New call centre company opens at HALO

A start-up business providing customer contact solutions has become the first firm to take up residence on the innovation floor at the Halo Centre in Kilmarnock.

The new company, Cadence, is being set up by Malcolm MacLennan and John Dougan who have more than 40 years’ combined experience in the industry. They are in the process of recruiting an initial 15 staff and expect to grow to 100 by the end of this year.

The innovation floor at HALO, the £63 million urban regeneration project being spearheaded by Marie Macklin, is designed to help entrepreneurs and start-ups grow their operations.

“We think it is an ideal place to build the business and brand,” said Mr MacLennan, who was previously site director at Bellshill for contact centre outsourcing giant Sitel. Fellow Cadence owner Mr Dougan worked the past 11 years for 1Call Direct, where he was latterly operations director based in Glasgow.

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The two set up their own business in September with the aim of providing a “boutique” service to a range of clients. Their first customer is expected to go live in January.

Mr MacLennan said he and Mr Dougan have been able to strike out on their own as cloud-based services have made technologies such as speech analytics, chatbox and AI more readily available to smaller services providers.

“The barriers to entry on call centres is typically you would have to spend a vast amount of [money] to get the business set up in terms of technology infrastructure,” he explained.

“But on the back of the pandemic, the technology became a lot more readily available and competitive, and it’s been easier for us to set up our business and build our brand using leading-edge technology to compete with larger players.”

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The company has taken 1,200sq ft at HALO where its first cohort of employees will spend eight to 12 weeks in training, with the option thereafter to work partially or fully from home.

“We chose Ayrshire after looking through a vast amount of places to take an office throughout Glasgow and the west of Scotland,” Mr MacLennan said.

“A lot of the staff in Kilmarnock and Ayrshire typically travel into Glasgow. They are probably spending £50 a week on train tickets, and if they are using their own car they are probably using 2,000kg of CO2, and on top of that they are spending all that time travelling which is probably seven and a half hours a week, almost 12 days a year, [commuting].”

He added there is also a “great opportunity” to provide employment to young people whose jobs in sectors such as hospitality have been jeopardised by the pandemic.

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