UK firms decide to hang up on Indian call centres

Santander Bank is the latest of a number of firms choosing to shut shop in India in last one year. They cite “frustration” in dealing with offshore employees and rising costs behind the decision

BANGALORE British finance major Santander on Saturday announced that it was reverting all call centres from India back to the UK following complaints by customers over their “frustration” in dealing with offshore employees.

Santander is the second British company to bring back its outsources operations this month after New Call Telecom, which competes with BT and Sky to offer home telephone services, broadband and low-cost international calls, said it was bringing back its outsourced work from India because operating there was no longer cheap.

Santander said in a statement: “Santander UK is returning all of its Indian call centres to the UK so that all retail banking customers ringing the bank will have their call answered by a UK-based employee”.

It added: “The move is part of Santander’s programme to further improve the service it offers and follows feedback from customers who say dealing with an offshore call centre is a frustration that can lead to dissatisfaction”. The calls will now be handled in the UK in Leicester, Glasgow and Liverpool, instead of Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore, the company said and added that 500 new staff would be recruited to deal with the calls.

Santander chief executive Ana Botin said: “This is what our customers have told us is the most important factor in terms of the satisfaction with the bank, and we have listened to them and decided to bring all of our retail call centres back from India”.

New Call Telecom is opening a call centre in Lancashire after being attracted by low commercial rents and cheap labour costs.

Other firms that have shifted their calls centres out of India:
UNITED UTILITIES, Telecom firm BRITISH TELECOM (BT), UK’s telcom giant POWERGEN Renewable energy firm NEW CALL TELECOM, Telecom firm that moved out of Mumbai last week

LONG DISTANCE CALL PROVED COSTLY
» Santander Banj is Britain’s third-largest bank in UK with » with 25million customers. It opened its first call centre in Bangalore in 2003, and announced that the move helped » it cut cost by 40 per cent. This advantage gas shrinked to 10-20 per cent in the past few » years. Last year it was rated as the most complained about bank » in Britain.

Reasons given for pull out:
Overwhelming surge in customer complaints
Spike in property prices in cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune
High salaries demands and attrition rates in India
Creating more jobs for a recession-hit Britain

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