Sky TV has become embroiled in a major row over its telemarketing strategy after one of its biggest suppliers – Derry-based call centre Firstsource – suspended nearly 140 staff following accusations of dodgy sales practices.
Although details of the issue are still patchy – Sky would only say there were “allegations of incorrect processing of sales by some agents” – the call centre agents affected have now sought the advice of local trade unions.
Around a tenth of the entire workforce at the call centre have now been suspended; the company employs around 1,040 staff.
However, there have been claims that many staff have been suspended without warning or explanation; some are understood to have learned of their suspensions from colleagues.
Sky has issued a statement, which reads: “We are currently in discussions with our partner Firstsource regarding allegations of the incorrect processing of some sales by a minority of agents although there is no evidence at this time to suggest that customers have been adversely impacted. We take all such allegations very seriously whenever customer data is involved and appropriate investigations are being undertaken.”
Firstsource is reportedly carrying out an internal investigation and has not commented publicly on the situation.
Sky’s telemarketing operation is one of the biggest in the country; and it has been the main driver of its sales and marketing operation, incorporating both CRM and sales. It has its own dedicated contact centres operating in ten locations, including Livingston, Dunfermaline, Newcastle, Leeds and Dublin, as well as third-party operations like Firstsource.
Last year, Sky was investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office after being placed on its “watch list” because of concerns about telemarketing compliance. It has since been given the all-clear.
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