News : Up to 128 Johnston Press Jobs At Risk in Sales Restructure
Sheffield, UK, July 24, 2017 -- A regional publisher could make up to 128 staff redundant as part of a restructure of its sales and customer service operations.
Johnston Press could lose up to 15pc of its total sales force as part of the changes, which are being brought in as the company aims to move towards "desk sales and self-service."
The move comes after JP announced the sale of the Telegraph House office of Sheffield daily The Star, which currently houses 400 company staff.
The company says it now plans to invest in a new media sales centre at an as yet unspecified location in the city.
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The restructure was announced by chief executive Ashley Highfield in a memo to JP staff which has been seen by HTFP.
In it, he said the company will "fundamentally shift our sales model more towards desk sales and self-service" over the next few months, with local display, features and entertainments (LDFE) sales teams switching to focus on "highest value" customers as part of a smaller team of "highly trained and high-performing reps."
Added Ashley: "Our low to mid-value accounts will be served by the media sales centre (MSC). As part of these changes, we will expand our ‘self-serve’ and call centre capabilities. Many of our customers are increasingly leaning towards online and telephony engagement and we need to respond to their preferences and requirements.
"We will be investing in the MSC in terms of modern office accommodation, products, services, training, systems, and in people. This will enable us to provide an advanced customer contact centre capability that delivers a great customer experience and supports revenue growth.
"We have therefore started consultations today with LDFE field sales and customer service colleagues, and Motors & Property managers. We expect up to 128 sales and service colleagues (15pc of the total sales force) to leave the business as a result of these changes."
The consultation process is likely to be completed by the end of August.
A spokesman for Johnston Press told HTFP: "One of our key strategic objectives is to transform the business for growth and, in light of this, we will be making a number of improvements to our sales and customer service operation.
"We aim to provide the best possible support to the evolving needs of our diverse customer base, whether they are our biggest customers who buy the most digital services, the SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) who like to book their advertising through the call centre or our smaller customers who like to ‘self-serve’ – by booking their advertising online.
"Further to our recent announcement confirming the sale of our Sheffield site, we will be investing in our media sales centre – not least in new, modern office accommodation, but also in new staff, products, services, training and systems – to provide an improved customer contact centre capability and enhanced service to the customer.
"This realignment of the sales and customer service capabilities means that we will focus on fewer, higher value, key accounts in the field and, thus, this means that we have started a consultation process with our field sales employees."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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