A rant - Is anyone else in the UK fed up with these "foreign" Call Centres.

@rosie_123 (6118)
July 14, 2007 8:25am CST
OK - first I want to state that I mean no harm by making this post, and it is not in any way meant to be racist or derogatory. But this is something that has been on my mind for a while now and I felt I had to say something. I realise that it's subject matter may not be relevant to US posters - it is probably something mainly experienced by UK posters - but I still have to whinge........ and my whinge is "FOREIGN CALL CENTRES!! For those who don't know, many large UK companies now "outsource" their Call Centres to countries outside the UK - to put it bluntly because overheads are cheaper, and the staff do the same job for something like a 10th of the wages they would have to pay UK workers based in UK offices. So basically when we ring BT (British Telecom), almost any Bank or Cerdit Card Head Office, and many Insurance firms, the staff we talk to are more likely to be in India or Pakistan than in England. Now - please don't get me wrong, - these people are only taking jobs they've been offered and doing them to the best of their ability - I don't bame them for it - but frankly the standard of service we get now is appaling, because half of these Call Centre staff just don't speak adequate English, or their acents are so strong to make them virtually unintelligble. Plus - more importantly - they know NOTHING about the British way of life, so when you talk to them about things like Bank Holidays, "temp" work", DSS cheques or whatever - they really don't know what the hell you're taking about. In some cases, it is even blatantly obvious that male Call Centre workers don't really want to talk to female callers just because they are not used to women dealing with banking/business etc in the same way as women do here in the West. They can be very disrespectful, while others are just reading stock phrases from a script, and if your questipn deviates from that, then you might as well save your phone bill. OK - my rant is now over - but please - does anyone else have this gripe or this problem, or is it just me?.
4 people like this
13 responses
@Eskimo (2317)
22 Jul 07
Yes this does annoy me quite a lot, especially if the staff in the Call-Centres don't speak very good English. One problem is that they are unable to understand the different dialects in the U.K. anyway. (Even the residents in the U.K. don't understand most of the rest of the country). They are also totally unaware of the Geography of the country either, which can make it very difficult. Try asking for a phone number in Milngavie (pronouced Mulguy) for someone called Dalzeil (pronounced Deeyel) this would confuse most people in the U.K. never mind abroad. Although to be fair, I did hear recently that when a train stopped in the middle of nowhere in the north of Scotland, the train staff didn't know why the train was stopped, so a passenger phoned the British Rail helpdesk and they were able to tell exactly why - a train had broken down further along the line (the help desk was in India).
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@rosie_123 (6118)
31 Jul 07
LOL! I hadn't heard that story before! Thanks for your response, and sorry it has taen me a while to answer you.
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@shambuca (2560)
• United States
19 Jul 07
Oh yes we have this issue in the US also-- companies like Sears has outsourced to other countries- and a lot of our banks too- it is very frustrating- so many of my friends and family complain about it that I just keep telling them to call and commplain to the managers- maybe if enough people complain about it they will do something about it. I realize other countries aren't, as so called, as well off as we, however there are lots of people out of work here and suffering because of this kind of thing.
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@rosie_123 (6118)
19 Jul 07
Yes. As someone said here earlier - I wonder if these Banks realise that bu putting their jobs to other countries, they are actually damaging themselves, because they are taking money away from local people who could invest with them|!
@MsTickle (24983)
• Australia
17 Jul 07
This issue has been raised in Australia as well. I don't have to deal with it to the exttent that you do but I find it a bit ridiculous when I do. We certainly pay enough in fees and charges and usage to warrant keeping the people in our own country employed and what about the fact that the money is leaving the country? T The gap between high and low income earners is broadening and the number of low income earners is increasing because people are forced to take lower paid jobs here. That means they will have less to spend and be running into financial difficulty. And why does this happen? It's all in the name of greed and the almighty $$$$$
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@rosie_123 (6118)
18 Jul 07
Well said! Thanks for your post.
• United States
15 Jul 07
Rose-- haven't had this problem with my bank as my local bank isn't outsourcing that....yet...but getting technical support for my computer is a freakin' nightmare for the same exact reasons. The call centers in India seemed staffed by people who don't speak the language well and who assume that all Americans, especially American women, are idiots when it comes to computers. So, when I had a problem with my printer's compatibility with Windows Vista, I spent 10 minutes on the line with someone who had no idea how to fix my problem and while i was waiting for him to transfer me to his supervisor, i fixed the problem myself !!! I don't really care where in the world my custoemr service coems from as long as it is actually customer SERVICE. Too bad not all cultures understand that the same way :)
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@rosie_123 (6118)
18 Jul 07
Totally agree. Thanks for your post.
@Marie2473 (8519)
• Sweden
15 Jul 07
I have heard about this happening around teh world. lucily us swedes do not have to deal with that yet. We keep all our buisness here so far =) I have heard thout that india for an example are getting moe expensive to hire that many companies inthe states are moving their callcenters back home so maybe youwill be lucky and have that happen as well =)
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
15 Jul 07
Yes I think it may be starting here too. Not long ago there was a big scandal in our newspapers regarding bank/credit card fraud with companies that used "outsourced" call centres, and several have relocated back to the UK since then.
@Stiletto (4584)
15 Jul 07
Oh the whole outsourcing thing with call centres does my head in completely. I must admit I've never experienced "attitude" problems from any of the Asian call centres - quite the opposite in fact as usually I find the staff very courteous - but I can't understand what they're saying and they can't understand what I'm saying either! It just doesn't make for a productive conversation. BT is the worst but having said that their entire customer services operation (including the UK end) is a farce. Personally I think that rather than switching over to India or wherever at 6pm they would be better just saying that customer services is not a 24hr service because really all the people on the other end of the phone are doing is reading from a script and they can't really solve or deal with any problems that you might have.
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@rosie_123 (6118)
15 Jul 07
Yes that is a valid point and thank you for it. I would rather have fully trained staff for 10 hours day, than people I couldn't undestand for 24!
• India
15 Jul 07
Hi,Rosie,a good post from the user end,but I am based at Bangalore, the Outsourcing and I.T.Capital of India, eventhough I don't work for a Call-centre and I don't intend to do in near-future,lot of my friends,relatives do work in Call-centre. Basically the issue is about cultural gap betweeen India(where most of the call-centres are based) and other countries like UK(where the customer's are based)as the social,cultural values are vastly different,and the call-centre agents need to be trained on this. Second issue which is motivating the MNC's to open call-centre's in India is get the work done in India at almost 1/4th cost to that of in the UK and USA,so naturally they look for call-centre's to boost their balance sheets. I think that eventhough there may be intial problems, in the longer run call-centres will be fine for both the customers,Companies,Call-centre Agents and for the economy as a whole.
@rosie_123 (6118)
15 Jul 07
Thank you for posting and letting us see "the other side of the coin".
@oldiebut (859)
• Canada
15 Jul 07
Amazing how little these people know about call centers. I worked in the business for about 3 years and I can assure you that you ave a great many misconceptions. First, in most countries, they do not pay a great deal less than they woulin the homecountry. I am in Canada and our rate was virtually identical to the US rate (we serviced Sprint). Call Centers are most often attracted by a large and eager unemployed base, and by tax breaks by various levels of government. As for capability with the English language,speak to some hillbilly in Tennesee and try to tell me there's a difference. The US has a rough time providing it own customer service, US sprint centers have the worst CS rating in the world. There's the the ridiculous calls you can get from customers who don't have a clue what they are talking about and would prefer to play the crybaby on the phone (as an internet tech support I got calls to fix printers, mouses, monitors, explain bank balances, demands to remove names from the internet, people still using win 3.1 and blaming me for being unable to get on the net. Many of these twits, instead of remaining calm and clear, start crying for a supervisor(I did that as well), expecting they can perform some miracle that the lower level techs can't) or believing that crap about "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". It's a thankless job but if you want centers in your country here's some ideas. And a few tips for an easier call experience. 1. Get your government to put out incentives. 2. Be prepared to pay higher rates. 3. Insist on courteous quality service (you'd be surprised how badly many western countries rank at this) 4. Keep in mind that international companies cannot dot the glove with centers. 5. Do your part. Be ready to answer the tech's questions. Avoid irrelevant information. Remember they are bound by rules and can't change them just because the customer finds something inconvenient. 6. Be patient. Many are suprised to find out that there is no big red magic button that CSRs can push to fix a problem. Sometimes it takes time. Getting mad only hurts you after all.
1 person likes this
@rosie_123 (6118)
15 Jul 07
Thanks for your interesting answer.
@Calais (10900)
• Australia
14 Jul 07
Like Nikki said, we cop it here in Australia too...Its horrible I know that these people are just doing their job but I just simply cannot understand what they are saying and it gets very very frustrating to say the least.
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@rosie_123 (6118)
15 Jul 07
Yes I know it does - very frustrating. Thanks for your answer.
@nancyrowina (3850)
14 Jul 07
The thing that bugs me the most is you know they are only doing it because they can pay the people in other countries a fraction of what they'd pay in this country. If call centers are that expensive to run they should just do away with them and do everything over the internet.
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@rosie_123 (6118)
14 Jul 07
Yes - that's true. Thanks for your answer.
@gabs8513 (48715)
• United Kingdom
14 Jul 07
Yes Rosie I do I am so sick of having to sat Pardon or straining to understand what they are saying, then mistakes happen, then People get into trouble because they where not understood properly and a wrong Message went on their File The Customer Service is not good at all and I try my best to avoid it I had a problem with my BT Broadband the other night a 5 minute explaining and going through it took 20 minutes to sort it I was not impressed
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@rosie_123 (6118)
14 Jul 07
Seems I am not alone Gabs. Thanks for your answer.
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@ElicBxn (60895)
• United States
14 Jul 07
It isn't just the UK with these out sourced call centers. And can they ever get it right? My roomie's job has been outsourcing calls & EVERYBODY - except maybe the call centers - are unhappy about it. And the management won't make these outsourced call centers do it right.
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@rosie_123 (6118)
14 Jul 07
Well I know some companies in the UK are just beginning to move their Call Centres back to us now. So maybe that will happen to you in time too.
@wolfie34 (26793)
• United Kingdom
14 Jul 07
With you all the way I have now cancelled my internet with BT because their call centres are in India and I disprove not of them being so greedy not reducing their cost to their so called customers but to pay pittance of wages to overseas and their profits getting bigger. As you know I was without the internet for over a week, and I was totally exasperated and was about to lose my sanity trying to explain technological stuff with agents from India, not that I have any problem with Indians but it was a case of they couldn't understand me and vice versa! Two WHOLE days I wasted trying to get my internet back up and running, in the end I cancelled the contract and I have gone with Sky. I have asked Sky where their call centres are and they are in Scotland and so I took up their offer which ironically is far cheaper than BT. So if anyone mentions BT in the future they will get a mouthful from me, I do not like their ethics and I certainly don't like their GREED
@rosie_123 (6118)
14 Jul 07
Well said, and I hope the new deal with Sky works well.