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News : Call Centre Team Attempts to Repeat beCogent's Success
Nov 19, 2013 -- John Devlin and fellow former beCogent directors Dermot Jenkinson and Katrine Young launched Ascensos three years after their former company was sold to Teleperformance of France.
Having adhered to a three-year non-compete clause, the trio are presently refurbishing a former Lloyds Banking Group call centre which will be home to their new enterprise. This comes ahead of a January recruitment drive.
The entrepreneurs have already announced their intention to provide 600 jobs at the site, the maximum it can hold.
But Mr Devlin has revealed they are already expecting to outgrow the 28,000 square foot facility. He said: "We are already starting to look at what our business plan will be beyond the initial three years.
"Wherever that second site would be is still to be determined, but very quickly I think we would get to the point where we need a second centre. "Pushing the jobs up to the 1000-mark within five years is certainly on our radar."
Ascensos disclosed its plans for Motherwell after it secured a regional selective assistance (RSA) grant through Scottish Enterprise.
Mr Devlin, who is the chairman of Albion Rovers, said the decision by Ascensos to buy the freehold of its premises instead of taking out a lease shows its long-term commitment to the town.
He said: "We made a lot of friends and had a big influence in Airdrie when we started the business there, and over time built really strong links with the community, really strong links with schools and colleges. "We want to do the same here. We want to be seen to be an integral part of the town, and in three years' time I'm sure we will be the largest private sector employer in the town.
"That comes with a responsibility and an accountability to the people of Motherwell and North Lanarkshire."
In spite of their success with beCogent, Mr Devlin said a return to the call centre arena had not been inevitable for the three.
Although they continued to observe the call centre sector, he and Mr Jenkinson have focused on Renewable Resources, a solar photovoltaic panel business, in the time since beCogent was sold.
It was only last summer that he and Mr Jenkinson began to contemplate whether it might be possible, consider sites and look into the technology required.
When beCogent started at least 95% of work was "voice activity". Now staff are increasingly dealing with customers via social media networks and other online communication, meaning they need a broader set of skills.
He also noted a trend of companies bringing call centre operations back onshore after years of outsourcing to countries such as India and the Philippines.
Mr Devlin said: "Now there is more of a repatriation back towards the UK as for a lot of these businesses it may not be in their business interests to take customer transactions overseas and offshore. There has been a steady repatriation of volume back to the UK and we're hopeful we're in the right position to take advantage of that."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Ascensos provides contact centre services in The UK.
Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2013