3 reshapes third-party telesales

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3 sacked 26 of its registered outbound calling stockists recently because of poor service levels, cancelling a large chunk of business for certain airtime distributors in the process.

The large majority of the axed telesales agents went through HSC, Fone Logistics, EBS, Avenir and MoCo.

3, a network still in land-grab mode, is not giving up on third-party telesales, however, recognising it still contributes an important volume to its monthly business connections.

Instead, it has devised a new scheme to take connections only from its top outbound calling centres, and to work with them directly, rather than via airtime distribution.

It is a move the top four network operators made long ago.

It is understood the levels of service received by business customers from the likes of Landmark, Telecom 3, and The GM Group were poor, and complaints made of them too high.

3’s action coincides with Ofcom’s new General Condition 23, which came into effect last week and sets out a minimum standard for mis-selling mobile and penalties for falling below it. 3 said the volume of such incidents was harming its brand.

A number of telesales teams were dropped because of fraudulent connections too, and even threatening behaviour towards customers. About half were also dropped simply for missing volume targets.

A 3 spokesperson told Mobile News: “The levels of complaints received were too high for us not to act. A very large chunk of complaints regarding mis-selling are about third party sales. It’s not just burning 3’s money, it’s burning our reputation also.”

To illustrate, two thirds of customers signed by one indirect stockist either disconnected, defaulted or returned their handsets in a recent six-week period, he claimed.

Full article in Mobile News issue 448 (September 21, 2009).

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