Journeycall Responds to Threat of Cheaper Offshore Providers

The chief executive of ESP Group, which operates the Journeycall contact centre in Arbroath, has outlined her vision to meet the threat posed by cheaper foreign providers.

Journeycall is one of the largest employers in Angus, specialising in customer support services in the transport sector.

Its highly trained staff handle millions of phone calls each year for Transport for London, including all inquiries relating to its Oyster cards.

But Theresa Lawson, group chief executive, says action needs to be taken to reduce the business risk posed by lower-cost offshore providers.

She said: “Post-Covid, a main threat is the lower-cost offshore providers.  It is a risk we see being ever-present.

“In our labour market, with costs continuing to increase, we don’t see that changing any time soon.

“We have to look at how we address that and have adapted to our models to ensure best value is being delivered.

“Post-Covid continues to present unforeseen challenges to us but the business is in a strong position both commercially and operationally.”

Theresa said the company had committed to increasing its range of customers, to different sectors as well as a focus on more international clients.

It will also continue to invest in technology to grow the software side of the business.

ESP Group will also bring more automation into its call handling processes, partnering with artificial intelligence expert VKY.

It is also partnering with a “near shore” contact centre to complement its contact centres in Arbroath and Hull.

Theresa stressed the company remains committed to Arbroath.

She added: “We quickly accepted we were going to have to become more flexible and more agile in our delivery.

“We had to create a three-year transformational plan and deliver it within a year.  I’m pleased to say we are well on the way to delivering these goals.

“We continue to deliver customer service excellence while delivering sustainable growth in the company and adding values to the communities we operate in.”

Theresa also reflected on how the company continued to operate throughout Covid.

The number of inquiries received in Arbroath fell as much as 90% at times during lockdown as the number of people using public transport reduced.

She added: “Our business changed overnight – we didn’t have a home working solution, we had to create one.  We did that in 10 days.

“Covid was almost a simpler life.  We needed to keep our people safe and our business operational.

“Little did we know that was going to be the least of the challenges ahead of us.”

Some redundancies were made in 2020 but the company has since been successful in winning new contracts, including a £3.8 million Network Rail contract and a Transport for London extension.

Theresa will outline how she has adapted to a series of business challenges at the Courier Business Conference, held in association with Henderson Loggie, later this month.

The event which has the theme of “survive and thrive”, is on March 27 at the Apex City Quay Hotel in Dundee.  Other speakers at the event include ShortList founder and The Apprentice star Mike Soutar, Michael Wells, chief executive of Carnoustie Golf Links, and John Reid, the former manager of Michelin Dundee.

Tickets can be purchased at

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