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Terrible phones 4US

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Terrible phones 4US is located in Conwy town and its employees are drawn from the neighbouring counties in Conwy county. The company has recently undergone major changes as a result of the influx of competing telecommunications companies in Wales and the wider United Kingdom. Terrible Phones 4US has been a part of telecommunications in the UK for decades and is responsible for providing services in the area of telegraph/telegrams, land phones, cellular phones, and internet. The company mainly is service oriented, though it has provided its customers with access those products that complement its service. These products have (until recently) included a variety of landline and cellular phones, personal computers and laptops, mp3 players, and other accessories. However, the main aspect of the company’s product is in its service of consumers’ needs. The bulk of employment for Conwy citizens has therefore been in the area of customer services representation taking place within Terrible phones 4US’ call centre.

The telecommunications market has recently become more competitive, and this competition has forced Terrible Phones 4US to put into effect a corporate downsizing plan. The general scheme included the decision to cease our offering of telecommunications-related products and to stick mainly to the services that go along with them. The scheme also included a global expansion initiative that would begin in Ireland, spread to the continent (Europe), and eventually to the rest of the world. This has come about in response to the convergence of technology in computers and hand-held devices. Cell phones have been integrated with computers, and television and telephone services are now available on these devices through the internet. The provision of service on a global scale has therefore become possible. The competition for telephone services, especially via those programs that provide free voice over internet protocol (VOIP) service, has made it necessary for the company to expand its consumer base on a worldwide scale and to offer a more universal service (www.benton.org/Policy/Schement/PTC99).

The “benefits to technology suppliers and operators of implementing a universal service policy include: improving corporate image, acquiring valuable customer information, and utilizing economies of scale to reduce cost and promote a proprietary technology” (Schement, 1999). This global expansion has further made it necessary to hire within the areas of expansion, and this had further necessitated downsizing in the local branches, of which the Conwy branch was one. The company’s headquarters located in London had decided to reduce the capacity of peripheral branches to the bare minimum and also to outsource to other providers its sale of complementary products. The initiative resulted in a compromise with the major telecommunications trade unions (Communication Workers Union, Connect, Cyber Picket Line, and the General Federation of Trade Unions) and the lay-off of approximately 50% of all customer service representatives, leaving roughly 250 citizens of Conwy country still on staff at Terrible Phones 4US.

It proved unnecessary and impractical to pull completely out of Conwy because of the large number of consumers within the county that would continue to require our service. The county consists of over 100,000 persons (Conwy County Borough, 2004), a large portion (40%) of which rely on the service of Terrible Phones 4US. Plus, the retention of Conwy citizens is also desirable because of the large number of them that speak the Welsh language. Because of the Welsh Language Act of 1993, which required all companies providing service to the public to offer this service in the Welsh language, it has been necessary to retain Conwy citizens as customer service representatives, 29% of whom are native speakers of the Welsh language (Conwy County Borough, 2004). These people can offer service to those Welsh speakers around the United Kingdom.

The labour unions had initially opposed the lay-off initiative, and since the lengthy negotiation period, many workers are still dissatisfied with their positions within the company. This is especially true since most have had their wages reduced. Since the implementation of the downsizing programme, motivation in the workplace has been low, and it continues to ebb. It has been necessary to come up with a scheme that addresses this problem in order that the remaining employees of Terrible Phones 4US will have the ability and desire to provide the best service to our UK consumers as well as to the rest of the world. In addition to this, the Communication Workers Union, Connect, Cyber Picket Line, and the General Federation of Trade Unions all have their eyes fixed on this company since the recent turbulent negotiations that led to a compromise between lay-offs and wage-reductions. It is, therefore, also important to keep the employees happy and motivated in order to discourage further action by these organizations. The following is the proposed implementation of an employee motivation scheme in the form of a reward management system.

The major goal of this rewards programme is to improve the security of the company in Conwy by increasing employees’ perception of job security, challenge, and the ability to actualize in the organization. The employees will be made aware of the goals of the organization (globally and locally) and be shown how the specific goals of increased productivity and company image are connected to their jobs and the overall company mission statement:

Terrible Phones 4US is dedicated to providing universal service in telecommunications on a global scale. The company will offer the best in telephone, wireless, internet, and VOIP services as well as access to cable and television and all other media of communication as they become available. This company is committed to staying current with the technological advances of the information era, and to provide its customers with the best quality service and support in their use of the technologies. To facilitate this, we will continue to upgrade the knowledge and capabilities of those we hire, and to equip them with the tools necessary to satisfy our worldwide market. Terrible Phones 4US is an equal opportunity employer, and is as committed to its employees as it is to its clientele.

Our system of rewards management is based on the idea that an important means of motivating humans is to provide for needs that are currently unsatisfied. The employees of Terrible Phones 4US have just experienced a situation in which their jobs were seen as no longer secure. The need to re-establish job security is an important one at this time, and this can be used to the advantage of the company. It must be made clear to the employees that their job security is tied to their productivity. Therefore, rewards will be given for such behaviours as punctuality and the ability to establish a good rapport with customers over the telephone.

A system of call-points will be established in which employees will receive 10 points for each day they show up early for work, and 5 points for every time they return on-time from their breaks and lunches. The number of points will be totalled at the end of every three-month period, and bonuses in the form of company products will be given to the employee that accrues the most points. Partnerships that exist with the companies to whom we outsourced our accessory production (Terrible Gadgets and Execorise) will provide these gifts. Employees are likely to enjoy such gifts as cell phones, Bluetooth, modems, or reduced prices for high-speed internet access. Because of the current status of the company and its need to reduce costs, rewards cannot take the form of monetary compensation (such as raises). However, the benefits can be quantified, as will be shown in the budget.

Another aspect of productivity within this service-oriented industry is the ability to handle a large number of customers in the amount of time allotted for each person’s workday. Those customers within the call centre (the largest division of our Conwy branch) who are able to reduce and maintain their average call-time to 5 minutes will receive 30 call-points per day. Furthermore, the ability to handle irate customers is an important aspect of their jobs, and customer irritability is often negatively correlated with their desire to purchase additional services. Employees that are able to pacify angry customers enough to get them to add services (such as long distance) to their basic plans will have the opportunity of gaining 20 extra points per irate customer. The three (3) employees who accrue the most per period will be awarded the benefits.

Outside of the call centre, in the area of personal (face to face) customer care, reward management will also take place. Apart from the recognition that comes with winning the quarterly bonuses, employees will have the chance of vying for such benefits as an extra hour of lunch. This benefit will be given out once per week, and the employee that wins this has the opportunity to choose a friend to take along with him or her. This should provide the employee with recognition; plus the opportunity to confer this benefit upon another should supply the worker with a sense of power, affiliation, and esteem. The criteria for winning this benefit are consistent courtesy and proper deportment with the in-house customers and clientele, such as persons who come in person to pay bills or make inquiries, etc.  This reward is especially available to those employees who prove professional and accommodating in their attitudes toward Welsh-language speakers. Because the group of employees who work with customers in person is smaller and work more closely together than our telephone customer service representative, this effort at motivation through improving affiliation and granting power has been deemed more effective in this department.

Out of the partnership that was established with the trade unions Communication Workers Union, Connect, Cyber Picket Line, and the General Federation of Trade Unions has come the idea of establishing a think-tank within the local Conwy branch that deals with compliance with the Welsh language laws. The ideas implemented in this area will also be translatable to the international level (especially the European Community), where languages other than English are also spoken and where similar laws govern. Though monetary benefits will not initially be provided to these employees, new and distinctive titles and the opportunity for supervisor status will be given. Two employees will be chosen for this, and they will each accrue a raise in salary of £50 per month after six months of service in that capacity. These people will be in charge of translating the company’s website, brochures, automated telephone directories and other company material into the Welsh language. This will allow the company better standing with the Conwy County Borough Council. This will also make it easier to make the transition to compliance with other language codes, considering the similarity of the Welsh language to others like Irish, Manx, Cornish, Breton, and Scots Gaelic (Conwy County Borough, 2004). 


Jan-March £500
1st place winner Smart Phone valued £250
2nd place winner 3 months internet service worth £150
3rd place winner Choice of accessory worth up to £100
April-June £500
1st place winner Smart Phone valued £250
2nd place winner 3 months internet service worth £150
3rd place winner Choice of accessory worth up to £100
July-Sept. £500
1st place winner Smart Phone valued £250
2nd place winner 3 months internet service worth £150
3rd place winner Choice of accessory worth up to £100
Oct.-Dec. £500
1st place winner Smart Phone valued £250
2nd place winner 3 months internet service worth £150
3rd place winner Choice of accessory worth up to £100
Subtotal £2000
Personal Representatives
Jan.-Dec. £2000
Extra hour of lunch 52 weeks @ £7.50/hr
1st employee £390
2nd employee £390
Raise for supervisor £50/month for 12 months
1st employee £600
2nd employee £600
Subtotal £1980
TOTAL £3980           

The principal method of assessment of the employee motivation project will be done at six-month intervals, using employee satisfaction questionnaires. These will be administered in both the call centre and the personal (face-to-face) representative departments. The items on the questionnaire will include the following:

  • I understand the company strategy of Terrible Phones 4US
  • I feel supported within the environment of Terrible Phones 4US Conwy Branch
  • I am satisfied with the benefits given at Terrible Phones 4US
  • I am challenged in my job at Terrible Phones 4US
  • Expectations are clearly communicated and adequately rewarded at Terrible Phones 4US
  • I feel secure in my position at Terrible Phones 4US
  • I am motivated to be professional and productive at Terrible Phones 4US
  • I am sufficiently compensated at Terrible Phones 4US

The responses to these will be given on 5-point Likert scale, ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. The information gained from this formal questionnaire will be supplemented by data gained from observation, communication between/among employees and managers, and general trends in employee productivity, punctuality, and absenteeism/turnover. Subsequent changes can be made to this plan depending on the outcome of these evaluations (http://www.polarismr.com/surveys_employeesat.html).

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