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AO Reviews

Updated 29 May 2017
103 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

4.0
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103 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Fun and vibrant environment to work in (in 9 reviews)

  • The people make the business, it is very fast paced but lots of fun (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • You need to love working in a fast paced environment (in 8 reviews)

  • The walk from the car park (10 minutes), that's it (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (1)

    "The Best Place to Work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bolton, England
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bolton, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fun and vibrant environment to work in! Lot's of perks such as free snacks and drinks, onsite Starbucks, discounted Spa and subsidised gym membership. All the people share the same values, which is important due to the fast paced nature of the business. There's also lots of exciting opportunities and events that take place throughout the year!

    Cons

    There's not a lot! Walk to the car park at the end of the day can sometimes be annoying when it's raining, but it's free and only 10 mins away!


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Great People, Great Values, Great Company!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Dialler Manager in Manchester, England
    Current Employee - Assistant Dialler Manager in Manchester, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time

    Pros

    The people, culture and drive to be the best are what makes AO an amazing place to work. I have worked here 9 years and moved around within the business both in Bolton & Manchester, there are great career opportunities for new and current employees with very good benefits that no other company I know of offers.

    Cons

    Only thing I can think would be for Manchester to have a canteen like head office with all the AO trimmings :)

    Advice to Management

    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Best job I've ever had"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bolton, England
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bolton, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time

    Pros

    This really is the best job I've ever had, I'm one of the lucky people who gets to wake up and enjoy going to work every morning (no I haven't been paid to write this review!). Pros:

    Great atmosphere - everyone who I've met enjoys their job
    Work with talented people - AO gets some of the best people within their industry, so you learn a lot just by being around so many talented people.
    Cheap food and free snacks - The food is good and very cheap, and there are fridges everywhere stacked with drinks and snacks if you get hungry.
    Career opportunities - A lot of people in senior roles here started out in much more junior roles, there really does seem to be a philosophy of rewarding people for their commitment and hard work.
    Very friendly - You really don't feel like a new starter for long. Everyone makes an effort to get you involved and before long you feel like an important part of the team.
    Management is fantastic - this is a really important one. The managers are friendly and don't feel the need to throw their weight around, and they actively try to make sure that you're enjoying your work and help you when you need it. This is really rare for a large company and it's made a huge difference for me personally. This is a two way street however, as they give you this freedom on the assumption that you're working as hard as you can and not taking liberties.
    They genuinely do care about you as an employee - this about sums it up, from the moment I started here I felt that the company cares about its employees.
    Work/life balance - I've seen some people complain about this but in my experience it's been great, I've never been asked to stay late and everyone is social so there's lots going on outside of work.

    Cons

    The walk from the car park (10 minutes), that's it!

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing! This has a 20 word minimum but I really can't think of anything that needs improving.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Stressful and manic"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Executive in Manchester City Centre, England
    Former Employee - Sales Executive in Manchester City Centre, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at AO part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The kitchen in the City Tower offices were always stocked with food, so that was a bonus. Also Tracey the cleaner was always really friendly, she worked most weekends alongside our team. Brian the weekend manager was always really funny and friendly, as well as Amy.
    The money was good, I can't complain about that. I worked weekends only, and was receiving £600-800 a month, give or take.

    Cons

    A very stressful job, not for someone who can't take criticism or abuse down the phone well. I managed 4 months before giving in and resigning. I'm not sure how people manage to stay there for years, usually because the bonuses for sales are good the longer you stay.
    Another thing I didn't like what how the sales targets worked. For example: You could have a target of 14 sales to reach over the 2 days, so 7 a day. IF you only managed to get 13 of those sales, or got the 14 but the call-to-sale ratio was too high (so there was too many calls made to get the sales) none of it would count and you'd lose all the sales money instantly. That's a solid £100 gone. That made me lose motivation very quickly, resulting in me just not caring about the job so much.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up with the training, the callback listening was always really fun and I enjoyed working with you guys. It was a shame I couldn't get on with the job.
    If you could explain the job role in the interview before hand, and how the sales targets worked. I actually found out about losing the sale targets from another member of staff in the call centre..

    AO Response

    15 May 2017

    Thank you for your review we found it very constructive. You really saw the positives in the role but also appreciate what kind of person it takes to succeed in the aftercare team. We want to take ... More


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Best place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Inbound Sales in Bolton, England
    Current Employee - Inbound Sales in Bolton, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    No discrimination, open minded, jolly people. Not too formal, very open and simply the best environment to work in

    Cons

    Cant think of any, literally can't!

    AO Response

    24 Apr 2017

    Hi There.. Thanks for letting us know you are having such a great time here. The dress down days and relaxed atmosphere are some of the perks that cost nothing but make people feel so much ... More


  7. Helpful (1)

    "sales"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales in Bolton, England
    Former Employee - Sales in Bolton, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AO full-time

    Pros

    Good perks i.e free snacks. Good bonus structure

    Cons

    Very unsociable hours and low morale. Office staff are always complaining and bad management. No room for progression

    AO Response

    24 Apr 2017

    Good Morning! Thank you for taking the time to review your experience at AO. It’s great to hear that you felt positive about the bonus structure and enjoyed the little things we offer too ... More


  8. Helpful (2)

    "AO - Lets Not Go!"

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

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

    Pros

    - Good office facilities
    - Worked with some great people
    - Free chocolate/drinks

    That's about it really.

    Cons

    - Low Morale within the call centre
    - Management needs scrapping and re-building.
    - Company perks never appealed/benefited me, more family oriented.
    - Work/life balance doesn't exist.
    - Company values are pointless/need scrapping.
    - No signs of career progress
    - Hercules Carpark

    Firstly, I left AO on good terms and believe this is important before I leave my full review. The reasons for me leaving the company, it was simply that I was no longer happy within my role.

    When I originally joined the company, it was such a great place to be and I believed it was a job for life. However fast-forward two years and this was no longer the case. I do believe at times the company is the cause of it's own downfall. If you look through previous reviews, someone summed up the company very well with 'the PR team is a very well drilled machine' and this really is the case. They know how to sell the company and promote it out there and get everyone caught up with the 'euphoria' of AO. If you dig a little deeper AO isn't all that great.

    If you're partial to the odd 'sick day' then this job isn't for you. Management don't seem to realise as humans we can occasionally get ill and don't always make it into work. I've known members of staff to call in sick and be moaned at by management for doing so. On top of this being asked to call in mid way through the day to keep them updated whether you're coming in or not? If you're ill this is the last thing you want to be doing. By the way throughout my time at the company I was never once ill and got a nice £200 bonus, I say nice but when I compared my wage to someone who didn't get the bonus I was no better off .

    I have witnessed bullying within the company and I regret not reporting this when I was still within the company. I've known managers to bully certain individuals to push them out of the company and it succeeding. Not only the fact it succeeded but the manager gloating when the agent handed in their notice, not very professional.

    I always try and pin point where I fell out of love with my job and I can find the exact reason. Their has been a lot of changes over the past 12 months within management, teams and processes and I guess all these small changes have added up. The current structure of management is simply a joke and is over complicated. Their seems to be many levels within the management structure and it's needs stripping down, rebuilding and simplifying.

    The calls I made within my job was majority due to the company messing up orders. AO have an habit of selling something listed as being 'in stock' when this isn't the case. They like to secure a customers payment instantly but the item the customer ordered isn't in stock and is on order with the supplier with a provisional date for the stock coming in. Majority of the times the stock never come in and it was a nightmare. This was common practice and caused many issues and complaints.

    The current staff turnover within the call centre is quite scary and shows how sour the company is turning. Staff talk among themselves and the morale is very low. I know many people still working for the company and are actively seeking new jobs. I've seen many long term staff and managers leave over the past 6 months and they no longer believed in the direction the company is heading.

    If AO was to form at this moment in time, there is no way it would succeed the way it has. They got lucky and you have to say fair play to John Roberts (CEO). I never met JR so I can't make a personal opinion on him. But people view him as the 'God' of AO and sometimes it seems a bit over the top, he's worshipped as some holy figure. I'm surprised there isn't a statue of him in reception everyone bows down to. Again, this is no insult to John as I've never met him.

    I could go on and on about issues within AO but I've given the company enough of my time over the past 2 years. In it's current format I can't recommend AO. I know someone within the company will respond to my review and justify how great everything is. But this is the problem, the moment AO realise every isn't all that well within the company, is the day things actually might start improving.

    Advice to Management

    Treat staff with more respect. We have lifes outside of work and don't forget this can sometimes have an effect with us making it in to work.

    Increase the £200 bonus for attendance.

    AO Response

    16 Mar 2017 – Social Media Manager

    Good Morning Thank you for taking the time to review your experience at AO. There’s some really constructive feedback in it, which we’ll take on board, and some points which we feel need ... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    "A place where you can be yourself"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bolton, England
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bolton, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AO full-time

    Pros

    You're trusted from day one, you don't feel new for long. Energetic environment that challenges you daily, the days fly by and you go home feeling accomplished.

    Cons

    The pace isn't for everyone and it could be overwhelming if you've never experienced it before. But if you're looking to push your own boundaries, jump onboard.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what your doing and encouraging us all to be our best.

    AO Response

    16 Feb 2017 – Social Media Manager

    Hello! Thanks for your great comments. It's great to read that you felt trusted from day one. We'll always do the best we can to ensure our employees feel at home straight away. You'll also receive ... More


  10. Helpful (15)

    "Avoid the People Team!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Horwich, England
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Horwich, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great perks, events and facilities. Most departments are filled with genuine, fun and hardworking people.

    Cons

    The people team is a mess. Zero interest from management in the wellbeing and development of the team and more concerned with how they can move up with as little work as possible. You'd think the leaders would have a great inspirational story to tell of how they tirelessly worked to reach a high level, for some strange reason it's never something we hear about, hmmm.

    The majority of the team are unhappy and looking elsewhere, that is except for those that we’re in the right place at the right time and have magically been handed promotions and would sink elsewhere. Those who are in those positions can’t seem to grasp that when people come in with prior experience, they get to grips with things fairly easily and therefore will want opportunities and development much quicker than they did. When you show the work you’ve done and how beneficial it is, they’ll turn a blind eye as ultimately it means your worth more and they’re not willing to fork out for it.

    The atmosphere on the team’s floor is flat as if you chat or dare to have a laugh you’re glared at and it will then be bought up in catch ups. It’s that quiet and tense that when others come up from different departments they feel they have to whisper and tip toe about.

    You will be micro managed to the point where your hours of productivity will be calculated on a weekly basis despite always doing your job to its full potential. Management poke their nose into everything you’ve been doing fine on your own with, give “advice” that makes no sense, book in a catch up about it, then cancel the catch up 30 seconds before its due to start. You’ll also be picked at for going on the internet on your lunch hour when the head of spends the whole day online shopping.

    Management would rather see good people go then pay them what they deserve. You give it your all and go above and beyond in your role but your pay will never reflect this and as soon as you mention a pay rise, you’re immediately treated differently, are spoken to like you’re not “career driven” and only care about money to try and make you feel bad. Great feedback will then deliberately be withheld. Coincidence?

    AO recruits based on Values (Bold, Driven, Fun, Smart and Caring). If you want to succeed in the people team though make sure you’re not Bold enough to speak up for yourself, not Driven enough to know you’re capable of much more (you’ll be told you’re not quite ready for that by someone who has no clue) and make sure you’re not Smart enough to realise you’re undervalued and underpaid and management is inadequate. Don’t be Caring enough about others in the team to not snake them out and only have Fun when they can take a picture and post it all over social media.

    Advice to Management

    Get managers at least some basic training rather than picking someone randomly, throwing them in at the deep end and hoping for the best. Completely out of their depth and unprofessional. Team members would be coerced to turning against each other as it was seen as a negative that everyone got along so well, catch ups would turn into negative talk about colleagues. Constantly told people they needed to be “colleagues first, friends second” then would proceed to talk about their personal life to the point it was uncomfortable. Also, if you spoke up or challenged management, they would have no clue how to deal with this effectively and would openly treat you differently than others, and admit to doing so as they “weren't getting along with you”. People even expressed that once they stopped challenging their manager or gave up they got on with and were treated much better.

    The majority which have been promoted internally are so incapable it’s embarrassing. They themselves are handed way too much work that they can’t cope with so the Head can “work” from home, especially when there’s an event that night. Most have been placed in senior roles as there was no one else there at the time and as much as you and others might put a case together to demonstrate this, you’ll just be told you’re a gang of bullies and nothing will change.

    If you disagree with anything you’re immediately seen as a big problem and they take it personally – they see AO the ultimate destination employer and can’t seem to grasp that are plenty of other fantastic companies in the North West with better pay and development that will snap people up immediately.

    It’s a shame as there are some amazingly genuine people on the team who are fantastic at what they do. AO is lucky to have them but I wonder how long these people will stick around with how things are going. They’ll eventually be left with just the spineless nodding dogs but maybe that’s what they want? The only time these do speak up however is when it's an opportunity to be a snake and slyly make someone else look bad hoping it will make them look better. Head is incredibly false and very good at coming across as down to earth – we’ve all enjoyed those fake 5 mins of chit chat before a catch up…yawn. If you have the nerve or are bold enough to challenge or leave they will try and dig for dirt on you and make you look bad. This will even continue after you leave. Unfortunately for they seem to think the rest of the team are stupid enough to not see through it.

    Laterzzzz

    AO Response

    28 Feb 2017 – Employer Brand

    It’s really disappointing you feel this way and that AO was not the right place for you. We offer great benefits and development opportunities for the right people – those that are dedicated to ... More


  11. "great place to work!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Contact Centre Staff in Bolton, England
    Current Employee - Contact Centre Staff in Bolton, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    * recruiting on the values means everyone is part of the same culture, like one big family!
    * free breakfast,chocolate, crisps and fruit!
    *starbucks and spa on site
    *They invest in their people with internal courses/development to help you make a career at ao

    Cons

    * contact centre staff don't get to take full advantage of internal events and fun activities due to shift work, i think something could be done to target them so they don't feel left out.

    Advice to Management

    Praise goes a long way, it helps people keep their passion for their job.

    AO Response

    14 Feb 2017 – Social Media Manager

    Hi there! Thanks for the review! :) It's great to read that you're loving it here! We do have an amazing environment based on our values. You're absolutely right that there's a massive family feeling ... More


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