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Vodafone has made a big deal out of the fact that it has retained its call centre in Australia. The numbers keep growing as the company’s fortunes recover.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia says it has created more than 450 jobs in employment-challenged Tasmania since its decision in March 2013 to move all its call centre operations to Hobart, doubling the size of its Australian-based customer service operations.

Now it will build a purpose-built call centre (the industry term is ‘contact centre’) in Hobart’s CBD to house its staff. Vodafone says its construction and fit-out partners, Sultan Holdings and Hansen Yuncken, would employ an additional 240 people during the build phase of the project, due for completion December 2014.

Vodafone has occupied a temporary site in Hobart’s CBD since November 2013, which it says has allowed it to hire and train new employees while awaiting the new facility.

Vodafone’s general manager for ‘customer care’ Matt Paterson said: “We’re excited to have arrived at the next stage of our expansion project that will bring this world-class facility to the centre of Hobart. This is an enormous boost to the customer service we offer Vodafone customers as well as a welcome boost for the local economy.

“By the time the new centre is fully operational in July 2015, Vodafone will have a combined workforce of more than 1,300 across its two Tasmanian customer service centres. Our Hobart customer service centre will support our Australian-based customer care team, who offer local service for Vodafone Red customers.

Our social media, sales and business support teams will continue operating out of Kingston,” Paterson said, referring to Vodafone’s other facility in the south of Hobart. He said Vodafone was bucking the trend by bringing jobs back to Australia.

“Australian-based customer service sets us apart from our competitors. We’re putting service ahead of profits – that’s what our customers want. They want to be able to speak to an Australian, and they want to help create jobs in Australia. That’s important to us too.” The Australian and Tasmanian Governments have provided financial incentives.

Hansen Yuncken, a national commercial building company with local offices in Hobart, has secured the contract for the building fit-out. Work is expected to begin over the next few months with Vodafone staff to start moving in by late-December.

Paterson said Tasmanian tradespeople are expected to be the big winners during the construction phase, with most of the work expected to be sourced locally. “There could be up to 200 construction workers on site at the peak of building activity and up to a further 40 during the extensive fit-out phase.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

 

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