Contact centres: League Table - Top 45

A steady overall rise in turnover belies an industry struggling to improve quality in a difficult climate, says Drew Barrand.

After a stalling 2002, the majority of contact centre agencies struggled to pick up momentum in 2003. Caught between increasing disgruntlement among a previously receptive public and clients placing greater demands on quality for the same level of investment, outsourcing shops have found revenue hard to come by, and overall growth has been minimal.

As with any bear market, financial pressures have forced some out of business, while others have been swallowed up by rivals. On a positive note, the total turnover of the agencies in the table rose by a steady 10% to just over £923m.

MM Group's September acquisition of its Bristol neighbour Contact 24 is a good indication of where the industry's future may lie, with bigger agencies snapping up those beneath them to reduce overheads while boosting returns. MM's acquisition strategy has helped it give Sitel UK a good run for its money for third place. But as well as these agencies are performing, their turnover remains dwarfed by the big two - Vertex and Ventura.

Vertex reaffirmed its status as the top outsourcing agency in terms of revenue, achieving 15% turnover growth on 2002, buoyed by substantial deals with Powergen, Orange and Lloyds TSB. Moreover, it bolstered its plans to improve market share in commercial sectors by poaching Mike Purvis from Sitel, where he was vice-president of business development, to fill the new position of enterprise service director.

Ventura's principal success came in winning half the National Rail Enquiries' business, often cited as the busiest phone number in the UK. It also went live with its RSPCA contract, consolidating its regional activity into a national centre.

Further down the list, Response Handling, Garlands Call Centres and HCL Technologies stood out for their significant turnover increases. Buoyed by client wins including The Student Loans Company, Response Handling's expansion plans led to the opening of a contact centre near Glasgow and the launch of a brand identity in RHL.

Garlands landed accounts in the telecoms sector including Virgin Mobile and Freeserve, which led to the opening of a contact centre in Middlesbrough, taking it to three sites. It now has its sights set on blue chips and local government contracts.

HCL Technologies was another beneficiary of expansion, with an upfront investment of £750,000 making it the biggest outsourcing operation in Ireland - growth derived largely from the agency's 90:10 joint venture with BT to enhance focus on core competencies and lines of business.

On the lower rungs of the league ladder, Senior Response proved there is still significant business to be derived from niche markets, registering a 164% rise on last year due principally to specialist contracts in the over-50s consumer segment.

Given this niche success lower down, it is the middle tier of outsourcers that are most at risk from industry consolidation, due to a general overcapacity in the market - about 5.5% of call centre seats stood unused at the last count - and the desire of the bigger firms to evolve. 'There is no economic room for agencies that don't add top-end value anymore,' says Jeff Smith, chairman of MM Group. 'Consolidation will provide those remaining with the necessary income to allow investment in technology and training, which drive real value.'

Some believe the market may eventually shrink to about half a dozen big names and a handful of smaller agencies serving niche sectors. This evolution is leading to an increased emphasis on integration of the various consumer touchpoints.

'You have to wonder how agencies are investing in their strategies, given that very few are making anywhere near the accepted 10% profit margin,' says Vertex's Purvis. 'One way around this is signing consortium deals with clients. This allows for the sale of a wider range of services to one customer by partnering with utilities, telecoms, ISPs and so on.'

As quality rises up the agenda, the pricing of services is changing.

There are four basic systems: fixed rates; input pricing, which depends on the cost of the work; output pricing, based on the opportunities the work delivers; and risk and reward, an incentive-based scheme. It is toward this last structure that many clients are now warming. 'Risk and reward works for both sides by paying on performance,' explains Phil Telfer, sales and marketing director at Ventura. 'Client demands are on the up and we must be smarter in the way we approach customers.'

Chris Scoggins, chief executive of National Rail Enquiries, confirms that this approach is in line with clients' wishes. 'Buyers are much better informed about the contact centre industry now. We research our requirements in depth prior to setting about agency selection. The emphasis is on quality, the ability to deal with peaks and the complexity of our network.'

Many agencies now view their services as contact centre outsourcing organisations as opposed to telemarketing agencies to emphasise that all customer communication should be tied together in a holistic strategy. Such a strategy demands upfront investment in training, technology and data-handling - not an easy sell given clients' continued desire for short-term returns.

Agencies are desperate to get away from short-term contracts, as they do not give the room and flexibility to produce returns. 'The loss of trust in the client-agency relationship has prompted more short-term contracts, which only exacerbates the situation,' says David Potter, sales and client services director at Inkfish Call Centres, whose clients include British Airways. 'Partnerships should last at least a year.'

With agencies advocating a need to switch from a cost-centric philosophy to long-term strategies, the argument over offshoring has become a hot potato. The merits of having offshore centres are clear from a cost basis, but the impact on the quality of calls and protection of customer data takes away from best practice. Yet in terms of the actual number of outsourcers that have adopted offshore strategies, the percentages are still minute and not yet having a heavy impact on the market.

Perhaps the chief threat to the traditional outsourcing industry is clients themselves. Mike Havard, managing director of independent consultancy CM Insight, says: 'Brands such as RAC and Travelex are offering their services in competition against agencies, while the likes of Siemens and Accenture are diversifying into outsourcing by wrapping up the services into existing contracts with clients. The combination of the emerging and diversifying sectors is a major threat to the ability of traditional telemarketing agencies to hang on to their share.'

The need to adopt a higher-quality approach to drive faltering revenues is obvious, but in a market that has become dependent on ad-hoc project work based on bottom lines, the cultural change is not an easy one to make.

Outsourcing still makes sense to clients, given the benefits agencies can provide, and the phone remains one of the most powerful marketing tools in terms of interaction. But until the bulk of agencies focus more on quality of performance, revenue growth could well remain elusive.

THE SARBANES-OXLEY EFFECT

The US Sarbanes-Oxley Act, implemented in the backlash of the Enron collapse and other financial scandals, effectively lays down strict guidelines for the publication of financial data for any corporations publicly quoted on the US stock market. As a result, financial information for any UK agency with a US parent is no longer available.

As an industry comprised mainly of independents, only four contact centre operators were unable to reveal financial data for the 2003 financial year due to Sarbanes-Oxley: Sitel UK (subsidiary of Sitel Corporation); CPM and Telecom Express (both Omnicom); and EWA (WPP).

To omit these companies would unbalance the tables, so we have ranked them within the main table based on the latest financials lodged at Companies House as supplied by accountancy firm Willott Kingston Smith; the latest available financial data for the Sarbanes-affected firms was for 2002.

While not ideal, this system at least provides a good barometer of the size and status of these companies within the UK contact centre industry.

TOP CONTACT CENTRE AGENCIES 1-47

Agency Turnover Turnover Change

2003 (pounds) 2002 (pounds) (%)

1 Vertex 323,100,000 282,000,000 15

2 Ventura 112,000,000 101,900,000 10

3 Sitel UK* n/a 47,665,000 n/a

4 MM Group 45,199,000 33,000,000 37

5 Broadsystem 38,863,000 34,958,000 11

6 Prolog Connect 32,200,000 32,100,000 0

7 Inkfish Call Centres 25,100,000 22,700,000 11

8 Thus 24,600,000 25,400,000 -3

9 Merchants 23,505,000 20,749,000 13

10 CPM* n/a 20,415,000 n/a

11 Response Handling 19,000,000 12,400,000 53

12 Garlands Call Centres 16,200,000 12,000,000 35

13 The Listening Company 14,120,000 13,740,000 3

14 HCL Technologies 13,770,000 5,243,000 163

15 BeCogent 13,584,000 13,228,000 3

16 Arvato Services 12,300,000 10,700,000 15

17 SR Teleperformance 11,354,197 11,876,177 -4

18 HBS Contact Centre Services 10,500,000 10,300,000 2

19 iSKY Europe 10,000,000 12,800,000 -22

20 Dataforce Group 9,100,000 8,150,000 12

21 Telecom Express* n/a 8,775,103 n/a

22 MGt 7,475,631 6,620,156 13

23 Kingston Comms Contact Centres 7,440,000 5,388,000 38

24 EWA* n/a 6,926,000 n/a

25 Pell & Bales 6,914,000 5,255,000 32

26 Telegen UK 6,000,000 6,400,000 -6

27 Portal Hosting 5,703,000 6,624,000 -14

28 2Touch 5,500,000 5,300,000 4

29 The Message Pad 5,290,000 4,980,000 6

30 Navigator Customer Management 4,842,375 4,604,064 5

31 Market Reach 4,330,000 4,255,000 2

32 Icordia 4,200,000 3,020,000 39

33 ICLP 3,900,000 2,900,000 34

34 The Ops Room 3,403,317 2,911,000 17

35 Telefocus 3,030,000 3,644,000 -17

36 The Telemarketing Company 2,868,847 2,593,064 11

37 Ion Group 2,800,000 2,300,000 22

38 Positive Contact 2,421,934 1,749,781 38

39 Phonetics (UK) 1,600,000 1,800,000 -11

40 IDS Media Group 1,372,000 872,000 57

41 BCC Marketing Services 1,300,000 1,000,000 30

42 Channel Strategy 1,230,000 950,000 29

43 Senior Response 843,366 320,000 164

44 Eclipse Marketing 832,000 819,000 2

45 Stormark 741,299 675,150 10

46 Price Direct 500,000 500,000 0

47 Contact Partners 400,000 n/a n/a

Agency Gross profit Gross profit Change

2003 (pounds) 2002 (pounds) (%)

1 Vertex 39,600,000 34,800,000 14

2 Ventura 15,400,000 13,000,000 18

3 Sitel UK* n/a 18,609,000 n/a

4 MM Group n/a n/a n/a

5 Broadsystem 7,846,000 n/a n/a

6 Prolog Connect n/a n/a n/a

7 Inkfish Call Centres n/a n/a n/a

8 Thus 5,412,000 4,572,000 18

9 Merchants n/a n/a n/a

10 CPM* n/a n/a n/a

11 Response Handling 8,000,000 5,600,000 43

12 Garlands Call Centres 4,600,000 4,100,000 12

13 The Listening Company n/a n/a n/a

14 HCL Technologies 4,886,000 2,125,000 130

15 BeCogent 442,000 90,000 391

16 Arvato Services n/a n/a n/a

17 SR Teleperformance 4,687,373 5,849,634 -20

18 HBS Contact Centre Services n/a 3,200,000 n/a

19 iSKY Europe n/a n/a n/a

20 Dataforce Group 4,800,000 4,000,000 20

21 Telecom Express* n/a 3,822,689 n/a

22 MGt 5,065,583 4,069,616 24

23 Kingston Comms Contact Centres 3,892,000 3,112,000 25

24 EWA* n/a 5,562,000 n/a

25 Pell & Bales 2,982,000 2,406,000 24

26 Telegen UK 2,700,000 2,600,000 4

27 Portal Hosting 1,129,000 1,562,000 -28

28 2Touch n/a n/a n/a

29 The Message Pad 2,180,000 900,000 142

30 Navigator Customer Management n/a n/a n/a

31 Market Reach n/a n/a n/a

32 Icordia 2,520,000 1,240,000 103

33 ICLP 1,700,000 2,140,000 -21

34 The Ops Room n/a n/a n/a

35 Telefocus 79,000 327,000 -76

36 The Telemarketing Company 2,550,326 2,391,970 7

37 Ion Group 1,500,000 1,000,000 50

38 Positive Contact 911,364 666,891 37

39 Phonetics (UK) n/a -111,000 n/a

40 IDS Media Group 210,000 180,000 17

41 BCC Marketing Services n/a n/a n/a

42 Channel Strategy 730,000 570,000 28

43 Senior Response 433,827 n/a n/a

44 Eclipse Marketing 455,000 410,000 11

45 Stormark 376,993 337,924 12

46 Price Direct 50,000 50,000 0

47 Contact Partners 200,000 n/a n/a

Agency Staff Maximum lines

1 Vertex 11,000 1005 (L), 335 (I), 5360 (P)

2 Ventura 4500 2500 (L,I,P)

3 Sitel UK* 2500 5287 (L), 1000 (I), 1000 (P)

4 MM Group 2000 1700 (L), 1800 (I,P)

5 Broadsystem 295 1000 (L), 3000 (I,P)

6 Prolog Connect 1158 510 (L,P), 64 (I)

7 Inkfish Call Centres 1400 1900 (L,I,P)

8 Thus 1250 3000 (L,P), 500 (I)

9 Merchants 1800 2130 (L,I,P)

10 CPM* 400 1080 (L,I,P) across Europe

11 Response Handling 1000 1020 (L), 60 (I), 1020 (P)

12 Garlands Call Centres 1600 1620 (L,I,P), 300 (L)

13 The Listening Company 650 800 (L), 30 (I), 240 (P)

14 HCL Technologies 900 960 (L,I)

15 BeCogent 875 1290 (L)

16 Arvato Services 640 470 (L), 40 (I), 40 (P)

17 SR Teleperformance 449 830 (L)

18 HBS Contact Centre Services 200 350 (L), 20 (I), 20 (P)

19 iSKY Europe 212 400 (L), 1200 (I)

20 Dataforce Group 400 210 (L), 90 (I), 90 (P)

21 Telecom Express* 74 500 (L), 3800 (I), 100 (P)

22 MGt 600 520 (L), 960 (I), 720 (P)

23 Kingston Comms Contact Centres 164 5000 (L,I,P)

24 EWA* 177 200 (L,I,P)

25 Pell & Bales 300 185 (L), 20 (I), 20 (P)

26 Telegen UK 382 780 (L,I,P)

27 Portal Hosting 11 1080 (L,P), 170 (I)

28 2Touch 700 520 (L), 90 (I), 90 (P)

29 The Message Pad 200 300 (L,I,P)

30 Navigator Customer Management 122 150 (L,I,P)

31 Market Reach 210 n/a

32 Icordia 230 180 (L,I,P)

33 ICLP 120 143 (L), 7 (P)

34 The Ops Room 57 210 (L,I,P)

35 Telefocus 180 90 (L)

36 The Telemarketing Company 125 100 (L)

37 Ion Group 60 200 (L,I,P)

38 Positive Contact 85 100 (L), 20 (I)

39 Phonetics (UK) 150 120 (L), 120 (I), 120 (P)

40 IDS Media Group 85 70 (L), 10 (I)

41 BCC Marketing Services 70 20 (L)

42 Channel Strategy 45 150 (L,I,P)

43 Senior Response 40 60 (L)

44 Eclipse Marketing 61 125 (L), 125 (I)

45 Stormark 18 100 (L)

46 Price Direct 50 62 (L)

47 Contact Partners 300 700 (L), 90 (I), 90 (P)

Agency

1 Vertex

Founded 1996. MD Tom Drury. Live, automated. 70% inbound, 5%

outbound, 2% e-contact; 5% tactical, 70% strategic, 5% consultancy,

18% fulfilment. Clients include Marks & Spencer, Powergen, Orange.

Member CCA. www.vertex.co.uk

2 Ventura

Founded 1968. MD James Howell. Live, automated. 81% inbound, 13%

outbound, 3% e-contact; 2% tactical, 90% strategic, 2% fulfilment.

Clients include O2, Barclays, Department for Work and Pensions.

Member CCA. www.ventura-uk.com

3 Sitel UK*

Founded 1985. MD Chris Hollamby. Live, automated. 53% inbound, 33%

outbound, 10% e-contact; 5% tactical, 88% strategic, 4% consultancy,

3% fulfilment. Clients include Nectar, Centrica, Philips. Member

DMA, CCA. www.sitel.co.uk

4 MM Group

Founded 1950. CEO Jeff Smith. Live, automated. 60% inbound, 36%

outbound, 4% e-contact; 32% tactical, 39% strategic, 1% consultancy,

28% fulfilment. Clients include COI, Sainsbury's To You. Member DMA,

CCA. www.mmgroup.co.uk

5 Broadsystem

Founded 1984. MD Caroline Worboys. Live, automated. 60% inbound, 30%

outbound, 10% e-contact; 75% tactical, 20% strategic, 5% fulfilment.

Clients include P&G, Scottish and Southern Electricity, COI. Member

DMA, CCA. www.broadsystem.com

6 Prolog Connect

Founded 1981. MD Robert Audley. Live, automated. 83% inbound, 5%

outbound, 8% e-contact; 5% tactical, 58% strategic, 37% fulfilment.

No clients given. www.prologconnect.co.uk

7 Inkfish Call Centres

Founded 1995. MD Andrew Pearce. Mainly live. 64% inbound, 35%

outbound, 1% e-contact; 40% tactical, 60% strategic. Clients include

BSkyB, British Airways, Renault. Member DMA, CCA. www.inkfish.co.uk

8 Thus

Founded 1998. CEO William Allan. Live, automated. 35% inbound, 60%

outbound, 4% e-contact; 65% tactical, 33% strategic, 1% fulfilment.

Clients include Scottish Power, BSkyB, Hewlett-Packard. Member DMA,

CCA. www.thus.net

9 Merchants

Founded 1981. CEO Andrew Briggs. Live, automated. 78% inbound, 18%

outbound; 18% tactical, 81% strategic, 1% consultancy. Clients

include Unilever, National Australia Group, Edexcel. Member DMA,

CCA. www.merchants.co.uk

10 CPM*

Founded 1936. MD Mike Hughes. Live, automated. 45% inbound, 35%

outbound, 15% e-contact; 10% tactical, 70% strategic, 10%

consultancy, 10% fulfilment. lients include GlaxoSmithKline,

Kellogg. Member DMA, CCA. www.cpm-int.com

11 Response Handling

Founded 1991. MD John Boyle. Live, automated. 49% inbound, 47%

outbound, 3% e-contact; 64% tactical, 30% strategic, 1% consultancy,

3% fulfilment. Clients include BSkyB, Scottish Power. Member DMA,

CCA. www.response-handling.com

12 Garlands Call Centres

Founded 1980. CEO Chey Garland. Mainly live. 49% inbound, 46%

outbound, 5% e-contact; 56% tactical, 24% strategic, 2% fulfilment.

Clients include Freeserve, Virgin Mobile, Powergen. Member CCA.

www.cjgarland.co.uk

13 The Listening Company

Founded 1998. CEO Neville Upton. Mainly live. 35% inbound, 60%

outbound, 5% e-contact; 15% tactical, 75% strategic, 5% consultancy,

5% fulfilment. Clients include Microsoft, BUPA, Volkswagen. Member

DMA, CCA. www.listening.co.uk

14 HCL Technologies

Founded 1998. CEO Kevin Houston. Live operation. 79% inbound, 20%

outbound, 1% e-contact; 20% tactical, 80% strategic. Clients include

BT, B&Q, Prudential. Member CCA. www.hclbpo.com

15 BeCogent

Founded 1999. CEO Ron Peerenboom. Live, automated. 59% inbound, 39%

outbound, 2% e-contact; 30% tactical, 70% strategic. Clients include

Scottish Power, JD Williams, Telewest. Member DMA, CCA.

www.becogent.com

16 Arvato Services

Founded 2000. CEO Asif Hamid. Live, automated. 60% inbound, 30%

outbound, 8% e-contact; 15% tactical, 80% strategic, 5% consultancy.

Clients include Microsoft, 3, EDF. Member DMA, CCA.

www.arvatoservices.co.uk

17 SR Teleperformance

Founded 1989. Joint MDs Bibi Bajwa, Neil Perring. Live operation.

30% inbound, 60% outbound, 10% e-contact; 5% tactical, 40%

strategic, 5% consultancy, 5% fulfilment. Clients include BAA, Emap.

Member DMA, CCA. ww.srteleperformance.com

18 HBS Contact Centre Services

Founded 1998. MD Lionel Phillips. Live, automated. 10% inbound, 90%

outbound; 40% tactical, 52% strategic, 8% consultancy. Clients

include British Gas, Carphone Warehouse, Sainsbury's Home Phone.

Member DMA, CCA. www.hbs.uk.com

19 iSKY Europe

Founded 1981. MD Shawn Smith. Live, automated. 45% inbound, 45%

outbound, 3% e-contact; 12% tactical, 78% strategic, 4% fulfilment.

Clients include Honda, American Express Services Europe, Reg Vardy.

Member DMA, CCA. www.isky.co.uk

20 Dataforce Group

Founded 1971. CEO Andrew Johnson. Live, automated. 50% inbound, 30%

outbound, 18% e-contact; 25% tactical, 40% strategic, 5%

consultancy, 20% fulfilment. Clients incl Inland Revenue,

DaimlerChrysler. Member DMA, CCA. www.dataforce.co.uk

21 Telecom Express*

Founded 1989. CEO Damon Russell. Live, automated. Activity breakdown

not given. Clients include NTL, The Daily Telegraph, BBC. Member

DMA, CCA. www.telecomexpress.co.uk

22 MGt

Founded 1997. CEO Jonathan Guthrie. Live, automated. 65% inbound,

30% outbound, 5% e-contact; 28% tactical, 66% strategic, 1%

consultancy, 4% fulfilment. Clients include The Art Fund, SET Asia.

Member DMA, CCA. www.mgtplc.com

23 Kingston Comms Contact Centres

Founded 2000. MD David Bishop. Live, automated. 70% inbound, 20%

outbound, 10% e-contact; 20% tactical, 70% strategic, 5%

consultancy. Clients include Hull City Council, Powergen,

Barclaycard. Member DMA, CCA. www.kcom.com

24 EWA*

Founded 1982. MD Paul Luxon. Live, automated. 55% inbound, 30%

outbound, 15% e-contact. Clients include Teacher Training Agency,

Marks & Spencer, Adidas. Member DMA. www.ewagroup.com

25 Pell & Bales

Founded 1990. CEO Karl Howeger. Live, automated. 5% inbound, 95%

outbound; 75% tactical, 10% consultancy, 10% fulfilment. Clients

include Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, NSPCC. www.pellandbales.co.uk

26 Telegen UK

Founded 2000. MD Tony Kinghorn. Live, automated. 15% inbound, 85%

outbound; 10% tactical, 85% strategic, 5% consultancy. Clients

include EDF Energy, American Life, Caudwell. Member DMA.

www.telegenuk.com

27 Portal Hosting

Founded 1998. MD John Gotley. Live, automated. 10% inbound, 40%

outbound, 50% other (back office); 100% strategic. Clients include

Powergen, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland. Member CCA.

www.portal-centres.com

28 2Touch

Founded 1969. MD Stuart Gray. Live, automated. 60% inbound, 36%

outbound, 4% e-contact; 14% tactical, 29% strategic, 54% fulfilment.

Clients include Direct Marketing Association, Toyota, NatWest.

Member DMA, CCA. www.2touch.co.uk

29 The Message Pad

Founded 1994. MD Christopher James. Live, automated. 90% inbound, 5%

outbound, 5% e-contact; 5% tactical, 80% strategic, 10% consultancy,

5% fulfilment. Clients include Mecca Bingo, Almex Information

Systems. www.message-pad.com

30 Navigator Customer Management

Founded 1991. MD Nigel Pearson. Live, automated. 45% inbound, 35%

outbound, 15% e-contact; 10% tactical, 75% strategic, 5%

consultancy, 5% fulfilment. Clients include Skoda, Seat, Heinz.

Member DMA, CCA. www.navigatorcm.com

31 Market Reach

Founded 1994. MD Gary Hitching. Live operation. 100% outbound; 100%

strategic. No clients given. Member DMA, CCA. www.marketreach.co.uk

32 Icordia

Founded 1996. MD Glen Coffey. Live, automated. 40% inbound, 40%

outbound, 20% e-contact; 55% tactical, 35% strategic, 10%

fulfilment. Clients include Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony

Online, Dixons. Member DMA. www.icordia.co.uk

33 ICLP

Founded 1987. MD Colin Evans. Mainly live. 40% inbound, 40%

outbound, 20% e-contact; 5% tactical, 65% strategic, 8% consultancy,

22% fulfilment. Clients incl TTA, Radisson SAS, Learning and Skills

Council. Member DMA. www.iclployalty.co.uk

34 The Ops Room

Founded 1988. MD Stewart Millington. Live, automated. 33% inbound,

63% outbound, 4% e-contact; 4% tactical, 52% strategic, 16%

consultancy, 10% fulfilment. Clients include Land Rover, Christian

Dior. Member DMA. www.opsroom.co.uk

35 Telefocus

Founded 1979. Chairman Nicolas Tsoucalas. Live operation. 100%

outbound; 100% tactical. No clients given. Member DMA, CCA.

www.telefocus.co.uk

36 The Telemarketing Company

Founded 1990. MD Niall Habba. Live operation. 100% outbound; 60%

tactical, 40% strategic. Clients include Sony, Aventis Pasteur,

Telewest. Member DMA. www.ttmc.co.uk

37 Ion Group

Founded 1995. MD Graham Ede. Live, automated. 45% inbound, 35%

outbound, 10% e-contact; 27% tactical, 57% strategic, 1%

consultancy, 13% fulfilment. Clients incl Audi UK, Nissan, Harley

Davidson. Member DMA, CCA. www.iongroup.co.uk

38 Positive Contact

Founded 2000. MD Edward Leask. Live, automated. 10% inbound, 80%

outbound; 60% tactical, 30% strategic, 5% consultancy, 5%

fulfilment. Clients incl Centrica Group, Grattan, Screwfix Direct.

Member DMA, CCA. www.positive-contact.co.uk

39 Phonetics (UK)

Founded 2003. MD Richard Overy. Live operation. 80% inbound, 15%

outbound; 85% tactical, 10% strategic, 5% fulfilment. Clients

include Reader's Digest Association, Honda UK, BHS.

www.phonetics.co.uk

40 IDS Media Group

Founded 1994. Chairman Martin Crilly. Mainly live. 14% inbound, 81%

outbound, 5% e-contact; 65% tactical, 25% strategic, 2% consultancy,

3% fulfilment. Clients incl DCC Energy, Bank of Ireland. Member

Irish DMA. www.idsmediagroup.com

41 BCC Marketing Services

Founded 1989. Chairman Brian Binley. Mainly live. 5% inbound, 90%

outbound, 5% e-contact; 100% tactical. Clients not given. Member

DMA. www.bccmarketing.co.uk

42 Channel Strategy

Founded 1993. MD Helena Adams. Live, automated. 20% inbound, 75%

outbound, 5% e-contact; 68% tactical, 25% strategic, 5% consultancy,

2% fulfilment. Clients not given. Member DMA.

www.channelstrategy.co.uk

43 Senior Response

Founded 2001. Joint MDs Chris Aldcroft, Mike Bingham. Live

operation. 5% inbound, 95% outbound; 5% tactical, 85% strategic, 5%

consultancy, 5% fulfilment. Clients include Age Concern Enterprises,

AIG. Member DMA. www.seniorresponse.co.uk

44 Eclipse Marketing

Founded 1988. MD David Pickering. Live, automated. 70% inbound, 20%

outbound, 10% e-contact; 85% tactical, 5% strategic, 5% consultancy,

5% fulfilment. Clients include Mazda, Peugeot, Churchill. Member

DMA. www.eclipsemarketing.co.uk

45 Stormark

Founded 1984. MD Jil Ellis. Live operation. 5% inbound, 95%

outbound; 80% tactical, 20% strategic. Clients include Toyota,

Toshiba, Johnson's Service Group. Member DMA. www.stormark.ltd.uk

46 Price Direct

Founded 1990. MD John Price. Live operation. 100% outbound; 100%

tactical. Clients include BP, Reed Mardev, Zylab. Member DMA.

www.pricedirect.com

47 Contact Partners

Founded 2003. MD John Mayo. Live, automated. 30% inbound, 65%

outbound, 5% e-contact; 40% tactical, 55% strategic, 5% fulfilment.

Clients include Norwich Union, Reach Telecom, First Assist. Member

CCA. www.contact-partners.com

*Companies House financial data provided by Willott Kingston Smith on

agencies affected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. L=live operators,

I=automated interactive, P=automated passive

TOP 10 FOR GROWTH

Big agencies

Agency Turnover Turnover Change

2003 (pounds) 2002 (pounds) (%)

1 HCL Technologies 13,770,000 5,243,000 163

2 Response Handling 19,000,000 12,400,000 53

3 MM Group 45,199,000 33,000,000 37

4 Garlands Call Centres 16,200,000 12,000,000 35

5 Arvato Services 12,300,000 10,700,000 15

6 Vertex 323,100,000 282,000,000 15

7 Merchants 23,505,000 20,749,000 13

8 Broadsystem 38,863,000 34,958,000 11

9 Inkfish Call Centres 25,100,000 22,700,000 11

10 Ventura 112,000,000 101,900,000 10

TOP 10 FOR GROWTH

Small agencies

Agency Turnover Turnover Change

2003 (pounds) 2002 (pounds) (%)

1 Senior Response 843,366 320,000 164

2 IDS Media Group 1,372,000 872,000 57

3 Icordia 4,200,000 3,020,000 39

4 Positive Contact 2,421,934 1,749,781 38

5 Kingston Comms 7,440,000 5,388,000 38

6 ICLP 3,900,000 2,900,000 34

7 Pell & Bales 6,914,000 5,255,000 32

8 BCC Marketing Services 1,300,000 1,000,000 30

9 Channel Strategy 1,230,000 950,000 29

10 Ion Group 2,800,000 2,300,000 22

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