Press Release – Rick Allan
It is less than three months since Rick Allan “discovered” Wellington, but in that time he’s leased 1600 square metres of prime space with options on more floors, employed and started training staff and he’s in the process of wiring up $5 million worth of call centre infrastructure.
Allan has very serious intentions to make Call Active highly proactive on the global call centre market based from Wellington. The business is principally about exceeding customer expectations handling inbound and outbound calls. As more sales and marketing businesses go online, call centres are frequently the only and single most important point of contact.
In addition to the Australasian businesses, the call centre entrepreneur plans to market his company in other parts of the world, with the potential to build his Wellington business by up to 2000 staff members.
The catalyst for the new Wellington start-up was Mayoral candidate John Morrison, who was having lunch with Allan, a sponsor of the St Kilda Saints Australian Football League (AFL) team.
Morrison holds the council’s sports portfolio and had just brokered the deal with the AFL to play the first-ever competition game outside of Australia between St Kilda and the Sydney Swans on ANZAC Day at the Westpac Stadium.
Morrison politely asked Allan what Call Active was all about and got the response that Allan was thinking of moving his operation to Auckland. Allan was invited to Wellington; with the weather gods smiling and when the business case stacked up, he was “sold”.
“It’s a compact city and in many respects the people seem to have a similar outlook to Melbournians. We thought John Morrison must be all right too. We know that he scored a century against Australia and anyone who can do that against the best cricket side in the world has to be pretty damned good.
“Wellingtonians are well educated and the New Zealand accent is respected and easily understood anywhere in the English speaking world.”
Asian call centres are still a cheaper option, but Wellington’s advantages include its first world infrastructure and cultural alignment with a cost structure that enables Allan to run an operation that’s 30 percent more cost-effective than Melbourne.
“New Zealand is the first country to wake up to the new day and that gives Wellington an enormous advantage when you are running a 24 hour business, seven days a week. Being based in Wellington allows us to follow the sun to provide organisations flexibility and support at any time of the day.
Most of the staff will be recruited locally and trained in-house. While he has an HR company formally recruiting new staff, it’s not unusual for him to personally shoulder tap young shop or restaurant staff who impress him with their sales patter or customer service.
Allan expects to start with an initial 350 “seats” but has plans to market the business globally and estimates that he could grow the business to 2000 staff. Emerging call centre business includes managing social media such as Facebook or Twitter for large organisations, which need to quickly respond to complaints or criticism
Wellington has a very large tertiary student population with two universities and a number of polytechnics. The work that Call Active will generate and the ability to rotate trained consultants around their lectures will enable students to be less reliant on Government loans they have to pay back.
Allan has also reserved a significant staffing component for women and will include special training that recognises confidence and change in lifestyle for women re-entering the workforce after bringing up their families.