COMiC Relief, romance and travel have been among the unexpected highlights for some of the 5,000 people employed to help customers in the last 15 years.
Now providing work for 740 staff who handle more than two million calls a year, the BT call centre at Lakeside has just marked its milestone anniversary.
Around 40 members of the original workforce are still at the Doncaster site where many of them have progressed through the ranks in roles ranging from sales to customer service.
Among them are Jayne Walker Ellis, offline complaints centre manager, and Cheryl Gravil, customer retention manager.
For Jane, there are some particular qualities conducive to achieving lengthy service: “I started as an advisor and I’m now managing the complaints centre,” she said. “I love it, especially the people. You need lots of patience – and a good sense of humour.”
Cheryl explained that developments over the years had only improved the working environment. “I love working here. It’s changed over the years, but all for the better. Among the qualities you need to work here are good people, coaching and motivational skills.”
And general manager Sam Calvert agreed. “BT Doncaster has a real spirit about it. In the lead up to the 15 year celebrations we have uncovered numerous relationships, proposals and marriages between people who have met and worked together at BT.”
According to Sam there are good opportunities for career development. Most of the managers in Doncaster started in the contact centre and progressed from advisory to management posts, gaining invaluable knowledge along the way.
“As one of the largest BT sites in the country we have a highly experienced and skilled workforce and the site is often chosen to trial new systems or products before rolling out across the UK,” he explained.
“As a result many employees get the chance to work on projects and travel to other locations across the UK to share their expertise.”
Willing staff also volunteer their time regularly to handle major telethons such as Comic Relief, Sport Relief and Children in Need.
BT employs around 2,800 people in South Yorkshire and hopes to recruit in the New Year.