A week after telecoms group Cable & Wireless Plc announced a radical restructuring program, the former UK incumbent BT Group Plc has set up a free helpline for the thousands of C&W customers abandoned by the second largest telecoms provider in the UK.
Last week UK chairman John Pluthero warned C&W staff this is no longer a place for the timid and said those worried about the changes should step off the bus. It is thought that half of C&W UK will be disembarked over the next five years.
At the same time, Pluthero announced he intended to reduce C&W’s UK customer base by around 90% as the company looks to concentrate on fewer, larger customers. This means reducing C&W’s customer base from 30,000 to about 3,000 large corporate customers and public institutions.
C&W has already issued 900 contract termination letters to customers saying they have 90 days to find an alternative service provider. C&W expects to send out 8,000 letters by the end of the year, and its UK customer base is expected to shrink to 18,000 by September.
It is these customers that BT is now targeting with its 0800 1695067 number. A BT spokesperson confirmed to Computer Business Review that BT now has a dedicated team of advisers to talk to these displaced businesses. The advisers will help these customers manage the unexpected requirement to move to another communications company with the minimum of hassle and disruption, said BT in a statement.
I can assure all businesses that BT still wants their custom, said Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Business. The SMB market is one of the most dynamic parts of the UK economy and we are already attracting around 2,800 business lines a week back to BT because of our trusted brand and good value packages.
Meanwhile, business carrier Thus Group Plc is also keen to welcome any former C&W clients into its fold. We welcome the new market opportunities that the announcement by C&W presents as it provides us with an ideal opportunity to expand our customer base even further, the carrier said in statement last week.
A C&W spokesperson told Computer Business Review that she had noted BT’s announcement, but had no comment to make.