A call centre closing on the Côte d’Azur? Oh con…
The announced closure of the site of Conduent call centre (the former BPO division of Xerox) located in Sophia Antipolis (Provence) underlines the burning need for a call centre platform to have several clients. It is also rich in other lessons for outsourcing specialists.
220 phone callers paid to stop taking calls
For Apple Care, in this case. The only client of the site located in Biot, Apple Care has for several months denounced the contract that binds them to Conduent, which provokes the technical unemployment of the consultants of the site of the outsourcer, one of the three they manage in France, the other two being located in Ardeche, Guilherand-Granges (near Valence) and the third in Roubaix. Since July, employees of the company have been placed under the regime of the provision (a provision that allows them to collect their salary without actually working) and a general meeting should be held on the spot.
It is difficult to know more, as no executive of the American company has responded to us since we started contacting them in May, the same goes for the leader in France, Jean Christophe Périvier. We simply know that within the other call centres and the company recruits -especially in Ardeche but also in Agadir- the social climate has never been very good in the specialist French platforms against the many strikes that have enamelled the life of the centres for three years. On Indeed, some contributors mention the Titanic to describe the health and atmosphere in Conduent.
Proposals for reclassification would have been made to employees, including that to join the Rhone Alpes region site, which doesn’t seem to appeal much to the local staff.
In Nice, not far, Convers is in good shape
Eric Ciotti, Republican MP (Alpes Maritimes) lamented the closure of the centre of Conduent that will send almost all employees of the company on to the dole. He will be able, if he wishes, to note that the sector can also know a better form, to visit the dynamic provider who has been settled for a long time in Nice: Convers, led by a trio of passionate managers. They have been experimenting for a long time with new social models for a difficult job, that of telemarketing.
In France, however, the loss of outsourcing contracts with prime contractors is not always synonymous with site closures: Sitel in Périgny (La Rochelle), the second employer in the Charentes Maritime department, four years ago experienced the same situation and nevertheless managed to amortize the shock related to the loss of contracts without dismissing any employees. Convergys, which became Concentrix in Angers, had to absorb in two years the decreases in activity related to the end of its contracts with Canal Plus or Orange Business Services (OBS), which would have the effect of slightly altering the social climate (wage increases are more difficult in this case) but did not cause the closure of the site.
How do you offer flexibility and manage contact flows and their peaks, and simultaneously give employees, in a fairly difficult job, a form of desire and prospects? How do you attract experienced executives when their position is confined to being a messenger, awaiting confirmation from executives far away in another country before they can act? (for example replies to e-mails of journalists that must all be cleared by superiors abroad) Is it really possible to run an enterprise in one country, working from a different country with few cultural similarities and a lack of local input? A question that big American companies sometimes have trouble with and even more important to overcome when it concerns a country that produces more than 365 cheeses*.
When we outsource, it is because a great brand wants to entrust to others the delicate task of adapting human resources. Oh Con, as they say in the South …
By Manuel Jacquinet
*Quote from Charles De Gaulle expressing the complexity of French society and how it must be even more difficult to understand as an outsider.
Picture cover : Valence in Ardèche – © DR