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SarahBell

Say No To Call Centres

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Please don't hang me for this, but my last job in the UK was selling software and hardware that runs these call centres - or 'contact centres' as the like to be known because they handle more than just calls (i.e. internet, etc.).

Providing services through overseas resources is, of course, cost driven. All companies that use call centres want to 'maximise the value of the customer interaction' - that means they want to derive (screw) the most money out of you that they can. To their credit, some of them believe the best way of doing this is by providing a fantastic service and they try to use their call centres to this end (some are better than others).

Be aware that they very frequently position the actual agents overseas (India, China, Ireland, etc.) but the management teams who crack the whip in these virtual battery farms for people are generally in the home country (i.e. UK). Technolgies such as Voice Over IP (VoIP) make this highly effective now.

But in the end, employing cheap labour to fill the agent role is purely down to cost - don't even bother asking whether there's any possible associated service benefits - there aren't any (OK - maybe answering the phone in the middle of the UK night - but who has ever got a decent service at these times?).

I'm out of it now - doing building in Spain - that's a whole other can of worms!

Cheers

LL

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Without going into detail I can assure you that offshoring is not working.

Its costing British Jobs, its Costing British Business, and will eventually end in ruin.

The BPO project has run its course, we are now seeing many overseas takeovers of British Companies as they can see that if you dont deliver a service to your customers they will take flight.

The new buzzword in the business is Inshoring, and about time to.

How many people are just sick and tired of trying to explain a banking problem with some Indian who is illiterate in the English Language........................its a joke surely.

BTW anyone with a onetel telephone or net account, check your bills the Indians just charged all accounts four times for a months service by mistake and they dont know how to sort it out.

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The new buzzword in the business is Inshoring, and about time to.

If that's true, then it's going to be yet another source of inflation.

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How many people are just sick and tired of trying to explain a banking problem with some Indian who is illiterate in the English Language........................its a joke surely.

That has to be a major grievance for most. i've only ever had one indian girl that was able to resolve my dispute, the rest are just a bunch of pants.

Its the same with the IT outsourcing. I used to contract for a major company until all their UK based work dried up - I mean ALL. Found out the work had been outsourced to India. Got a phone call last week from my ex-manager: "we went cheap and we're getting cheap". In 2006 they are planning on bringing the work back to the UK.

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Abbey National are bringing back their call centre operations...........very soon!!!!.

A HIGH Street bank is to shut down its call centres in India and bring 1,000 jobs back to Britain.

BRING THEM HOME: Abbey will return 1,000 call centre jobs to the UK

Abbey's retreat from India was prompted by complaints from customers.

The former building society, previously known as Abbey National, was one of a wave of companies which jumped on a bandwagon of exporting jobs to India. It is the first to reverse the move.

Companies such as HSBC, Prudential and Centrica also transferred large numbers of posts to the Third World, where wages are often only a fifth of those in the UK, to cut costs.

Union leaders, who claim the trend has cost the UK 50,000 jobs, predicted the move back would be the first of many. Abbey runs its offshore operation in Bangalore, India's callcentre capital.

But its owner, Grupo Santander of Spain, which took over last year in a £9.5bn deal, has decided it is a costly failure.

The jobs were transferred to India in 2003 under previous management. The switch took work from a number of UK centres, including Southampton and Middlesbrough.

Staff in Bangalore carry out basic bank account tasks, such as reading out customers' balances over the phone and drawing up standing orders. But customers said they were unhappy with the service. Some complained of language difficulties.

One Abbey insider told the Mail: 'Given the risk to our reputation of moving the jobs offshore, you want the service to be top notch. If it isn't top notch, then why are you there?'

The bank is expected to issue a formal statement on its retreat later this year. It is still expected to cut 2,500 jobs next year and has already announced 4,000 redundancies.

These plans will not be affected by the return of the Indian jobs. Work in India will be scaled back before being shut down early next year. The workload will be transferred to Abbey call centres in Milton Keynes, Teesside and Glasgow.

An Abbey spokesman said last night: 'Santander believes in efficient and internal back office functions, and as a result of the acquisition, we are looking at all third-party contracts.

The Spanish group believes that switching jobs to India does not necessarily cut costs - and may be more expensive in the long run because of reduced efficiency and customer complaints. It is keen for Abbey's board, led by former Treasury mandarin Lord Terry Burns, to bring the Indian jobs back in house.

Santander believes Abbey can make more money if its operations are in one place, as this makes them easier to manage. The private sector's biggest union Amicus has led the campaign against companies moving jobs abroad.

David Fleming, Amicus' national secretary for financial services, said: 'This is positive news and we welcome it. We have always maintained that the business agreement for offshoring has never been made.

'Abbey's decision to bring work back is likely be the first among many other companies who will slowly realise that their future success lies in UK skills in financial services.'

Amicus says 50,000 jobs in the financial services sector have been lost because of outsourcing. Mr Fleming added: 'The Prudential's move to offshore sparked off a series of similar moves in the insurance sector. Perhaps Abbey's retreat will lead to others taking similar action.'

Abbey's move will bring it into line with a small number of British financial companies, including The Royal Bank of Scotland and Alliance & Leicester, which have decided against moving jobs offshore.

Abbey has also been involved in a series of costly rebrandings which have been judged unsuccessful by many in the City. Former boss Luqman Arnold dropped the 'National' and the trademark red. But the red returned when the Spanish took over.

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One of the problems is the language barrier, but you get idiot managers trying to think out of the box. "Oh, I know what, lets give them English names ..."

So you get some poor bloke in India with a heavy indian accent introducing themselves as "Paul" and you still can't understand them ...

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Major issues with Offshoring are

1. No comeback should fraud be encountered, they are immune from British Banking Regs

2. No comebacks for Fraud they are immune from the British Police

In fact its really a cowboy operation that saves money at the expense of the consumer.

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I recently had to contact BT broadband over the phone. What a joke! Got the usual "Hello, My name is John etc". I could not understand a word he said. Phoned BT to complain and got through to someone in Newcastle.

Suddenly, I am on the back foot. As soon as I mentioned the heavy Indian accent the more I had to keep repeating "Look I am not a racist, I just want to understand what the hell they are talking about". The silence at the other end of the line was deafening. Finished the call feeling guilty even, you know when you go through the green channel and you do have nothing to declare.

How on earth have we come to this state of affairs in this country?

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They're a pain in the ****. I've probably posted this before somewhere, but last year I managed to lose all my cards when they dropped out of my pocket whilst cycling to work. Fortunately a good samaritan found them and I got them back, but not before I decided to report them as missing on security grounds.

HSBC did a fantastic job of diverting me away from their local branches and into their call centre queues, which was infuriating. Every single person I spoke to was Indian and difficult to understand. They refused to send the card to my home and insisted on sending it to a branch (bear in mind at this point I had only cheques to use for money), and then the Indian call centre sent it to completely the wrong branch at the other end of the country. I had to literally chase the bloody card around the country by getting it sent to my original home branch because I was going on holiday to the same area. On finally getting the card (2 weeks later), security checks were virtually non-existent. I complained about how shoddy it all was and got £50 for my troubles and a promise that the staff I had dealt with would be re-trained - yeah, I really believe anything whatsoever got done.

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Guest Riser

How are you today?

If there is one phrase that will force me to just slam the phone down it is some stranger ringing out of the blue and asking how I am, as if they care !!

We have stopped using FedEx because of language problems with their call centres causing misinterpretation of CC payments which on, two occasions, resulted in us receiving letters from agencies demanding payment or else.

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Well I've just rung United Utilities to report a burst water main (outside someone's house on the way to school) and spoke to a very nice man who was called Paul! So they use UK call centres for that - but I did have to wait ages. I know when I was ringing up about my water bill last year though it was a foreign call centre and took me 4 calls to get it sorted out.

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This offshoring lark has come about because too many businesses think about their profit and 'bottom line' and in fact totally forget about the customer and the fact that they actually have to provide a decent service in order to retain customers; because, in fact, in most cases we do have choice.

I'm always amazed by the fact that you can educate people in LSE, Wharton etc., give them the finest MBA money can buy, put them through whatever 'en vogue' management course you like etc. etc. and yet something so basic as this gets overlooked:

It doesn't matter how much money you save if your customers take a walk.

The vast majority of people who run businesses these days are all educated into the same, unquestioning mantra - SLASH COSTS, CONCENTRATE ONLY ON THE SHORT TERM. And they appear to become so focussed on this that they do stupid things like relocating CCs to places where the customer can't even understand what the person on the other end of the phone is saying.

In short - whatever happened to common sense..?

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In short - whatever happened to common sense..?

It went of the window. They fail to realise their most valuable asset: the customer

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Guest saynotooverseascallcentres.com

http://www.saynotooverseascallcentres.com/

Just seen this advertised elsewhere

Many thanks for giving people the heads-up on my new site :D

<snipped original message>

Edited to add - sorry, I have just read the forum rules and noticed that my usernbame breaches them. Could a mod please delete this message and my account ... I'll then create a new one (can't see any way of changing my username myself).

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I could not understand a word he said. Phoned BT to complain and got through to someone in Newcastle.

Ah yes, the good people of Newcastle are much easier to understand! :lol:

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It amused me when I found out that a large catalogue company based in Liverpool used recordings of Coronation Street and Eastenders to familiarise their new Indian staff with the language.

The call centre hardware that drives these organisation (ACD - automated call diverter and Outbound Diallers) can be fooled if you know what to do when you're asked to "press one to be ignored for ten minutes, press two to get to another irritating queue, etc". Can't say what, I'm afraid, because that would erode my competitive advantage when I phone them up and get straight to the top of the queue! :lol:

Regards

LL

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It amused me when I found out that a large catalogue company based in Liverpool used recordings of Coronation Street and Eastenders to familiarise their new Indian staff with the language.

The call centre hardware that drives these organisation (ACD - automated call diverter and Outbound Diallers) can be fooled if you know what to do when you're asked to "press one to be ignored for ten minutes, press two to get to another irritating queue, etc". Can't say what, I'm afraid, because that would erode my competitive advantage when I phone them up and get straight to the top of the queue! :lol:

Regards

LL

Sorry about spilling the beans but hit hash a few times and you normally drop into a misc queue without having to waite through the IVR

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This offshoring lark has come about because too many businesses think about their profit and 'bottom line' and in fact totally forget about the customer and the fact that they actually have to provide a decent service in order to retain customers; because, in fact, in most cases we do have choice.

I'm always amazed by the fact that you can educate people in LSE, Wharton etc., give them the finest MBA money can buy, put them through whatever 'en vogue' management course you like etc. etc. and yet something so basic as this gets overlooked:

It doesn't matter how much money you save if your customers take a walk.

The vast majority of people who run businesses these days are all educated into the same, unquestioning mantra - SLASH COSTS, CONCENTRATE ONLY ON THE SHORT TERM. And they appear to become so focussed on this that they do stupid things like relocating CCs to places where the customer can't even understand what the person on the other end of the phone is saying.

In short - whatever happened to common sense..?

Precisely !!

The cause of all this mess is simple ...... education is for academics ...... commerce is for businessman ......

If you want to become a doctor or research quantum physics or develop new technology or write books on roman history ..... go and study and get all the certificates you can muster ......

However it never ceases to amaze me when people study to run a business !!! What exactly is so hard about providing a service/product and charging more than its cost so producing a profit ??

Some of the finest business's were built by people who had little or no education whatsoever, and some of the richest businessmen actually dropped out of formal education ......

I reckon sound commercial sense cannot actually be taught - you either have it or you don't ...... much like being gifted in music or sport or literature etc ...... if you are born with the talent then education will refine your skills ...... however in todays world it seems so many have absolutely no commercial talent and consider education/qualifications as compensation for their lack of skill ..... :(

Maybe all the unqualified business tycoons are actually behind this scheme of things to keep their competition at bay :D

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They're a pain in the ****. I've probably posted this before somewhere, but last year I managed to lose all my cards when they dropped out of my pocket whilst cycling to work. Fortunately a good samaritan found them and I got them back, but not before I decided to report them as missing on security grounds.

HSBC did a fantastic job of diverting me away from their local branches and into their call centre queues, which was infuriating. Every single person I spoke to was Indian and difficult to understand. They refused to send the card to my home and insisted on sending it to a branch (bear in mind at this point I had only cheques to use for money), and then the Indian call centre sent it to completely the wrong branch at the other end of the country. I had to literally chase the bloody card around the country by getting it sent to my original home branch because I was going on holiday to the same area. On finally getting the card (2 weeks later), security checks were virtually non-existent. I complained about how shoddy it all was and got £50 for my troubles and a promise that the staff I had dealt with would be re-trained - yeah, I really believe anything whatsoever got done.

Language problems?

Paraphrased contact with '3' Customer services somewhere in India.

'3' - The bill wasn't paid by direct debit because when the bill was tried to be paid the payment was not successfully completed.

Me - Are you telling me that the payment did not complete because there is no direct debit on the account, or because the bank refused the payment?

'3' - I don't have that information on my screen. I will have to raise an investigation......

One Week Later

'3' - We have had no report on the investigation, but there is definately no direct debit on your account. We can set one up for the next bill, but the bill sent out yesterday will have to be paid by credit / debit card.

Me - Isn't a debit card payment more expensive than a direct debit payment.

'3' - No.

Me - Oh... It's just I thought there was a charge for non direct debit payments.

'3' - Yes, we make a £3 charge to cover our administration costs.

Needless to say it was waived after a slight disagreement and reference to a letter from them confirming said DD had been set up a month previously.

It is fair to say in my experience Indian call centres pick up far quicker than ones over here. And they are still nothing compared to Wan&^oo, who refused to close my account until I rang them during peak hours so that they could ring a BT office to confirm my transfer date to another ISP. I asked why they couldn't ring the next day....

The cretinous policy was that an inbond call centre can only handle inbound calls. Therefore they won't do anything except when you call them. And it was a MINIMUM 10 minutes to speak to them. Yet despite their legendary customer service problems this outfit is still in business.

Pirates.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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