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Journeycall Feeling Full Impact of Coronavirus

During the pandemic it’s been easy to identify some sectors which have been disproportionately impacted.

The problems within the hospitality sector have been well documented, as have airlines, tourism attractions and retailers to name a few.

But in the Angus seaside town of Arbroath is one of the most extreme examples of the impact of Covid.

For more than a decade Journeycall has been one of the county’s major success stories.

With advanced tech systems and well trained staff, the contact centre found remarkable success in winning business with large transport operators.

Have a problem with your Oyster card on the London underground? The person on the other end of the phone is in Arbroath.

But in the Angus seaside town of Arbroath is one of the most extreme examples of the impact of Covid.

For more than a decade Journeycall has been one of the county’s major success stories.

With advanced tech systems and well trained staff, the contact centre found remarkable success in winning business with large transport operators.

Have a problem with your Oyster card on the London underground? The person on the other end of the phone is in Arbroath.

When Covid-19 hit, the impact was severe and immediate. With the order to stay at home and so heavily reliant on the public transport sector its revenues plummeted overnight.

The reduction in demand for its services wasn’t monitored day-by-day, but hour-by-hour.

In the summer of 2020 it made around 20 redundancies. The firm said the decline in people using public transport was as high as 85%.

The accounts for the year to the end of July 2020, taking in three months of Covid-19 and the first lockdown, showed a stark decline. Revenue at Journeycall more than halved to £44.1m.

A further, more severe, round of job cuts followed in January last year, when 50 people lost their jobs.

Now, newly published accounts show the sobering financial performance in 2020-21.

In the year to July 2021, revenues fell to £4.8m – less than a 20th of its sales two years earlier.

Journeycall remains in profit, with a surplus of £220,000 last year.

In the firm’s strategic report director Terence Dunn said: “The company is operating in a market that has become more competitive over the years and some businesses following a trend to move this function overseas.

“Journeycall Limited remains committed to delivering high quality UK based services.

“Covid has and continues to be a significant risk. Whilst we have managed to navigate the risks that the initial two variants presented, any further Covid lockdowns would have more significant impacts on our business.

“The continued commitment and investment to diversify the business becomes ever more important.”

There was an average of 206 members of staff during 2021, a reduction from 355 the previous year.

In June 2021 Journeycall said it was starting to recruit again and won several major contracts.

At the time Theresa Slevin, group chief executive of Journeycall’s owner, the ESP Group, said: “We have survived an incredibly difficult year, which involved making some very tough decisions, such as placing staff on furlough and sadly letting some staff go.”

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