npower targets customer service improvements with proposed restructure

npower targets customer service improvements with proposed restructure

  • Stoke on Trent Contact centre will close in June 2014, affecting around 550 employees
  • Oldbury Quayside House contat centre will close June 2014 affecting around 400 employees
  • North East 430 people in the region would be made redundant with around 540 would continue to work but employed by Capita

Yorkshire Updated Information

npower_logoFollowing its business review announced in August, npower today (28th November 2013) announced a proposed restructure of its customer service activities, focussed on delivering a more efficient, flexible and improved customer experience. Subject to consultation, the restructure would involve around 1460 redundancies as more work is performed by leading retail outsourcers Capita and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Under these proposals, customers would continue to be served on the phone by people based in UK contact centres and back office functions would be outsourced to India.

Bringing teams together would reduce the number of sites npower owns, enabling more effective customer service processes and decision making. It would also mean npower can draw on outsourced partners’ extra capacity to handle calls at peak times, meaning call waiting times are kept to a minimum. The proposed changes would save on current customer service costs, at a time of external pressures on energy prices.

Paul Massara, CEO of npower comments,

“Today we have set out our proposed vision of how we would improve customer service, calling on the support of leading retail outsourcing partners. I understand that these changes would be incredibly hard for some of our employees and we’ll be doing everything we can to support them over the next few months. This restructure is necessary if we are to deliver the levels of service our customers deserve. All calls would still be answered in the UK. We would have the flexibility to keep call waiting times down during busy periods, and continue to keep costs down so we can keep bills down.”

In summary the restructure would mean:

  • Much of npower’s customer facing work would be outsourced to Capita which has extensive retail and utility expertise. About 540 of npower’s existing people would transfer to Capita under TUPE* and work alongside its current teams. This would allow customers to benefit from the expertise of npower’s existing employees, enhanced by Capita’s excellence in retail customer service. It would also mean npower can use Capita’s extra capacity to handle calls at peak times, keeping answering times to a minimum. All phone calls to npower would continued to be answered in the UK and people transfering to Capita would still to be based in the North East of England, with the same terms and conditions of employment as before.
  • Under today’s proposals npower back office administrative activity (such as checking meter readings against customers’ bills) would be outsourced to India using TCS. Over the next 8 months, around 1460 posts would be made redundant as a result, subject to the 60 day consultation programme which npower will now be undertaking with all affected employees. Enhanced redundancy terms are being offered and there would also be a full package of on-site advice and support.

Regionally, the main impacts would be:

  • npower’s offices in Stoke on Trent would close (affecting around 550 employees).
  • One of npower’s three offices in Oldbury would close and, subject to due process, around 400 employees would be made redundant
  • There would be a number of redundancies at npower’s sites at Rainton Bridge, Sunderland (affecting around 430 employees, subject to consultation) and in Leeds (affecting around 80 employees)
  • npower’s site in Thornaby would close but all roles there would be secure and relocate to our Northern head office in Rainton. There would be transport support for these employees for three years.
  • npower also currently owns three offices in Peterlee. There would be no redundancies here but several teams will be moved between the Rainton and Peterlee offices
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