600 jobs saved as call centre stays in Sheffield

David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK
David Turner, CEO of Webhelp UK
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Six hundred Sheffield jobs have been safeguarded after a call centre stayed in the city due to the “quality and potential” of staff.

Fast-growing French firm WebHelp won the race to take over two huge contracts from Serco - with retailers Freemans Grattan Holdings and BrightHouse.

WebHelp's call centre at 1 Amberley Street, Attercliffe, Sheffield

WebHelp's call centre at 1 Amberley Street, Attercliffe, Sheffield

It beat off competition from five firms, including several based outside the UK.

A WebHelp spokeswoman said all parties were committed to keeping the operation in the city due to the staff.

The call centre is in a new building at 1 Amberley Street, Attercliffe, near the English Institute of Sport. WebHelp has taken a six-year lease on the building.

The spokeswoman said the aim was to invest in staff through training and expand by winning contracts.

She added: “We are quite fussy about the contracts we take. This is a good fit and we are excited by the potential of the people in Sheffield and our hope is it will bring in more business.”

WebHelp was set up by French entrepreneurs Olivier Duha and Frederic Jousset in 2000. It has soared to 30,000 employees - including 7,000 in the UK - and £580m turnover.

It specialises in help through phone, webchats, email and post and workers are rated by outcome, not length of call, the spokeswoman added.

UK customers include Sky, Vodafone, easyJet, and Shop Direct - which owns Littlewoods and Very - and is the country’s second biggest online retailer behind Amazon.

The move comes after Serco announced in November 2014 it would exit its private sector business.

David Turner, chief executive of Webhelp UK, said: “At Webhelp we aim to deliver exceptional customer journeys. We’re looking forward to welcoming our new colleagues in Sheffield and working with them to continue to deliver unparalleled customer service.”

Dave Poole, chief risk officer at BrightHouse, said: “There is a great team of people working with us in the Sheffield contact centre. Under WebHelp’s leadership, I’m looking forward to that continuing, so we can provide excellent service.”