My week: Dino Forte of Ventrica

The entrepreneur on staying behind the camera, being a glutton for punishment and why he's staying put in Southend.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
My week is a real mess. The only real structure is that if I’m in the office then I’ll hold a 10 o’clock meeting with the sales and management teams. We’re a contact centre – we handle all the telephone and email communications for large companies – so we have to get the team off the phones for half an hour to sit down and go through targets and congratulate our super-star performer of the previous day.
 
If I’m not in the office, it means I’ll either be out at a meeting with the bank, or perhaps our PR company. We’ve had quite a few meetings with our media agency recently too. We’re just shooting some new videos for our site at the moment, so we’ve got a film crew in here today. They’re going to go in the section on the site about our multi-lingual capabilities. I hate being on camera so I’ll be staying firmly behind the scenes and give some direction on the kind of thing we’re after.

Our language capability is a core part of our business. So if one of our clients wants us to make sales calls on their behalf across France, Spain and Holland, we are able to do that. We have actually just installed a new French team this week. I love the humdrum of a busy contact centre. This is second time round for me in this line of work: I sold the first contact centre that I built to 300 seats from scratch to a large Indian conglomerate about three years ago. And then I stupidly decided to do it all again. I really missed it, I suppose; the people, the noise, the activity.

The company’s based in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, which is actually a great place to have this kind of business because there are lots of staff in the area trained in contact centre skills. Not many people know this but all of the original contact centres were built in Southend – everyone from the new defunct Access credit cards, to Natwest and HSBC had their customer service calls answered in this corner of Essex.

It’s also great because it’s close to my home in Shoeburyness. I’m working 80 hour weeks at the moment and when I’m leaving the office at midnight, it’s good to know I can be home in 10 minutes. For the last year and a half it has been so full-on, I can barely remember what life was like before I set up Ventrica. It’s all-consuming. I always knew it’d be a challenge setting up a business in the recession, and boy has it been a challenge. A good one though.

Dino Forte is founder and MD of outsourced contact centre Ventrica

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