Twenty Years of Co-operation, Excellence, Trust and Loyalty
Frontline began its journey in 1999, at a time when call centres were just beginning their rise. The original Frontline Telephone Answering Service opened in a tiny office in Warsash, later moving to Whiteley and then becoming Frontline Communications Group, settling in a prime location in Cosham.
Starting with just two clients, Frontline now proudly partners with over 150 companies from multiple sectors including funeral support, reactive maintenance and emergency response. We have grown with the industry and maintained it’s reputation as a trustworthy business partner and investor in our employees.
Our ability to adopt new technology and software- including the use of our clients’ external systems- has ensured that we can provide the highest levels of customer service. At the beginning, we wrote down all messages manually but have swiftly evolved to use multichannel communications. Clients rely on us to help enhance the relationship between our clients and their customers. They know that we are part of their team and that our outstanding customer service skills will represent them as well as their own staff.
Over the years Frontline has been recognised for it’s excellent customer service, including being recognised by the National Call Centre Awards for it’s outstanding staff.
Frontline currently holds these memberships:
SAIF – Associate Member of The National Society of Allied Funeral Directors
UKCCF – UK Contact Centre Forum
NAFD – National association of Funeral Directors
Expertise & Customer Relations
Frontline prides itself on the care we take to ensure that each client is treated individually and its specific needs catered for. When a new company joins us, we create a unique script that ensures we take the necessary information to fully assist their customers. Call control- completing calls in good time but taking all pertinent details- and customer communication is skills that we have honed over our twenty years of service.
Our in-house training is of the highest standard and each operator is thoroughly prepared before taking calls. Coaching sessions and upskilling all members of staff are ongoing as we receive updated information from clients and their needs change over time. Training sessions with visiting clients have proven to be invaluable in increasing our knowledge about the way they work and how they expect calls to be dealt with and has resulted in great customer satisfaction. In the last five years, Frontline has had the opportunity to work with local colleges so all staff can study for nationally recognised qualifications such as NVQs and VRQs. This has given them a great confidence boost and lets our clients know how serious we are about giving our staff the knowledge they need in order to provide the best service
Co-operation, Excellence, Trust and Loyalty are the ‘Frontline Values’ that define how we work with our clients to achieve the best results and enhance their customer satisfaction. We co-operate with clients and become part of their team, rather than labelling ourselves a ‘sub-contractor’. We are part of them and work towards the same goals. We maintain excellence in the quality of our call handling and customer communication to enhance our clients’ reputations as well as our own. We respect the clients’ wishes, following instructions and dealing with customers in a way that satisfies their own ethics and values, and we remain loyal to them in following these guidelines.
Frontline has always maintained that it’s most important asset is its operators- they are our ‘product’ and maintain good relations with our clients by handling each call appropriately. They are what attracts new companies to our service and we appreciate the hard work they do every day.
Frontline maintains an atmosphere of friendly professionalism, maintaining excellent relations between management, team leaders and operators. Although this hierarchy exists, our operators know they can approach all levels of staff in order to resolve issues or to make any suggestions. Encouraged by this close-knit family atmosphere, staff take care of each other and have formed long-lasting friendships that shaped our ability to work as a team, reinforcing the work ethic and the Frontline Values.
An interview with the founders- Nigel & Tricia
Q1 Why did you want to start Frontline, specifically this type of business?
“We wanted to start a business of our own because we wanted to work together and although it may sound corny we couldn’t stand being apart from each other!! (True Love what!). Setting up our own business and working together was the solution and Tricia had some call centre experience. Tricia had been unfairly dismissed from her previous job and it had made her virtually unemployable another reason for going into business. Tricia was also under a contract that she couldn’t take their customers for at least 5 years, however, our aim was always to open a call centre.”
Q2 What would you say is the greatest change from it’s start in 1999?
“Technology. When we first started out there was no computers or none that we could afford at the time. Everything was done by hand, accounts, call details all written on colour coded dockets. We had an index box which held the details of the contract and what information needed to be collected, we had a time stamp to date and time the dockets, everything was written by hand. Inbound calls were on pink dockets, outbound calls were on blue dockets, orange dockets for fax machines or pagers and yellow dockets were for temporary instructions. If a message was taken in then a pink docket would be put in the docket boxes and immediately you could see if a call needed to be handed out, if a yellow docket was in the docket box you know that that overrode the instruction in the card index for example if someone was on holiday. There were very few mobile phones and no internet.”
Q3 What have been the highlights of your time in Frontline and your favourite period in it’s history?
“We loved our time at Whitely as the business was growing quickly and there was a real buzz. There were lots of new staff that joined us..”
Q4 What would say are the greatest strengths that Frontline has?
“Frontline’s greatest strength is its staff and its culture. Yes, we have a turnover of staff, it’s the nature of the business but we have many who have been with us for years. They are the backbone of the business and have made a huge contribution to our continued success.”
Q5 How has Frontline’s relationship with its clients developed over time?
“Our very first client was a Chiropractor, a really small contract perhaps only three calls a day but it was a start. We then won the contract for the Forestry Commission and Portsmouth District Nurses which we loved and they loved us. We’ve always tried to look after our clients, working on the principle that’s it’s easier to keep a customer than find a new one.”
Q6 What puts Frontline above its competitors?
“What puts Frontline above its competitors is that its 24 x 7, 365 days year. It’s a bespoke service made especially for their business. We have a collaborative culture and we’re always constantly learning especially learning from mistakes. There are no mistakes only learning opportunities. Our growth has come from recommendations rather than marketing the business and because we are a small to medium business we can be very flexible and mercurial so we can adapt quickly to change.”
Q7 What is your hope for the future of Frontline?
“Our hope for the future is that Frontline continues with sustainable growth and that the culture remains positive, proactive and a ‘can do’ attitude. That we embrace technology and keep up with the ‘state of the art’ systems and keep an eye on technology as new things are being invented, like a chatbot, AI etc. “
As Frontline reaches it’s 20th anniversary, it also says farewell to one of its founders, Tricia Jones.
Tricia has been Frontline’s personal pep rally & head cheerleader, boosting morale and always taking time to take care of her staff. A woman with an irrepressible bounce and joyful outlook, it’s hard to imagine this company without her.
A talent that Tricia has shown time and time again is encouraging Frontline’s growth by maintaining great relations with existing clients and showing off our skills to sign on new companies to our service. Amazing what a sunny smile and buckets of charm can do!
From its early days, Tricia has helped nurture this company into what it is today. Now we hope she can enjoy her retirement and know that we’ll miss her greatly, but wish her every happiness.