Wed, December 14, 2011
My week: Dino Forte of Ventrica (By Hannah Prevett) - The entrepreneur on staying behind the camera, being a glutton for punishment and why he’s staying put in Southend.
My week is a real mess. The only real structure is that if Iâ€™m in the office then Iâ€™ll hold a 10 oâ€™clock meeting with the sales and management teams. Weâ€™re a contact centre â€“ we handle all the telephone and email communications for large companies â€“ so we have to get the team off the phones for half an hour to sit down and go through targets and congratulate our super-star performer/s of the previous day.
If Iâ€™m not in the office, it means Iâ€™ll either be out at a meeting with the bank, or perhaps our PR company. Weâ€™ve had quite a few meetings with our media agency recently too. Weâ€™re just shooting some new videos for our site at the moment, so weâ€™ve got a film crew in here today. Theyâ€™re going to go in the section on the site about our multi-lingual capabilities. I hate being on camera so Iâ€™ll be staying firmly behind the scenes and give some direction on the kind of thing weâ€™re after.
Our language capability is a core part of our business. So if one of our clients wants us to make sales calls or handle customer service on their behalf across Europe, we are able to do that. We have actually just installed a new French team this week. I love the atmosphere of a busy contact centre. This is second time round for me in this line of work: I sold the first contact centre that I built to 300 seats from scratch to a large Indian conglomerate about three years ago. Rather stupidly though I then decided to do it all over again! I really missed it, I suppose; the people, the noise, the activity.
The companyâ€™s based in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, which is actually a great place to have this kind of business because there are lots of staff in the area trained in contact centre skills. Not many people know this but all of the original contact centres were built in Southend â€“ everyone from the now defunct Access credit cards, to Natwest and HSBC had their customer service calls answered in this corner of Essex.
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