In ‘Climate of fear and anxiety’: Some 200 Vodafone staff offered voluntary redundancy, says union Chris Keall, New Zealand Herald writes:
Insiders have told the Herald there is a broad expectation that around 400 of 2800 roles could go.
Paris stressed in an earlier interview that there was no set number. Different departments would gain or lose staff depending on the outcome of the ongoing review.
And he while he has acknowledged the possibility that call centre jobs could be offshored, Paris also said no decision would be made that would hurt customer service.
As part of an international company, Vodafone NZ was able to tap into its parent’s “Centres of Excellence” in other territories.
Paris says Vodafone NZ fell short of targets last year. His brief is to get the subsidiary into shape this year for an IPO in early 2020.
As the story says Jason Paris’ job is to tidy up Vodafone New Zealand’s business so it is an attractive IPO. That way the parent company gets the maximum return on its investment.
Looking at cutting employee numbers is part of that. Compared with other similar sized technology companies1, Vodafone’s revenue per employee is low.
Taking costs out of a business can make it more attractive in the short term.
If Vodafone gets rid of 400 people out of a total of 2800, that’s almost 15 percent of the total. Potential investors will like that.
We shouldn’t forget job cuts are often devastating to the people involved. They are often also uncomfortable, even stressful for many of the staff who remain. It can hurt morale. If there are long term effects, they will probably show up after the IPO.
Outsourced call centre
One risk here is that Vodafone New Zealand has suffered from poor customer service in the past. It has used an overseas outsourced call centre that customers hated. A return to those days would damage the company.
Last year Consumer criticised the company after a satisfaction survey.
“Vodafone was the only provider that rated below-average on all our performance measures – from customer support to value for money,” Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said.
About three-quarters of Vodafone’s broadband customers reported spending a long time on the phone waiting to speak to a rep. Nearly half said the service was poor once they finally got through.
The company that performed best in Consumer’s survey was Spark’s Skinny subsidiary. Ironically Skinny doesn’t promise much in the way of customer service. Maybe that’s the secret success formula. Either way, if I was Jason Paris, I’d be taking a closer look at what makes Skinny tick.
- Vodafone has often talked of itself as a technology company. ↩︎