• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

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Customer service centre celebrates 20 years in Sunderland

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 14.55.24One of the North East’s largest employers is set to mark its 20th anniversary by honouring its longest serving staff.

Twenty staff members at EDF Energy in Sunderland, who first joined when the customer service centre opened in 1995, will be recognised with long service awards during the company’s anniversary celebrations.

The Doxford centre opened as London Electricity 20 years ago, with only 50 staff, before becoming EDF Energy in 2003. It has since grown into an employer of 1500, exceeding the original plans to employ 450 people.

The centre now plays a key role in managing 5.3 million residential EDF Energy accounts a year.

Kevin Gatens, head of customer service for North East, said: “We are delighted to have reached this milestone. As one of the first operations of its kind to come to Sunderland, EDF Energy is pleased to have led the way in helping to create a customer services employment culture that is now so important to local people and the local economy.

“I have had the great experience of working at the centre for almost 20 years, starting as a customer servicer adviser in 1996. We have become so much more than just an employer. The team here play an important role in the local community, supporting local organisations and charities through voluntary projects and fundraising.

“We are fortunate to have a large team of enthusiastic and dedicated staff who have played a pivotal role in the success of the offices.”

One of the features of the Sunderland operation is the high staff retention rates and low staff turnover for the sector. This is represented not only by the number of 20th anniversary long service awards, but also by the number of individuals who have been able to develop successful careers within the company. Over 200 current employees who joined the company as customer service advisers have since gained higher positions.

The Doxford offices now host a number of roles including customer service, finance, training, HR and advisers on low carbon solutions. The Sunderland team also includes some management with national roles.

Not only has the centre contributed to career development and the local economy, it has also provided approximately 3,000 hours a year of voluntary work to local charities and organisations through the companywide Helping Hands scheme, which allows employees at Doxford to take up to two days extra paid leave every year to volunteer in the local community.

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