AppleCare : 200 jobs are under threat at a call centre Conduent in Sophia Antipolis

The activity AppleCare located in Sophia Antipolis, sub-contracted by Apple to the group Conduent, may well stop this summer, Apple wants to break his contract. The key to this, uncertainties on the future of some 200 employees who are working in this call center.

Image : Conduent

When you contact AppleCare for a problem, some communications are managed by the subsidiary of Apple in Cork in Ireland, but not always. This is not a secret that Apple, like many companies, outsources part of its technical support. But when she talks about her SERVICE on the european continent, it puts forward the teams multi-national clients based in Ireland rather than the hundreds of employees of its service providers.

In France, Apple relies on Conduent, born there two years separation with Xerox. This group has several addresses in france, in Roubaix for example, but it has two sites at the exclusive service of Apple : one of Guilherand-Granges in Ardeche (since 2012/2013), and that of Biot in the business park of Sophia Antipolis (since 2016). Conduent also responds to customers Apple the turks and germans, from Istanbul in Turkey, to the Russian from Prague in the Czech Republic. Apple has other suppliers, it relies on Avarto (Poitiers) or Teleperformance and Concentrix (Portugal).

According to two of our sources, Conduent Sophia Antipolis needs to close its doors on July 12, following the rupture of the contract with Apple, on the initiative of the latter. A priori, no customer is emerging to take over Apple and occupy the 200 to 250 employees of the site (figures as of the end of 2016).

Always according to our contacts, at least two factors can explain this decision of Apple to remove : the bad results of the satisfaction surveys and a significant decrease on the volume of calls.

The website of Nice is unknown to a staff turnover particularly high : “each year, it is the equivalent of two times the workforce of the site that changes the ” we said one of those contacts. The conditions of work had been criticized by the SUD union, which had launched a strike notice in January and the site in the ardèche, for its part, has seen walkouts in 2017 and 2018 (read New strike in the AppleCare team Conduent in the Ardèche).

The second factor would be the direct result of the decline of iPhone sales. Fewer products sold, it is less work for the call centers. Here, again, the difference in the number of cases treated would be particularly sensitive.

The employees of this site, deal with calls from first-level (Third party 1) for questions on iOS, macOS, those relating to the accounts, AppleID, or sharing family.

The site of ardèche of Guillerand-Barns near Valencia would not be threatened. It manages the same issues that its cousin in nice, as well as questions of the level “tier 2”. For example, those for the Apple Watch, the management of billing (such as refunds of purchases from the iTunes Store), the products, the Beats, and, more anecdotally, the sensor sleep Beddit purchased by Apple in 2017. The téléconseillers in addition, the chat with the customers, unlike their colleagues in the south.

The CEO of the group Conduent, whose specialties are not confined to call centres, announced last week that he would be leaving soon to his post. A decision on the merits of quarterly revenue in decline of 4% (1.12 billion dollars) and a loss of $ 308 million ($50 million loss in the same quarter of 2018). Conduent provides for a turnover 2019 gradient of 3% to 4% compared to 2018.

Among the measures already taken there is the pursuit of a reorientation of the workforce Conduent to low cost countries. In the first quarter of 2017, 90,000 employees were working in countries at costs said to be high (55% of the total). This rose to 48% this year (67 000 people). An item ” key in order to remain competitive , “explained the direction of Conduent in the communication of its results.

The case of Sophia Antipolis does not seem to register in this logic of geographical redistribution of sites and teams, since it is the customer, Apple, which is at the origin of this risk of closure.

We contacted Conduent Europe and Apple France on the question of the future of this center and its employees, having had no return of the share of the two companies.