National Poet of Wales celebrates contact centres’ vital role in keeping people connected

Read Welsh language version

  • BT partners with National Poet of Wales to create 'Sgyrsiau', a poem to celebrate the importance of 'conversations' and connectivity

  • The poem is to mark the completion of major redevelopment of Bangor's BT service centre, home of BT’s Welsh language customer helpline, and other teams

  • Contact centre adviser says many callers are dealing with loneliness and isolation: “It could be the only chat they have that day or week”

  • The poem has been brought to life with a striking video which can be seen here


The National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn has written a new poem called ‘Sgyrsiau’ (Conversations), celebrating the important role connectivity and customer call handlers play in keeping people and the country connected.

The poem – written in Welsh and in the form of an ‘englyn’, a traditional Welsh short poem – was commissioned by BT to mark the completion of the redevelopment of its customer service centre in Bangor.

The centre provides a number of services for the company, including housing BT’s Welsh language customer service helpline. In 1994, BT became one of the first large private companies in the UK to adopt a voluntary bilingual policy in relation to the Welsh language, supporting the more than half a million Welsh speakers in Wales currently.

The poem reflects on the importance of staying connected and the value of hearing a ‘friendly voice’ down the line.

Frontline customer service agents, including BT’s Welsh language customer service team in Bangor, were designated key workers by government at the start of the pandemic and have continued to work throughout the outbreak, with Covid-19 safety measures in place.

BT’s customer service teams have seen a significant increase in the number calls during the period, with many customers calling to ask for increased connectivity to stay in touch with friends and family, and to support home learning and working. Call handlers also deal with customers facing difficult financial situations, as well as vulnerable customers and those dealing with loneliness.

Keith Jones, a member of BT’s Welsh language customer helpline team in Bangor, said: “It’s clearly been a difficult time for many customers, so if we can have that initial chat and hear about challenges they may be facing like health problems or work issues, we then know their circumstances and can better help them stay connected.

“COVID-19 has also fuelled loneliness and isolation. Being alone means many customers are not seeing anyone. This makes the phone call they make to us even more important. It could be the only chat they have that day or week.

“Being local and personal is such a big part of what we do, so we’re really proud to be able to provide support, including to those in our communities who need it most.”

It’s been one year since BT completed its commitment to answer 100% of its consumer customer service calls in the UK and Ireland, with the aim of providing a more personal and local service to its customers.

The Bangor team say that many of the people who call know that BT’s Welsh language helpline is based in the city and that this leads to natural discussions about where they’re from and shared experiences.

Keith Jones added: “By having those conversations at the start of the call about where they’re from and maybe how the rugby or football team is doing, that local touch can really put the customer at ease. It means you can then just get on and resolve their issue more effectively.

“Many of the customers who call us also value and appreciate the fact that they can deal with their issues in Welsh and many comment on this at the beginning of the call. It’s the first-language of many households and there are a lot of people who are more relaxed and confident discussing their issues in Welsh.”

BT announced last summer that its centre in Bangor – located in the heart of the city – was to undergo a full refurbishment to modernise it and create an improved workspace for the 150 or so staff based currently at the location. The redevelopment is part of the company’s ‘Better Workplace’ programme. It will see BT consolidate the number of office locations from more than 300 to around 30 across the UK, including Bangor and Cardiff which have so far been announced. Colleagues will benefit from new and refurbished workspaces as the company modernises.

The refit of the Bangor office has now been completed. The entire office has been modernised, with the introduction of new meeting rooms, relaxation areas and the latest conferencing technology.

Nick Speed, BT Group’s Director in Wales, said: “It’s great to have this wonderful piece of work from Wales’ National Poet to bring home the importance of connectivity and conversations. And to celebrate the completion of the new-look office in Bangor.

“I’m really proud of the role my colleagues have played, including here in Bangor, keeping our customers, including vulnerable people, connected.

“I’m also proud of our Welsh language support. Customers feel they’re getting a local and more personal service. Supporting the use of Welsh is good for the language, and for us as a business. I’d encourage more Welsh-speaking customers to use the services on offer.”


Poem by National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn:


Rhwydd iawn deialu rhyddhâd

o'n hiraeth, drwy gyd-siarad,

rhannu hwyl, rhannu eiliad...

A ffonio ein gorffennol

a ddaw â'r hen alaw 'nôl

i swyno ein presennol...

Onid gwych yw clywed gwên

y lles clws sydd mewn llais clên,

fel gwefr yng ngofal gwifren?


Poet’s translation to English:


Hiraeth is easily repaired

by dialling someone, who's shared

a moment of joy; who's cared...

And phoning friends from the past

recalls old tunes, like a blast,

healing our present at last.

How sweet thus to hear a smile,

the friendly voices that beguile,

sparkling down each cabled mile...



Photo credit: Photos by Deian Owen, part of BT's Voice Services team in Bangor


BT's Welsh language service

BT provides Welsh language customer service helplines (0800 800 288), including directory enquires, and produces bills in Welsh for those who request it. BT’s Welsh language policy was introduced to meet customer expectations and make sure that a reliable bilingual service was available to those who wanted to receive services in Welsh.

The policy has received praise from organisations across Wales, including from the Welsh Language Commissioner who joined BT in Bangor in 2019 to celebrate 25 years since the company’s policy was introduced.

BT Better Workplace programme

BT’s Better Workplace programme, first announced in 2018, is the largest workplace improvement and consolidation scheme of its type ever undertaken in the UK. It will consolidate BT Group’s UK footprint of more than 300 locations to around 30. The company has already announced several other locations including Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Belfast. It also plans to move from its current headquarters in London at St Paul’s to a new 320,000 square foot, 18-storey building near Aldgate East Station next year.


Bardd cenedlaethol Cymru yn dathlu cysylltedd a rôl hanfodol canolfannau cyswllt yn cadw pawb mewn cysylltiad

  • BT yn partneru gyda Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru i greu ‘Sgyrsiau’, cerdd i ddathlu pwysigrwydd sgyrsiau a chysylltedd

  • Y gerdd yn nodi cwblhau gwaith i ailddatblygu canolfan wasanaeth BT Bangor, cartref llinell gymorth cwsmeriaid Cymraeg BT, a thimau eraill

  • Un o dîm y ganolfan yn dweud fod nifer o alwyr yn delio ag unigrwydd: “Gallai fod yr unig sgwrs maen nhw'n ei chael y diwrnod neu'r wythnos honno”

  • Mae fideo newydd trawiadol wedi'i greu i gyflwyno'r gerdd, sydd i'w weld yma


Mae Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru Ifor ap Glyn wedi ysgrifennu cerdd newydd o’r enw ‘Sgyrsiau’, sy’n dathlu rôl bwysig cysylltedd a gweithwyr canolfannau cyswllt yn cadw pawb mewn cysylltiad.

Comisiynwyd y gerdd – a ysgrifennwyd ar ffurf englyn milwr – gan BT i nodi cwblhau ailddatblygiad eu canolfan gwasanaeth cwsmeriaid ym Mangor.

Mae'r ganolfan yn darparu nifer o wasanaethau i'r cwmni, gan gynnwys llinell gymorth gwasanaeth cwsmeriaid Cymraeg BT.

Ym 1994, BT oedd yn un o'r cwmnïau mawr preifat cyntaf yn y DU i gyflwyno polisi dwyieithog gwirfoddol, sy’n cefnogi'r mwy na hanner miliwn o siaradwyr Cymraeg yng Nghymru ar hyn o bryd.

Mae’r gerdd yn trafod pwysigrwydd cadw mewn cysylltiad a gwerth clywed ‘llais clên’ lawr ‘wifren’ ffôn.

Cafodd timau gwasanaeth cwsmeriaid rheng-flaen BT, gan gynnwys tîm gwasanaeth cwsmeriaid Cymraeg BT ym Mangor, eu dynodi’n weithwyr allweddol gan y llywodraeth ar ddechrau'r pandemig, ac maent wedi parhau i weithio trwy gydol y cyfnod, gyda mesurau diogelwch Covid-19 mewn lle.

Mae timau gwasanaeth cwsmeriaid BT wedi gweld cynnydd sylweddol yn nifer y galwadau yn ystod y cyfnod, gyda llawer o gwsmeriaid yn galw i ofyn am fwy o gysylltedd i gadw mewn cysylltiad â ffrindiau a theulu, ac i alluogi dysgu a gweithio o gartref. Mae’r timau yma hefyd yn delio â chwsmeriaid sy'n wynebu sefyllfaoedd ariannol anodd, yn ogystal â chwsmeriaid bregus a'r rhai sy'n delio ag unigrwydd.

Dywedodd Keith Jones, aelod o dîm llinell gymorth cwsmeriaid Cymraeg BT ym Mangor: “Mae'n amlwg ei bod wedi bod yn gyfnod anodd i lawer o gwsmeriaid, felly os allwn ni gael y sgwrs gychwynnol yna a chlywed am unrhyw heriau ma nhw’n eu hwynebu, fel problemau iechyd neu faterion gwaith, rydym wedyn yn gwybod eu hamgylchiadau a gallwn eu helpu yn haws o ran eu cysylltedd.

“Mae COVID-19 hefyd wedi arwain at fwy o unigrwydd. Mae bod ar eu pennau eu hunain yn golygu nad yw llawer o gwsmeriaid yn gweld unrhyw un. Mae hyn yn gwneud yr alwad ffôn maen nhw'n ei gwneud i ni hyd yn oed yn bwysicach. Gallai fod yr unig sgwrs maen nhw'n ei chael y diwrnod neu'r wythnos honno.

“Mae bod yn lleol a phersonol yn rhan mor bwysig o'r hyn rydyn ni'n ei wneud, felly rydyn ni'n wirioneddol falch ein bod ni'n gallu rhoi cymorth i bobol, yn enwedig y rhai yn ein cymunedau sydd ei angen fwyaf.”

Mae hi'n flwyddyn ers i BT gwblhau eu hymrwymiad i ateb 100% o’u galwadau gwasanaeth cwsmeriaid i alwyr yn y DU ac Iwerddon, gyda’r nod o ddarparu gwasanaeth fwy personol a lleol i’w cwsmeriaid.

Dywedodd y tîm ym Mangor fod nifer o bobl sy’n galw yn gwybod bod llinell gymorth Cymraeg BT wedi’i lleoli yn y ddinas a bod hyn yn arwain at drafodaethau naturiol ynghylch ble maen nhw’n byw a chysylltiadau lleol.

Ychwanegodd Keith Jones: “Trwy gael y sgyrsiau hynny ar ddechrau’r alwad o ran ble maen nhw’n byw ac efallai sut mae’r tîm rygbi neu bêl-droed yn gwneud, ma’r elfen leol yna’n gwneud gwahaniaeth ac yn gwneud i’r cwsmer deimlo’n gartrefol. Mae'n golygu y gallwch chi wedyn fwrw ymlaen yn haws a delio’r â’r rheswm dros eu galwad.

“Mae llawer o’r cwsmeriaid sy’n ffonio’r linell hefyd yn gwerthfawrogi’r ffaith eu bod yn gallu delio â’u materion yn Gymraeg, ac mae llawer yn nodi hyn ar ddechrau’r alwad. Dyma iaith gyntaf llawer o aelwydydd ac mae yna lawer o bobl yn hapusach ac yn fwy hyderus yn trafod eu materion yn Gymraeg.”

Cyhoeddodd BT y llynedd y byddai eu canolfan ym Mangor – sydd yng nghanol y ddinas – yn cael ei ailddatblygu’n sylweddol er mwyn moderneiddio’r safle ar gyfer y 150 o staff sydd wedi'u lleoli yno ar hyn o bryd. Mae’r ailddatblygiad yn rhan o raglen ‘Better Workplace’ y cwmni. Bydd yn gweld BT yn lleihau nifer y lleoliadau swyddfa o fwy na 300 i oddeutu 30 ledled y DU, gan gynnwys Bangor a Chaerdydd sydd wedi'u cyhoeddi hyd yn hyn. Bydd cydweithwyr yn elwa o weithleoedd newydd ac wedi'u hadnewyddu wrth i'r cwmni foderneiddio.

Mae gwaith adnewyddu swyddfa Bangor bellach wedi'i gwblhau. Mae'r swyddfa gyfan wedi'i foderneiddio, gyda ystafelloedd cyfarfod newydd, ardaloedd ymlacio a'r dechnoleg gynadledda ddiweddaraf.

Dywedodd Nick Speed, Cyfarwyddwr BT Group yng Nghymru: “Mae'n wych cael y gwaith yma gan Fardd Cenedlaethol Cymru sy’n cyfleu yn berffaith pwysigrwydd cysylltedd a sgyrsiau. Ac i ddathlu cwblhau'r swyddfa ar ei newydd wedd ym Mangor.

“Dw i’n wirioneddol falch o’r rôl y mae fy nghydweithwyr wedi’i chwarae, yn cynnwys y tîm yma ym Mangor, yn cadw pawb mewn cysylltiad, yn enwedig cwsmeriaid a allai fod yn fregus.

“Dw i’n falch hefyd o’r gwasanaethau rydyn ni'n eu cynnig yn Gymraeg. Mae cwsmeriaid yn teimlo eu bod yn cael gwasanaeth lleol a mwy personol. Mae hybu defnydd o'r Gymraeg yn dda i'r iaith, ac i ni fel busnes. Dw i’n annog mwy o gwsmeriaid sy'n siarad Cymraeg i ddefnyddio'r gwasanaethau hyn sydd ar gael.”