar bills in the air

London fire brigade outsources 999 control centre to Capita

The London fire brigade is to outsource its 999 control centre to Capita. The deal will see Capita run the call centre on behalf of the brigade and also supply a new 999 control system. The 10-year agreement is expected to save the brigade £5m over its lifetime and is expected to go live later this year. Under the contract, …
The Register breaking news

Alan Sugar's 'cockup braindead in call centre clueless' BT row

Alan Sugar showed UK business how to secure tip top service from BT today, pursuing a dual strategy of ranting on twitter while pulling the "don't you know who I am" line on the call centre staff. Trouble first started brewing about six hours ago, with LordAlun taking a break from slagging off Piers Morgan and touting his new …
Joe Fay, 07 Dec 2010
The Register breaking news

Salmat to close city and regional call centres

Call centre outsourcing company Salmat has announced that Telstra is dispensing with most of the call centre services it supplies to the carrier. With a loss of business estimated at between AU$4 million and AU$5 million in EBITDA terms, the company will be closing call centres in regional centres Geelong, Wagga Wagga and …
The Register breaking news

BT call centre staff snaffle £45m lottery win

A syndicate of seven or eight BT call centre staff are celebrating a massive Euromillions lottery win today. The workers, from BT's Royal House call centre in Liverpool, did not realise they'd won until they got into work this morning. They share a £45m win - giving each person a win of about £5.5m. Two different tickets won …
John Oates, 09 Nov 2009
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Boss at 'Microsoft' scam support biz told to cough £000s in comp

A fraudster who conned consumers, particularly silver surfers, into parting with cash to fix phantom PC bugs was handed a suspended sentence on Friday and ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs and compensation. The national e-crime squad based in Yorkshire, together with ActionFraud, brought the case against Mohammed …
Paul Kunert, 31 Mar 2014
The Register breaking news

Call recording cloud gets funding and ex-Telstra exec

Australian cloud based phone call recording company, 1300 Record, has secured $AU1.5 million in first tranche funding from Innovation Capital, ahead of a marketing push. 1300 Record has developed a platform that allows businesses and individuals to record and store phone calls without the need for equipment or software. The …
The Register breaking news

Garlands folds: 1000 call-centre jobs axed in Northeast

Garlands Call Centres has gone into administration with the likely loss of 1,000 jobs in the north east. The firm, which worked with Vodafone, TalkTalk and Virgin Media among others, promised better staff development than many call centres are infamous for. It had centres in Hartlepool Marina, Middlesborough and South Shields …
John Oates, 18 May 2010

British visa website goes TITSUP... just before XMAS HOLIDAYS

The UK Border Agency has admitted its Visa4UK website has collapsed after the world and their aunt tried to log on. On its website, the UKBA apologised for any inconvenience to visa-seekers wanting to get into Britain. It advised people to go to a visa centre in the real world if they are desperate to plan their visits. In a …
Jasper Hamill, 22 Nov 2013
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Survey: Call centre data standards 'routinely ignored'

More than 95% of call centres were found to store customers' credit card details in recordings of phone conversations in breach of industry rules, according to a survey conducted by a call recording technology company. Veritape said that when it talked to 133 call centre managers, only 39% of them knew about industry rules …
OUT-LAW.COM, 16 Oct 2009
Bitcoin bloodbath

MtGox: Yup, we're pretty sure your Bitcoin were stolen. Sorry about that.

Defunct Bitcoin exchange MtGox has revealed a little more information about its problems, updating its sparse webpage with an “Application for commencement of a procedure of Civil Rehabilitation”. The new statement (with MtGox's punctuation intact) says that “At the start of February 2014, illegal access through the abuse of a …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2014

Our Moderately Sized Data analytics engine pooh-poohs Acer '30 second support' claims

Biz customers with broken Acer kit might want to sling a call into the technical centre: then put on the kettle and make a cuppa, because they could be on hold for a lot longer than they were expecting. Certainly longer than the half a minute average response time that Jakob Jersild Olsen, veep at Acer's commercial division EMEA …
Paul Kunert, 19 Mar 2014
The Register breaking news

Call centre manager in the frame over ID scam

An Indian call centre manager is under investigation over allegations he used the identities of Brits to run an insurance fraud scam. Edward Burn, 30, has reportedly confessed to using the details of 12 people to make fictitious insurance claims valued at £56,900 through insurance firm Aviva, whose brands include Norwich Union …
John Leyden, 20 Jan 2009
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PC World cuts off Capita call centre contract

PC World owner DSGi has decided not to renew its call centre outsourcing contract with Capita and will instead bring 1,300 staff back in house. Call centres in Sheffield and Nottingham will return to the DSGi fold on September 2. The original contract, signed in 2004, is due to finish during April. The pair have signed a six …
™ Big Data In Focus

Big Data? Yeah, nice buzzword. Give us the nuts and bolts this time

Big Data has crossed the chasm from hype to everyday reality remarkably quickly. Its adoption has been accelerated by hungry data warehousers using big data techniques to get better answers from their data mining activities. ™ Big Data In Focus Attending the TM Big Data InFocus 2014 conference in Amsterdam, it became …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jan 2014
channel

BT's onshoring call centres scheme continues

BT's aim of bringing call centres back to the UK continues to make progress. A Reg reader was told by a business broadband support line that all support for that part of BT's business should be back in the UK by next May. The telco never promised to bring back all its support functions but said last July it aimed to onshore as …
John Oates, 10 Sep 2010

Microsoft links Skype to Lync

Microsoft has connected its consumer voice over IP tool Skype to its business grade unified communications tool Lync. The upshot of the move is that Skype users can now call anyone with a Lync account, after the usual to-ing and fro-ing with invitations. As most Lync users work inside a businesses big enough to either run a …
Simon Sharwood, 30 May 2013

Alca-Lu plots enterprise exit, again

Alcatel-Lucent once again hopes to exit the enterprise business to concentrate on the carrier and service provider markets. Reuters is reporting the move as part of Alca-Lu's plan to shed €1 billion worth of assets by 2015. The news agency's sources have told it that Lazard Limited is advising the vendor on the sale. Finding a …
The Register breaking news

Indian call centre credit card 'scam' exposed

An undercover investigation by the BBC has exposed evidence of the theft of credit card details by workers at an Indian call centre used by security giant Symantec. A BBC reporter posing as a fraudster bought allegedly stolen but valid UK card details from a Delhi-based man, who denies any wrongdoing. Three of the victims of the …
John Leyden, 20 Mar 2009

AIM-listed Coms hoovers up Actimax for £3.4m

Acquisitive cloud-based telephony player Coms Plc has hoovered loss-making comms dealer Actimax in a cash splurge that could rise to £3.4m depending on results. AIM-listed Coms, which dug deep and found £9.5 to buy Redstone back in November, also revealed it is planning to place more shares on the market to raise £7.9m after …
Paul Kunert, 12 Feb 2014

What's the point of data centre orchestration?

Flipping the script on the 80/20 rule is the idea of data centre orchestration. It promises to take 80 per cent of the time IT departments spend fire-fighting and reallocate it to service delivery – putting big smiles on board members' faces and increasing job satisfaction in the IT department. Good luck with that, you might …
Phil Mitchell, 04 Jul 2011
The Register breaking news

3 lays off Glasgow call centre staff

3 is to slash numbers at its Glasgow call centre from the current 540 to fewer than 400, the telco announced yesterday. Some calls will be handled at the company's Mumbai office. 3 said the call centre was set up when the company had no retail presence and was building up a customer base. Now, with four million customers, it …
Bill Ray, 24 Jan 2007

John Lewis unzips mega Oracle ERP package

Flagship British retailer John Lewis is starting a massive ERP rollout on Oracle as part of an ongoing business transformation project. John Lewis has picked Oracle over SAP and unnamed “other” candidates in a four-year project to modernise its inventory and customer systems, The Reg has learned. Oracle will replace 50 legacy …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Feb 2014
HP

Former HP boss in the dock over call centre murder

The Indian supreme court has cleared the way for prosecution of an HP boss for alleged liability in the rape and murder of a call centre worker by a cab driver contracted by the company. The court ruled that Som Mittal was potentially responsible for the safety and protection of Pratibha Srikant Murthy, clearing the way for a …
John Leyden, 22 Feb 2008
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Man cuffed in Bangalore call centre scam probe

Police in Bangalore say they have arrested a man allegedly involved in "financial scam" operating from an HSBC call centre, the BBC reports. Data operator Nadeem Kashmiri was charged with "hacking the computer system which allegedly led to money being stolen from customer accounts". Kashmiri allegedly supplied data to …
Lester Haines, 28 Jun 2006
channel

Kingston swallows call centre firm

East Yorkshire telco Kingston Communications has bought IP-based call centre software firm JAM IP for £2.56m. The privately-held Berkshire-based outfit will fit into Kingston's Affiniti enterprise reselling and consultancy business. JAM IP develops and consults on applications for IP contact centre management such as screen …

Apple seeks patent for mood-sensing technology

Apple is seeking a patent on something it calls “Inferring user mood based on user and group characteristic data” that its application says would figure out how you are feeling and “... then deliver content that is selected, at least in part, based on the inferred mood.” The patent application observes that “While the …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Feb 2014
The Register breaking news

Ofcom fines TalkTalk AGAIN - a whopping £750k over 'abandoned calls' gaffe

Ofcom has once again fined telco TalkTalk, after the company swamped potential customers with silent calls. It now has to pay £750,000 for failing to comply with UK law. The ISP was hit with a massive £3m penalty from the communications watchdog in 2011 for wrongly billing tens of thousands of customers for services they never …
Kelly Fiveash, 18 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

AOL cans UK call centre

AOL is pulling out of its call centre contract in Scotland, leaving it without UK-based customer support. Call centres will now be based offshore in the Republic of Ireland and India. A spokesman for the ISP told The Register the decision was motivated by the rapidly disappearing dial-up business. AOL's broadband expertise is …

Axe falls: Virgin Media plans to kill 600 management jobs

Virgin Media is shedding up to 600 management jobs in the wake of Liberty Global's takeover of the British telco. The Register understands that the cost-cutting restructure is intended to help the company focus on growth. A source close to the situation told us that, in the coming months, most of the other UK-based positions – …
Kelly Fiveash, 20 Sep 2013

Buy IT Direct: Sales up by a third, but IT kit NOT behind boom

Buy IT Direct, one of the last major independent tech e-tailers of size, pushed up turnover by more than a third in '13 but told us demand for kitchen appliances and baby products were largely behind the bounce. Revenues for the Huddersfield-based online trader climbed 34 per cent to £93.4m in the year to 31 March 2013, …
Paul Kunert, 12 Feb 2014
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1,000 O2 staff chose redundancy over Capita

Another 400 O2 staff will be redundant by December, something the union calls "a betrayal". The operator, meanwhile, claims it is proof of just how generous the voluntary offer was. Both sides agree that 1,000 O2 staff will be made redundant as the remaining call centres are outsourced to Capita, and that this is more than the …
Bill Ray, 12 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

First Data opens Glasgow call centre

US payments processor First Data announced it will open a call centre in Glasgow, creating 430 jobs over the next five years. The Scottish Executive has punted £2.3m in development cash to attract First Data away from international competitors. The firm sells point of sale and cash machine services to banks and card companies …
The Register breaking news

ATA CEO resigns

The ATA, the peak body for call centre industry, has lost its CEO Michael Meredith, who held the position for 12 years, has resigned to pursue other business activities. The ATA, formerly known as the Australian Teleservices Association, is a lobbying, education networking organisation. The call centre industry in Australia …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

Voice-routing call fingerprint system fights 'vishing'

Security researchers in the States say they have developed a cunning new method of "fingerprinting" voice calls that could offer a route to trustworthy caller ID and a barrier against so-called "vishing" or voice phishing. The tool is called PinDr0p, and works by analysing the various characteristic noise artifacts left in audio …
Lewis Page, 06 Oct 2010