A growing telemarketing firm is bucking the trend for offshoring to the Far East - and developing its business in Birmingham.
Oracle Marketing - which celebrated its fifth birthday on Friday - has been assisted by Business Link Birmingham and Solihull to develop its services so it can cope with the growing number of firms that require help both making calls and responding to them.
The business specialises in making appointments for clients with key decision makers - and prides itself on training staff to be able to converse at a business level with company bosses. It has a number of blue chip clients but is now expanding to cope with the growing call centre market.
The company has grown to employ 18 people and Jaine Bates, a director, said it anticipates continuing to expand to take on 30 people.
She said: "We don't want to get any larger than that. We want to ensure we maintain quality control."
The company celebrated its fifth year in style - the entire staff was given the day off as a thank you for their efforts.
Oracle decided that to compete with the cheap labour in India and the Far East it needs to offer added value and a highly-trained workforce.
This means its staff need to be able to speak knowledgably on any client's products and services but also make it appear seamless so the person on the other end of the phone believes they are speaking to the company directly, not an outsourced call centre.
Business Link contributed towards the cost of a new " intelligent" phone system.
This will detect the number dialled and produce a script and relevant comments for that particular client, meaning all the information needed is produced immediately on screen for the operator to use.
Louise Adam, another director, said: "We take great pride in the fact that we have a highly skilled workforce. Training and development is very important to us and we work hard to get the product knowledge.
"Staff will have been on an intensive course so they are knowledgeable of a client's product or service. All our telephonists are part-time, but because some of the calls we get are fairly technical we only want people working for us who are eager to learn and be trained."
Call centres get a bad name because they do not have product knowledge and there is a high turnover of staff.
She said: "We can't compete with the big call centres and we don't want to. We like to give a return on investment.
"We provide a tailor-made service. We do a pilot campaign for ten days to work out what needs to be done for the clients, then move on from there by setting targets and levels of performance."