Bristol call centre at heart of Mega Monday frenzy
SHOPPING history was made yesterday with £400 million being spent on Christmas presents online.
Dubbed Mega Monday, millions across the UK took to the internet to buy their presents and gifts.
And at the heart of the shopping frenzy was a Bristol-based firm that helps run call centres for almost every major high street brand.
Teleperformance is one of the city's biggest success stories and thanks to the public's love affair with technology bosses are confident that they are only going to get bigger.
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December is the busiest month of the year for the firm which employs more than 8,000 staff. Just under a thousand are based in Bristol and the organisation has call centres across the UK and in South Africa.
As well as dealing with most of the retail brands Teleperformance has contracts with public sector organisations and most major companies.
Business is booming at the moment and last year the firm grew by 20 per cent – an incredible performance given the state of the economy.
Double digit growth is being predicted for next year but Teleperformance has a low profile compared to Bristol's other big companies.
New Zealander Alistair Niederer has been chief executive of the firm for two years and he believes that despite the enormous sums spent on the internet we are still at the very beginning of the internet revolution.
The 52-year-old said: "The real future lies in smart phones and tablets. They are so much easier to use and make internet shopping easier.
"The figures this year have been incredible and in some cases there has been an increase in a thousand per cent on sales. People still want to go out shopping and there is still brand loyalty but people have much more choice these days.
"You can go into a shop and scan a barcode with your phone. It will instantly tell you how much that item costs to buy online.
"You can buy the item with one touch and it will be delivered to your home the following day."
Alistair is the first to admit call centres have built up a bad reputation over the years but he insists his company is helping to change attitudes.
He said: "We have all had those calls that end up with a call centre somewhere in a foreign country where you are dealing with someone who doesn't understand the language and doesn't have the power to deal with your problem. What we are about is providing a service where customers feel as though they have got what they wanted.
"The human voice will never be replaced but people can contact us through different channels wether it be online, by text or by phone. The aim is to deal with the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.
"The big companies have woken up to the fact that customer service and customer satisfaction is everything. We live in a very competitive world and you can no longer afford to be complacent.
"The companies which sit back and do nothing are the ones that are going to get left behind."
The first Monday in December has been dubbed Mega Monday because it is the busiest day of the year for online shopping.
As well as coinciding with the last pay packet before Christmas it also coincides with seasonal postage schedules.
Teleperformance is one of the biggest growers in the market and has taken on the largest amount of staff.
Alistair said: "We are definitely experiencing a big upswing in purchasing and enquiries in the run up to Christmas after the lull of the summer period during the Olympics. "Much of this is due to the noticeable rise in online, mobile and social media traffic."