Portadown based contact centre Answercall Direct Limited beat off stiff competition at the Irish Contact Centre awards last night to claim the award for the best contact centre marketing strategy.

The annual competition attracted over 90 entries across 11 categories including many big names such as AIB Direct Banking, Dell and Esat BT.

Davd McKeown, Contact Centre Investment Manager with Invest Northern Ireland said that this was further confirmation of the high standards within the Northern Ireland Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industry: “The award demonstrates Answercall Direct’s commitment to excellence and is an indication of the strength of Northern Ireland’s call centre industry as a whole.”

Answercall Direct, which was established by Kelsey Buck in 1999, now employs close to 300 at its Co. Armagh facility. It operates as an outsourced call centre to the local charity, healthcare and motor trade and clients include BT, Lindsay Cars, the Agnew Group, Concern and The Dairy Council. More recently, the company has won contracts with companies in the US and GB markets. As a completely web-enabled centre it offers clients a 24 hour 7 day a week seamless communications link for business-to-business or business-to-consumer contact as well as a disaster recovery option.

David McKeown continues: “Northern Ireland’s standing in the call centre sector has been shaped by the availability of highly educated staff who communicate warmth and efficiency. The region has been three times voted the most efficient location for contact centres by independent research company Mitial. Indeed, more than 30 contact centres have set up in Northern Ireland in recent years, including companies such as Halifax, Abbey National, Regus, IAS (Fortis), British Airways, BT, National Australia Bank, Teletech Holdings and Acer Inc.

AnswerCall’s success was due to their ‘Direct Response’ campaign targeted at managing directors and outsourcing managers. The campaign was designed to promote innovative ways in which contact centres can help businesses with telemarketing, customer care and after sales support.

Kelsey Buck, founder and MD of AnswerCall Direct said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this title, particularly as it comes on the back of an award from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Royal Mail earlier this week. As an organisation we have invested a significant amount in marketing our services to businesses in Ireland and further afield. The result is that in the space of three years we have built the company up to an annual turnover of £4.7million and an employer of close to 300.”