How the success of contact centres in the North East is supporting the region’s economic recovery
By Guy Currey, Director of Invest North East England
The North East accent is often cited as one of the most appealing in the UK. It’s viewed to be trustworthy, warm, and friendly.
It’s one of the reasons many people think there’s a high concentration of customer contact centres in North East England. And whilst it does have a role to play, it would be unfair to pin all the credit on the accent – as lovely as it is.
There are more than 145 customer contact centres in North East England employing over 50,000 people, making it an important part of our regional economy – both in terms of employment and wealth creation.
Providing a wide and varied choice of jobs, customer contact centres appeal to a large demographic of the workforce, including people just starting out on their careers, those looking for more flexible working hours, people looking for a career change, and those returning to the world of work.
It’s also really important to mention that working in a customer contact centre doesn’t just mean responding to inbound and outbound calls. There’s a whole host of job opportunities on offer; everything from management roles and team leader positions, to technical specialists and HR professionals. The list goes on.
So, if it’s not just the accent that’s drawing businesses to set up customer contact centres in North East England, what is it that makes us such a popular destination?
North East England is the most cost competitive location for business premises and talent in the whole of the UK, making it an attractive proposition for investors and companies looking to access high quality skills and property.
The workforce in the North East has gained its reputation as being loyal, dedicated and extremely adaptable, which has resulted in the region having some of the lowest staff turnover rates in the country. As staff attrition is one of the major costs for a business in the sector this is a very significant advantage.
Staff adaptability has really been highlighted during the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen thousands of contact centre workers move very quickly and efficiently to a home working model. The sector’s response has been outstanding, particularly at a time when there has been a significant uptake in demand.
Of course many customer contact centres have continued to operate from their current sites, introducing COVID-safe working practices and adapting their offices to protect the health and wellbeing of staff and employees.
Grade A office availability
The availability of Grade A office space in the North East is another important factor in the success of customer contact centres in the region, and the choice of accommodation on offer will be important as the sector responds to the changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. If there is a need for contact centres to disperse staff to ensure social distancing, the North East has the quality yet affordable office space in both city centres and out of town business parks to accommodate this.
Quality of life
Offering some of the lowest commute times in the country workers in our region spend less time travelling to and from work meaning they can take advantage of our fantastic coast, country or city centre entertainment. Our city centres and out of town business parks are superbly connected via public transport links and road networks.
Despite the economic challenges the country is facing, there are real opportunities available in the North East, and some encouraging signs of new investment projects on their way. The popularity of northshoring – moving business operations out of expensive parts of the South to more cost effective locations in the North – has resulted in a number of new businesses choosing to base themselves in the region.
Europe’s largest domestic alarm provider, Verisure UK Services Limited, has recently chosen Quorum Business Park, North Tyneside, as the location for its new customer service centre. The award winning company aims to create 1,000 jobs over the next ten years. In addition to this we will shortly be announcing a major investment by an international company we have been working with for some time which will create hundreds of new jobs in the region in its new UK HQ.
The significant shift we’ve seen in the ways people are working because of the coronavirus pandemic provides an opportunity for the North East. We can use our adaptability to our advantage, and support those businesses looking to transform how they operate.
So whilst we may have a canny accent in the North East, it’s our reputation for highly skilled, professional talent; quality Grade A office accommodation; cost competitiveness; and excellent infrastructure, that makes us one of the best places in the country to base a customer contact centre.
As the first point of contact for companies looking to locate in the region, Invest North East England help businesses identify and understand the opportunities available. Our well-connected team supports companies with a wide range of information and advice including the availability of suitable properties, financial assistance, and skills.
Contact us today to find out how we can support your move to North East England.