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The Carphone Warehouse

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INTRODUCTION The Carphone Warehouse is the largest independent retailer of mobile communications in Europe. Its' business can be divided into three operational areas and the strategy across its three core divisions are as follows: * Distribution - to grow through increased sales and through acquisitions of similar businesses or by building its number of stores and by growing its online sales business in order to retain and develop its market share. * Data Services - to be a market leader in the anticipated revolution of wireless data and mobile telephony. The company assesses that this revolution has begun with mobile access to the internet, through the introduction of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), GPRS (General Packet Radio System) and with the launch of 3G (Third Generation) services. * Telecoms Services - to use its retail power across Europe to increase on-going airtime revenues and expand its facilities management business model across Europe. This report will identify the strategic direction of the said organisation and will then mainly focus on the training and development policies of the company and its appropriateness to the identified strategic direction. In this paper I report my personal experiences with working for Carphone warehouse and make comparisons that indicate that some working practices perhaps do not evolve as much as we might think they do. Finally, I will give conclusions and recommendations in regards to my findings. STRATEGY It is viewed as a 'new generation retailer' by many in the industry. It attracts people who are motivated by working for an employer who seems to share their belief in teamwork, tangible and intangible rewards, and charisma. Charles Dunstone, chief executive officer has stated "we are developing a portfolio of related businesses and services that can deliver attractive and sustainable growth in earnings and dividends". The organisations strategy is built on three core objectives: > To continue to grow market share in all our geographical markets both by investing in new store openings and by generating like-for-like growth from our existing ...read more.


We were shown how to use the system, allowed to play around with it for a while and expected to remember everything about the system within those 2 hours. I was frankly disgusted at the level of training they offered and the attitude that went along with it. If we had any problems in the job, for example coming up against a query from a customer that we were not shown how to deal with, we were advised to consult with one of our nearest colleagues who were not busy at that particular moment. This seemed fairly logical and in my experience worked well at first, but after a few days some of the staff became quite indignant. I thought this was rather ignorant as they had been in my situation when they first began this role and unfair on us as the new employees as we felt that we had done nothing wrong and had actually been encouraged to seek assistance from our colleagues. This had a number of consequences that were not favourable for either party. For me, it made me feel quite inadequate as I was made to look as if I could not carry out my duties properly. For the few that had this sour attitude it did not bring any sort of team environment but a number of very segregated groups consisting of new employees on one side and experienced employees on the other. At times I did not ask for any assistance and probably gave out the wrong information to customers, which in hindsight was obviously the wrong thing to do but at the time I felt it was the only option with the animosity that existed. Situations like these are quite surprising as call centres are rather repetitive and tedious jobs with high staff turnovers, so I expected experienced staff to try and make it as relaxed as possible. ...read more.


A range of practices are utilised which are consciously designed to reinforce the imperativeness of target attainment as mentioned earlier; intra-company competition, company promotion criteria, and the universal use of whiteboards amongst others. The mix of these managerial approaches to target-setting varies within call centres, and sudden changes in emphasis and direction are commonplace. It could be argued that these changes reflect, on the one hand, continuing management uncertainty as to the best way forward and, on the other, the seriousness with which resolving this problem is viewed by the companies which employ them. In this light, whilst the range of services, functions and tasks carried out in call centres will ensure that some of the jobs will require high levels of skill, knowledge and experience, for most call centre workers the future appears likely to continue to be characterised by target-setting and Taylorism. RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendations can be extracted from this report as a number of flaws have been highlighted. The most fundamental recommendation I will put forward is to carry out the training that has been specified on the company website. Many potential employees are attracted to the organisation because it is very well known and would expect it to have an adequate if not exceptional training procedure. These thoughts are reinforced by the easily accessible information published on the website. Many theorists should be considered such as Elton Mayo's work on the importance of human relationships in the workplace and Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Deskilling has proved to be a major pitfall of being a call centre agent; one should consider adding responsibility and expanding individuals' job scopes which will demonstrate that call centre agents are valued and their position does not resemble 1920's assembly line work. The improved training and development will also validate that employees are vital components in the strategy of the company as this is not the current situation. ...read more.

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