Q&A Nev

Interview with Nev - Call Centre Boss

Interview with Nev

Why did you decide to open a call centre in India?

We'd looked at opening a call centre in some different countries, like South Africa, Dubai, and the Philippines. Even Pakistan. I thought India would be interesting as a place to go.

What did you know about India before you went?

It's amazing how little I knew. I knew Goa was a holiday destination and I knew a lot of historical things - Mother Theresa and the Taj Mahal and the Black Hole of Calcutta and so on. But in terms of modern knowledge - who's the current prime minister of India? I had no idea. How many Indian people could I name? No, not many. So when I went out there, I had some lessons to learn some of the language - "Namaste" for "hello", "supra" for "thank you". And I wanted to learn a bit about the culture.

Did you enjoy being in Delhi?

I did. There were lots of things I loved. I loved riding in the tuk-tuks. I wanted to buy a tuk-tuk but you have to have a special licence to buy one, even if it's for personal use. We went to the Taj Mahal which was incredible. I was just awestruck at seeing it. And we had some lovely food. They have some powerful curries over there! But they were delicious. You do kill for a steak after a while, mind you. They don't eat beef over there so I did miss that. They eat a bit of lamb and chicken but most people are vegetarian so that was a bit of a struggle. To be honest with you, I haven't had a curry since I came home because I couldn't face it. It was curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner out there so I did crave fish and chips.

Did you like the Indian people?

They are very smiley, positive people and that's my philosophy in life too. They are very happy with their lot. They don't have all our first world problems - "the battery has run out on my iPhone". It's strange because they have third world problems but they seem to have a lot less stress than we do.

Did you see a lot of poverty?

Yes, you see people sleeping on the streets, and kids without clothes sleeping on a little blanket on the pavement. That was difficult to see. There are also people who are extremely rich, but it's just not shared out. The wealth needs to be spread a little bit more. It's like it was over here 100 years ago, and it needs to be sorted out.

How did you go about recruiting your call centre staff?

We used a recruitment agent who recruited on the internet and they were very successful for us. Then we got the candidates in for interviews, followed by training. They had to sing for me, of course. It took them four or five songs to get into the swing of it. In Wales, it gets going a bit quicker. The Indians were a bit shyer. But they did 'Mr Brightside', '500 Miles', and some Bollywood songs, which was great.

What did you teach your call centre staff about Welsh and British culture?

We started with language - I tried to explain a few Welsh slang words and get them used to our accents. We taught them a few things they could drop into the conversation with Welsh people. I tried my best to teach them all about Swansea City.

How did you get on with the team when you were out there?

Hayley got really involved, bless her. And so did Dwayne, although he wanted to be the boss. I don't think Johnny enjoyed it very much. The dynamics of the group changed throughout the trip and it became quite hard by the end. Three months is a long time to be abroad together.

Your dad passed away during filming, didn't he?

Yes, he was 78 but he'd been working right up until he was 75. He was a professor, pro-vice chancellor of Swansea University, and had an OBE. The brain skipped a generation, obviously! So his CV was very impressive and he was very popular. The funeral was massive and it went very well. People flew over from Canada, the States, Holland, everywhere. I had to fly back for the funeral of course and that was difficult. I read something and cried my eyes out and then I had to go back to India.

Was your time in Delhi an enjoyable experience?

It was one hell of an experience. Invaluable. I learned an awful lot. We had some great laughs. Hayley is just daft. It was continuously hilarious. She was desperate to be Hayley the curry lady, but the first curry she made looked awful, tasted awful - she put in double the amount of spices she was supposed to put in. It smelled obnoxious. But you have to give her 10/10 for effort.