Shop Direct’s aim to be a world class digital retailer has resulted in proposals to close telephone call centre operations in both Aintree and Bolton.
Shop Direct is transforming from a catalogue-based retailer into a wholly online business. Shop Direct’s customer service provider Webhelp has declared that, as a result of this, the Bolton call centre will be closed by March/April next year, with the Aintree operation continuing until April 2017.
Union bosses have said they will fight against up to 700 job losses at the two Shop Direct call centres.
David Turner, Webhelp chief executive, commented: “There has been a 700% increase in social media contacts in 2015, compared with 2012. There has been investment made which is driving volumes away from the phone to digital. Our customers are now using digital means to contact Shop Direct, where in the past that had been telephone driven. We understood there were changes from Shop Direct looking to become a world class digital retailer, and we had been asked to look at how better we could manage that in the changing environment.”
He added: “We believe the right proposal for the future will involve the closure of both the Bolton and Aintree sites on the web help side, as unfortunately, in Bolton and Aintree, the work they do is driven by telephone work.”
David said Webhelp’s proposals mean that Shop Direct customers will be able choose from a range of digital contact options, including Whatsapp, virtual advisors and video messaging, with more than 60% of contact becoming digital in three years.