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Garlands and Vodafone claim top contact centre prize

Garlands Call Centres and Vodafone UK have picked up the top prize for "Best Work by a Contact Centre" at the 2006 Marketing Direct SMART awards.

The prize went to the Garlands’ Vodafone Quality Team for their achievements in implementing a new Quality strategy and plan. The plan, which focused on people development and training as well as on techniques to build closer customer relationships, led to a 16% rise in customer satisfaction, an 11% rise in ‘Customer Delight’, dramatic reductions in both customer complaints and sickness absence, and improved employee morale.

The contact centre category was one of the most highly contested categories at the event with stiff competition from five other finalists. In the words of the judges, the work of the Garlands Quality team was "an excellent example of how a client and contact centre can work together".

Mark Cheshire, Garlands’ Operations Director picked up the prize at a gala dinner at London's Grosvenor House hotel on Tuesday 17th October - an event attended by over 400 marketing professionals. “The Garlands and Vodafone Quality teams have worked tirelessly all year to implement an ambitious plan that ensures that the customer is firmly at the centre of everything we do” said Mark Cheshire. “It’s a fabulous reward for all their efforts.”

Jane Hext, Customer Management Director for Vodafone UK commented “we have an excellent relationship with Garlands. This award is recognition of the commitment that we have shown to giving our customers the best possible customer experience. It’s of huge credit to everyone who works within the partnership.”

Garlands and Vodafone have enjoyed one of Britain’s longest-lasting outsourced customer contact partnerships. The two companies have been successfully working together since 1997.

About Garlands

Garlands is a leading UK provider of outsourced customer contact services via phone, email and the Web.

Garlands' services range from customer service to outbound customer acquisition, debt collection, customer retention, technical assistance, cross-selling, upselling, staff accounts, activations, credit management, customer registrations, customer lifecycle management and many other back office functions.

Garlands believes that people are the key to delivering superb customer service. It provides comprehensive and innovative programmes with a holistic focus to develop the skills of its staff - programmes that extend beyond the call centre and into the local community.

The company owns six prestigious contact centres, three in Hartlepool Marina, one in Middlesbrough town centre and two at a new Contact Centre Village development in Stockton. Garlands was named ‘North East Company of the Year' at the 2005 National Business Awards; and ‘North East Contact Centre of the Year’ at the 2005 North East Contact Centre Awards.

About Vodafone

Vodafone UK has 16.3 million customers and is part of the world’s largest mobile community offering a wide range of voice and data communications. The company is committed to providing mobile solutions that allow both consumer and business customers to make the most of now. In addition, Vodafone connects customers across the globe with roaming agreements worldwide. It provides 3G roaming in 18 countries and offers great roaming value with Vodafone Passport. Vodafone UK was voted 13th Best Big Company to Work For in the Sunday Times Best Companies List, in March 2006. For more information, please visit www.vodafone.co.uk.

For further media information, please contact:-

Michael Gray
Garlands Call Centres
Tel: 020 8744 9168
Email: michael.gray@cjgarland.com