Havant call centre will expand because employees have ‘the right skills’

SWITCHED ON Shelley O'Connor from Portsmouth who is a deputy customer service manager, and customer service director Tony Keeling.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121468-1)
SWITCHED ON Shelley O'Connor from Portsmouth who is a deputy customer service manager, and customer service director Tony Keeling. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121468-1)
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SOUTHERN Electric has announced it has started recruiting for 200 more members of staff at its Havant call centre.

The jobs are part of a wider announcement by the company that it will be offering all its customers an annual energy review to ensure they are on the best tariff and help them save money on their bills.

The new employees will be in charge of delivering the review.

The news came on the same day that it was announced Britain is again in recession, and in a week when British Gas announced it will closing its call centre in Southampton, with the loss of 550 jobs.

Tony Keeling, director of customer service for Southern Electric, said around 20 British Gas employees have already been in touch with Southern Electric to apply for the new jobs.

‘There’s a possibility that some of those people lived east of Southampton, so working here would be good for them.

‘They’ll more than likely also have the skills we’re looking for.’

The announcement of the review is one of 10 new measures SSE announced in order to build up its customers’ trust.

Other plans include simplifying bills, forecasting energy prices, opening up its customer service performance to scrutiny and ensuring its pre-pay customers can get on to the best tariff for their needs.

Mr Keeling was in Havant to announce the news.

He said Havant was chosen because staff there now already have the skills to complement the new workers.

‘We have a lot of people with the skills already here, and a vulnerability team, who talk to the elderly or disabled people, etc, and that is a fundamental skill set to have,’ he said.

He said that despite the recession, Southern Electric had focused on being efficient, which has meant spare money for investment. Mr Keeling added: ‘One of those investments is in our customers.

‘In this economy you have to give your customers something more.’

More than 2,600 people work at the Havant call centre in Penner Road, which Southern Electric’s parent company, Scottish and Southern Energy, moved to in 2005.

David Willetts, MP for Havant and the Universities and Science Minister, said: ‘These 200 jobs are excellent news for Havant. There are now 6,000 jobs in Langstone between the A27 and the sea – that shows the strength of our local economy.’