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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 12th Jul 2011

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All retail banking customers ringing Santander will have their queries dealt with by UK workers after the bank decided to stop using two Indian call centres.
Santander is to stop using Indian call centres in a bid to improve customer services
According to Santander, the decision was taken to use UK rather than Indian call centres after customers experienced "frustration leading to dissatisfaction".
Retail banking calls will now be handled by 500 staff based in Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool, bringing the number of UK-based call centre staff used by the financial services group to 2,500.
Ana Botín, CEO of Santander UK, said the decision was taken to improve customer services.
"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," she said in a statement.
The offshore call centres were used by the bank Abbey from 2003, and transferred over to Santander following the Spanish financial services group's acquisition of Abbey in 2004.
According to John O'Brien, research director at analyst house TechMarketView, there are three reasons why the move would have appealed to Santander.
"Firstly, the average wage for a call centre worker in a lower cost region in the UK is now 'almost parity' with those seen in India. Secondly, offshoring call centres has often resulted in reduced customer service quality, and latterly increased customer attrition as other providers now offer UK-only call centres. This has become a real differentiator in the UK retail banking and mobile telecoms sector.
"Thirdly, and as important in the current economic climate, it is very good PR to be investing in the UK economy at a time of real economic hardship and high unemployment. To be seen to be putting something back in, rather than to be taking something out is likely to be a strong selling point for a brand," he said in a research note.
Business process outsourcing grew 14 per cent year on year in the last financial year according to Indian IT trade body Nasscom, with banking, financial services and insurance among the largest users of Indian BPO services.
Jo Best



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