Contact centre set to take on the world

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 07:13 24/03/2014
Call Active
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ

PUTTING WELLINGTON ON THE MAP: CallActive business development manager John Morrison, left, and chief executive Rick Allan.

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There is nothing subtle about CallActive's business blueprint. The contact centre specialists are taking on the world - the UK is firmly in its sights - with a goal of having up to 2000 workers based in Wellington.

The Australian-owned company is also aiming to capture a sizeable part of the Kiwi market and become part of the New Zealand business fabric and landscape.

How CallActive came to be in the capital began when then- Wellington city councillor John Morrison met CallActive chief executive Rick Allan as the city prepared to host the AFL match between St Kilda and Sydney Swans on Anzac Day at the Westpac Stadium last year.

Allan said CallActive, which once sponsored St Kilda, was poised to open an office in Auckland until he met Morrison.

"He pushed and pushed and said you've got to come to Wellington."

Morrison, who unsuccessfully stood for the Wellington mayoralty last year, has since joined the company as its business development manager.

A suitable office building on Willeston St was found in April last year, the lease finalised in May, and the contact centre was opened with about 20 staff in July with Trustpower as their first customer.

The business turned a profit from day one, and has forged ahead gaining other customers.

Today there are 163 contact centre staff working from the first floor of CallActive House. The company has options to lease each of the other 11 floors when they become available.

It already has level 2 ready for expansion.

"We've come in here with . . . a vision to be a New Zealand organisation to manage and look after all the customers within New Zealand'," Allan said. He is negotiating with major UK-based businesses to provide services, especially during the UK-night hours when penal rates apply there.

"It's a cost and a return on investment we can provide. We can get quality staff here during the day to support the likes of the UK and America when they go into their night-shift hours.

"[It] would put Wellington, New Zealand dead set on the world map - that this is where you want to bring your customer management organisation."

Another proposed expansion area is providing services to government departments, an idea raised by Prime Minister John Key when he opened CallActive's Wellington office last October.

To think of CallActive as simply a call centre which fields telephone calls is unjust. It also provides a raft of other services from social media, online chat and fundraising, to technical support and relating to product recalls.

CallActive is a family-owned business established in 1975 in Melbourne. Today it has 1300 employees located on a 2.5 acre site.

But Allan said anything that was voice or direct contact with the customer should be done in New Zealand because we related well to people in Europe, the UK, the US, and Australia.

John Morrison said the Wellington endeavour was not to take what was in Melbourne and plonk it here.

"It is a separate entity in that sense."

CallActive is also pursuing Wellington sporting sponsorship opportunities.

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- The Dominion Post

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