Best location(s) for UK call centre

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Best location(s) for UK call centre
Hi all,

We're an Australian business currently planning an expansion to the UK later this year.

One of our key considerations is where to locate our headquarters to make it easiest to attract great contact centre staff. Our largest team by far will be our contact centre.

Is there anywhere in particular you'd recommend?

We're considering London but are concerned by the availability of talent, and the cost of commercial real estate.

There's nothing we've read or been told that has made us concerned about the availability of talent there. It's just that London is such a global (and expensive to live in) city, we're concerned there aren't that many people looking for entry-level contact centre roles.

The cost of commercial real estate seems prohibitive in some of the most central areas like Mayfair but gets far more reasonable in areas further out. I've noticed quite a few different call centres advertising positions in west London, particularly in the Chiswick and Wembley areas it seems, and the real estate there is far more affordable (and comparable to other markets like Edinburgh).

London aside, we're also considering Edinburgh which I've heard referred to as the call centre capital of the UK (and which has Amazon's call centre among many others).

All things being equal, London would be better for our business for a number of reasons unrelated to recruitment. But attracting great contact centre talent is our number one priority—if London is 80% as good as other places like Edinburgh, we'll consider it. But if it's only 30% as good, we'll immediately exclude it from our considerations.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Editor

Call Centre Helper

Horses for Courses
It's a real dilemma. It very much depends upon the skill set you are looking for.
London is very expensive as a location and you have to pay a premium for staff. But it also have a good pool of multi-lingual staff - Are you looking at English language only.

I have never heard of Edinburgh referred to as the call centre capital of the UK. This has tended to go to Leeds.

There are a range of other good locations - Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea - all of which may provide better access to staff.

The other factor to look at is agent attrition which can be very high in London and can be much lower in regional areas.

Think out side the box
It's worth looking at smaller areas ... there are a lot of benifits to this, in rural locations you have high levels of unemployment so a lot of call centres are begining to open up in these locations due to the fact that they know they will get the staff, most of these staff also have no previous call centre experience which i see as a good thing as it means you can mould them the way you want.

another benefit is that the cost of living is a lot cheaper in rural areas, a call centre agent in the Scottish Borders for example will be on 14,625 when only 40 miles up the road to edinburgh it can start at 18k.

definetly one to consider.

Thanks for your replies! Follow-up questions.
Thanks for your replies everyone! The responses have been really helpful.

Jonty, in response to your question, it’s an English only call centre. If we were to decide to locate it in London, are there any particularly good areas? Am I right in saying that a lot seem to be in West London? (As per my original post, I’ve noticed quite a few around Wembley & Chiswick.)

I should also mention that it’s primarily inbound, and more customer service than sales.

Whilst London is more expensive, we would ideally like to locate it there. Assuming we’re offering market salaries, would you envisage us having any problem finding talent?

Thanks again for the help!

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