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12th July 2011

Another bank onshores call centre
Trend

Santander UK has become the latest financial institution to return call centres from India to the UK. Three existing call centres in the UK at Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool have been expanded to handle the traffic from the two Indian call centres. Call handling was originally switched to India in 2003 and returns to this country later this month. Call centre employees have been increased by 500 and now number 2,500 in the UK.


Chief Executive, Ana Botin said: "Improving the service we offer is my top priority. Our customers tell us they prefer our call centres to be in the UK and not offshore. We have listened to the feedback and have acted by re-establishing our call centres back here.

"This is a great example of how we are redefining Santander UK and putting our customers first. This is a major step for us and I am determined that we will do even more to improve the service we offer as I plan further initiatives later this year to build on the progress we are making."


Elsewhere the company said that feedback had indicated that the offshore call centres caused frustration leading to dissatisfaction. It also stated that the move had been planned for many months.


The trend for offshoring was mainly the winning of the short term financial consideration over the long term satisfaction of the customer. In addition the financial savings projected were rarely achieved. The financial services trend to bring back call centres is a combination of some of the following factors:

- 1 Inadequate training and no empowerment off offshore call centre staff leading to the frustration of customers in getting staff to understand the purpose of the call. Many customers complain of the fact that offshore call centre staff cannot resolve issues. Faults with the financial service company in training compounded by rapid turnover of call centre staff.

- 2 Failure to properly integrate call centres. Poor customer service because customers often transferred or referred to wrong department. Internal communications from call centres often sent to wrong units leading to delays in sorting customer issues and the need for the customer to call again.

- 3 Technology communication problems. VoiP over long distances can cause delays on the line and noise on the line often leading to difficulty in hearing what the other person said and talking over each other leading in turn to the need to repeat things often.

-4 Wildly optimistic financial projections of the benefits from offshoring. The estimates factored in the saving in staff and premises costing but failing to include the additional costs from the organisation issues created. Longer call times, more frequent calls because customer has to call back, costs from time spent on additional internal communications, re-work because not done right first time, staff dedicated to co-ordination and training. The failure to consider cross-selling opportunity losses.

- 5 Failure to put customer needs first. Banks that did not offshore gained a significant advantage during this period against those that did.