AO Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

AO Reviews

Updated 21 February 2019
190 reviews

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AO CEO John Roberts
John Roberts
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Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great environment to work in, you are looked after and also challenged in your role" (in 13 reviews)

  • "The company is very fast paced (sometimes a little hectic" (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • "Can be very fast paced occasionally but this is just a side effect of the dedication the team has" (in 15 reviews)

  • "Use to be the place to be (USE) NO Work life balance what so ever" (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "customer experience specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at AO full-time

    Pros

    good people, nice building and atmosphere

    Cons

    long hours, repetitive and low bonuses


  2. "Customer Experience Specialist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at AO full-time

    Pros

    decent pay, good people and food

    Cons

    bad rota sometimes, repetitive and tiring at times

  3. "Great entry level experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great people and overall culture

    Cons

    Below average pay with limited room to grow


  4. "Okay"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AO full-time

    Pros

    Free snacks
    5 percent pension contribution

    Cons

    Car park is about 10 mins walk from office


  5. "Ruined after being good"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Executive in Manchester, England
    Current Employee - Sales Executive in Manchester, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Was a good sales job, the bonus was good if you worked hard and the company looked after us quite well with loads of nights out and holiday incentives. We now have to sell the warranty as insurance so its no longer a sales job. The job is now even harder because you can't use your sales skills. Too much is now scripted so you lose your power to influence customers, so many changes from a year ago. I feel like a robot. This has happened to me at a previous job so I know what will happen. Shame as it was good for a long time.

    Cons

    More of a customer service, call centre job now, not a job for a proper salesperson. Loads of talk of people leaving every break.

    Advice to Management

    Move back from insurance. Our compliance was already good. This is making us all miserable and good people are leaving.


  6. "Manchester aftercare"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester, England
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Manchester, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time

    Pros

    good facilities, canteens good, free chocolate

    Cons

    poor communication, make redundancies after taking on new people, no longer a sales job. its turned into a insurance script customer service role. It used to be good but not now. The directers at Manchester are out of there depth and don't know what they are doing. if you are considering this company then choose Bolton instead.


  7. Helpful (17)

    "Good people, "eh" business."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Multimedia in Manchester, England
    Current Employee - Multimedia in Manchester, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Free snacks, good canteen and excellent colleagues, who really know their stuff. I've learnt more from them in my position than I have in a long time.

    Unfortunately these pros are largely overshadowed by the cons.

    Cons

    -Biggest for me, undervalued staff.

    Members of the team are paid well below market value for the skillsets they possess and there's basically zero chance to have this negotiated, as the company employs a blanket policy in regards to raises. If you haven't been singled out for a raise, tough luck.

    - Management is reactionary and doesn't seem to plan properly.

    They see something they think is cool, instantly declare to clients that "we do it better" then expect their teams to produce something that would take any other company months to get looking amazing in a matter of weeks; sometimes days, often with scattered feedback from upper management and last minute, major changes. That's if it gets through the seemingly dozens of sign offs it needs first, of course.

    -A lot of carrot on a stick tactics when it comes to progressing in your career.

    I've been here for over two years, and in that time have seen little if any opportunity to progress beyond a Junior position. And any time it's brought up, the answer I get tends to dance round the issue, with vague promises of "looking into it" or "feeling you're not quite ready".

    It feels like a rather cheap, dirty tactic, with comments often seeming to be personal rather professional. I was told in one meeting that a reason keeping me from progressing was "I sometimes come in looking like I don't want to be there."

    - Can't decide what image the business wants to project

    This one is definitely a little more subjective and probably unique to the department I work in but there seems to be some serious confusion in how they want to present themselves as a business. In some areas, they go for a sleek, no nonsense, up market look, in the style of John Lewis for example. In others, they do the complete opposite; portraying themselves as a fun, "off the wall" startup (think Innocent Smoothie)

    While neither are bad things per se, they should stick to one and really push it. As it is right now, neither works as well it could for the business as a whole.

    Sick pay -

    Sick pay is only awarded if you're off for three days or more and have a note from your GP. So even if you have a GP's note, if you're off for less than 3 days, bad luck, no sick pay for you. I had tonsillitis earlier this year, but was hesitant to take time off because my already meagre salary meant I'd be very stretched in my next pay packet.

    In the end, I took two days off, got a note from my GP and still lost out on pay. Not ideal.

    And if anything this might encourage people to take MORE time off, defeating the purpose of making sure people are off as little as possible.

    Advice to Management

    Do your research. Stop putting your head in the sand and telling yourself "Our way is the best way" because it most certainly isn't. There are dozens upon dozens of other business out there who do it better than us and we could learn an awful lot from them in order to improve our own department.

    Pay your staff what they're worth. There's good reason you've lost a significant chunk of them in just 5 months.

    I've also noticed the replies left by AO on some of the reviews here. They also dance round the point and spout poorly thought out rebuttals to save face, that nobody buys into. People wouldn't be leaving negative reviews if they did.

    Read the reviews carefully; take on board the criticisms and learn from them. Adapt the current practices and policies to make them better.

    You've an awful lot of talent in this business and it's being squandered. AO could go so much further as a business if just some of these things were ironed out.

    AO Response

    30 Jan 2019 – Recruitment Manager

    Thank you for your review

    It’s always disappointing to hear if someone feels they aren’t having a positive experience working here at AO, because we genuinely do everything we can to do to make... More

  8. Helpful (8)

    "Fake fun and games to distract from the issues"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - N/A in Bolton, England
    Former Employee - N/A in Bolton, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AO full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Nice people
    - If your ill during work or need to leave early for something they would let you
    - Fairly flexible with hours
    - work life balance

    Cons

    I worked at AO for a year and a half. Its a good place to start in your career and theirs some good people but that's about it. Pay throughout the whole business is way below the market average (except sales), staff turnover is a lot higher than what people realise, lots of people leave for better pay.
    They are desperate to come across a "fun" business that treats their employers amazing, they have a ping pong table, PS4, pool table, subsidised gym and the works Christmas do is fantastic, but in reality, the novelty of that wears off.
     They try to make up for low wages with free chocolate, which i noticed almost completely diminished towards the end of my time (they cut the budget massively). Quite often i heard recruitment on the phone gloating about their free chocolate and cheap gym membership in a bid to make up for low wages to potential employees - i mean, come on who cares about that stuff, pay your staff what they deserve and you might start retaining some of your better staff.
    Everyone wants to enjoy where they work, but at the end of the day you go to work to earn money, so if you want to earn some real money doing your job this is not the place for you. Their is plenty places that are nice to work with good pay. Don't believe the "ao is greatest place ever" hype.

    Advice to Management

    Managers need some form of training. Not sure about the rest of the business but mine were not very good. Sometimes i felt very undervalued by my team, being in a junior role i felt as though i was not given the respect i deserved which is very frustrating. I was often given silly remedial admin tasks, then not involved in the real work, although having already proved my work ethic and willingness to learn repeatably. Feel as though i was seen as an admin monkey to do the stuff they couldn't be bothered to do. Fortunately i value myself much higher and moved onto a better job.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Graduate sales executive"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time

    Pros

    Fun enviroment and nice co workers

    Cons

    The job itself is awful


  10. "Hidden downfalls"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Specialist
    Current Employee - Customer Service Specialist
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    * Good Atmosphere
    * Promising Opportunities
    * Challenging
    * Focused On Coaching

    Cons

    * Over Sold
    * Inconsistent Bonus
    * Not Clear What The Company Values
    * Managers Are Clicky
    * Some Managers Are Negative Coachers

    Advice to Management

    Be honest with what the company wants you to be rather than just trying to fill everyone's mind with fluff.
    Stick to a bonus structure.
    Ask how to coach someone as each person is different.

    AO Response

    30 Jan 2019 – Recruitment Manager

    Thank you for your review.

    We really appreciate the feedback! It’s a shame you didn’t feel you understood the values as it’s something we really pride ourselves on. The community feel is created... More