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back to article BT brings jobs back from India

BT is bringing call centre jobs back to Blighty from India. The move was revealed in an answer to a shareholder at BT's annual general meeting yesterday. Ian Livingstone, chief executive at the telco, was asked, to huge applause, when he would close the firm's Indian call centres. In response he said he would move about 2,000 …

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FAIL

still boned then

if the customer service in blighty is going to be on a level with the shit you get from india then they are truly fucked.

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The BT guide to being really shit at marketing.

Why is it each time BT reverse an idiotic decision they insist it's nothing to do with the public distaste for that decision and simply for "other reasons"?

They cancel phorm and say, "Yeah but it's not cos we care about privacy".

They move call centre staff back from India and say "But it's not cos we think we were giving a shit service".

Are staff at BT really this incompetent? It would've been a massive marketing win if in each case they'd instead have said:

"We have decided to reevaluate our position on customer privacy and as part of this effort we are taking a number of measures including ditching Phorm"

and:

"We are moving jobs back to the UK from India to offer customers are greatly improved customer service experience"

It's like BT puts refusal to accept that yes, it was a mistake to do certain things above actually trying to make customers like them and hence consume their services.

Either BT is doomed to fail with this arrogance, or it's monopoly position is so strong, and so secure it feels it doesn't matter what customers think and it's always right about everything even if millions of customers tell them they're wrong.

If it's the latter, it's time for the government to step in and disband BT.

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Flame

QoS

"...the service in our operations around the globe is of very similar standards."

Does this mean they're going to hire people in the UK who will treat us to the same fabulously high quality of service that we're used to getting from offshore call centres?

Perhaps a broad Glaswegian accent would make for a similar level of comprehensability.

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Anonymous Coward

Hang on a cotton picking minute...

Does that mean they are moving the JOBS back so that UK staff can fill them, or are they bringing the lower wage staff from India over to work in the UK?

Something smells fishy to me.

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Emo
Megaphone

Not about customer service

It's about being able to fucking understand someone.

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Anonymous Coward

"“This is not about customer service"

Now there's a big surprise ;)

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Bronze badge

Back to Blighty

and did anyone think to ask whether the jobs would be filled by UK types or would they be bringing the current post-holders with them?

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Hooray but

I have never had a good experience of using the sub-contractors in India but if BT is going to implement that standard for UK based staff heaven help us.

They have Residential Service teams in Northern ireland, Chairman's Office high level complaints in Cardiff, Directory service in Shrewsbury and Directory Distribution Service in Dundee. Notice how far these customer service operators are from the seat of power in London?

Rumour is though that a building in Essex is undergoing refurbishment for more staff. But perhaps all companies (Listen 3) should have rules that say customer service staff must have English as their first language and that they have to use (endure?) the company's services in their private lives

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WTF?

Ehh?

“This is not about customer service, as the service in our operations around the globe is of very similar standards."

So the fact the last time I was phoned by someone from BT, who obviously worked in an Indian call centre, who couldn't pronounce my name properly, and didn't seem to be able to understand me, wasn't down to the fact that he was working in an Indian call centre, it was the expected level of service from BT... no wonder people are walking away from them.

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“This is not about customer service

Kudo's for honesty BT, they don't give a crap for their customers concerns - about security (Chinese network structure), privacy (Phorm) or the ability to have a technical discussion with someone on a too quiet line, needing them to repeat every other sentence - tho' I feel a bit mean saying that, as the last few times I've had to endure BT tech support, once they realised I had some technical aptitude, dispensed with the 'Is it plugged in?' and quickly helped resolve the issue.

No Phorm (for now), English call centres, what next for BT, even faster HiSpeed broadband rollout?

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Thumb Up

'Bout time...

I am glad of this and hope that some of the other telcos will do the same.

How about onshoring some of the support workers too? You might save money and you'll certainly save time!!

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Black Helicopters

Hmmmm...

... a friend of mine works for the technical side of BT (i.e. the ones that actually install stuff into exchanges - don't want to be too specific just in case his identity can be inferred). He has told me that the current BT policy is to take people off fitting kit, despite a huge backlog of work, and sticking them in call centres. These engineers, being paid much more than the usual staff, are set rediculously high targets, with "additional monitoring". Basically, they are moved into a job they don't want to do, then waterboarded into leaving. This current announcement suggests, therefore, that any plans to improve internet access are going into reverse due to a lack of competent engineers.

AC to protect the innocent (just in case) ..

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Anonymous Coward

hoorah!

I will be able to understand them again.

Unless they come from:

Scotland (esp West Coast)

Yorkshire

Birmingham

Newcastle

:-)

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Thumb Up

hallelujah

I'm glad the jobs are coming back, and...

I'm Dutch and don't understand a word BT call centre people say, and then the line quality is usually bad, so this will be welcomed.

Quote I saw yesterday: "Communism must be like one big phone company."

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News from Planet Livingstone

"the service in our operations around the globe is of very similar standards."

Ye Gods

On the basis of my direct contact with BT customer service, I take it that the "similar standards" include customer service agents with the intelligence and conversational ability of a thermos flask.

I did try once - quite hard - to talk to BT customer service.

It was about as inspiring as having a conversation with a piece of cheese.

The agent simply couldn't or wouldn't understand that I was calling on behalf of my elderly in-laws to ask why a product they'd didn't want and had not ordered had started to appear on their bills, get it removed and get a refund.

In the end I quite simply gave up tryiing to talk to the idiot, even after resorting to words of one syllable.

I wrote to BT customer service.

The in-laws told me the unwanted service eventually disappeared form their bill and that they received a healthy credit.

They never once actually got any other communication - even an apology.

I never, ever had any kind of reply or acknowledgement from BT at all.

Knobwits, to a man.

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This is not about customer service...

that I can believe.

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Anonymous Coward

"the service in our operations around the globe is of very similar standards"

You said it, pal.

One day, one of the cable companies will realise that they can attract users through better customer service. On that day, I will celebrate never needing to deal with BT again.

It's a good thing they changed their name to BT otherwise the country would have had to sue them for bringing it's name into disrepute.

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Jokes!

The bosses at BT must never have to call call centres themselves and have their minions do it for them - as they clearly just don't have a clue!

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Pint

50p phone tax?

Probably has something to do with the agreeement with the Government regarding the 50p phone line tax to provide additinal funding for Fibre to rural areas. Gov can't be seen to providing subsidies if BT's offloading their call centres in India, now can they? Free Beer because BT should be paying for it.

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WTF?

Won't make a difference

I have spoken to plenty of British CS and many of them are as dim witted as their overseas counterpart. Some of them has worse English than foreign CS. The only thing bad about foreign CS is the accent.

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BT is still a monopoly

As even if you switch to another supplier they have to rent your line from the supposedly fomer monopoly so sadly this means its unlikely to meet its demise anytime soon.

I'm sure if there was any danager of that happening Gordo would whip out his chequebook and bail them out with our money.

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Call Centres

Any company that does business in the UK should have UK Call Centres and employ people that can understand and speak English properly.

1. More jobs for the UK

2. A happier customer. Talking to someone that can actual speak and understand English.

3. More tax revenue for the Government.

I think the Government should impliment an Offshore Tax against companies that offshore UK jobs to India. They are losing taxes because of this and we need these taxes to fill in the massive debt GB and NuLabour has put us in.

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FAIL

The move isnt about quality

From my experience the British BT call centre workers can be just as bad. Actually worse because I have never had an indian call centre worker put the phone down on me like a British BT call centre worker did.

Oh well at least my customer promised (and did) leave BTs incredibly badly run business ADSL service.

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Grenade

Re:The BT guide to being really shit at marketing.

The answer to your rather rhetorical question is: Because this means stating something as negative. Because it means admitting that something has been done which is wrong.

It is a part of BT's culture to disallow negative thinking, negative actions and negative announcements. Everything should be solely positive and no negative news must traverse the step to the next level of the hierarchy. If you are unfortunate to be a negative thinker you are dealt with - sooner or later.

Rinse, repeat 20 times (there are places in BT where the grunt on the ground is 20 levels of hierarchy away from Mr Livingstone).

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Terminator

decisions driven by money

It becuase the wages in India are rising and therefore it isnt cheaper to have call centres out there any more... i would put money on the fact they set them up in Ireland.... ;)

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Accents

Where ever you put the call centre in the UK, people will complain about accents and not being able to understand the caller/call centre person.

Which is strange as most of the country watches Neighbours and everyone can understand them. They are the other side of the world, yet some cannot understand an accent just up the road.

Maybe we need to outsource down-under.

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FAIL

Yep...

"the service in our operations around the globe is of very similar standards".

"Globally Sh*t!" Should be there new slogan.

But surely not though. I can't imagine another nationality swallowing such continuously diabolical service as easily as us Brits do.

Oh well...it can only be a matter of time before we canonize BT cheifs as our newest heroes of great British failiure, alongside the likes of Frank "Glass Jaw" Bruno, Tim "Barn Door? Where?" Henman, Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards and "The Unquenchable" Paul Gascoigne.

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Anonymous Coward

UK staff or Indian

To the people asking whether these jobs will be given to UK staff or the Indian people currently doing it; surely it would be a complete waste of time and money to shift operations back to the UK to then have thousands of Indian staff relocate and work in a foreign country where they would undoubtedly have to pay them a lot more?

They could have bigged themselves up with this a bit more though and played the "we are doing this to create more jobs for British people" card.

I haven't read all the comments so apologies if someone else has already mentioned this.

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FAIL

@ Ian 11

'Are staff at BT really this incompetent?' You are not discriminating correctly. The question should be 'Are the management at BT really this incompetent?'

@Kevin Johnston: yes, Michelle Knight did. I would like to know. The government should have a publicly available database of firms doing intra-company transfers. Any political party outlawing this practice would have my support. British jobs for British workers?

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Gold badge

Multinational sheep

Why is it that once one big multinational company does something different all the other multinational sheep follow suit?

I thought the whole reason these multinational management types were paid so much was due to their vision and leadership? well it seems many of them just wait for a rival to try something and then follow suit.

So we can expect that may BT competitors will now be following suit?

Is there anyone out there who actually has any original ideas any more?

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Pint

Not just BT

I have had reason to use Virgin Broadband (aka NTL) technical support on a few occasions - few compared with the amount of time I have used the service.

When dealing with people with recognisable UK accents (I even understand those North of the border) I have had universally excellent service.

The one time I rang at the weekend and got someone who did not sound as if they spoke English as a first language it was like talking to a lump of unintelligent putty and totally unproductive.

I am not suggesting that our Asian bretheren are unitelligent; however they lack understanding of the UK life experience, technical infrastructure, speaking UK English as a first language etc. and so cannot hope to give us the same level of support as you will get from technically literate UK staff.

All this (understandably) gives overseas call centres a justifiably bad reputation.

This is not even confined to IT - my son recently had a bad experience trying to reserve a space for his push bike on a train.

When I talked to the train operator directly there was initial puzzlement then when I explained that he had been talking to a call centre the response was " Ah, he must have been talking to Network Rail. Talk to us next time and we can sort it out easily."

Hmmm....off shore call centres strike again, methinks. I have stopped the rant at this point as all sorts of things are wrong with the railway booking systems and I could go on for ages. Sigh.

Oh, and I was told a totally fabricated and scurrilous tale about an interview for a job at a BT call centre. The candidate passed with flying colours, and as a final test was asked to form a sentence using the words yellow, green and pink. He thought for a while, then said "The phone goes green green, I pink it up and say yellow this is BT, how can I help you".

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FAIL

Interesting

Seeing the comments on this forum, one might get the impression that anything from India sucks. Rest assured that is not the case, just as the UK is not made up of binge drinking wife beating chav paedophiles (I like that - feel free to expand).

You get what you pay for. You want top talent in India, be prepared to pay top wages. Which is why the likes of Google/Microsoft/Cisco/Intel have research centres here. Obviously BT can't afford it, and you end up with people most recruiters reject.

I expect it's BT's British management (we Indians don't own BT - yet) that took the decision to move services offshore, ignore customer feedback, hire unsuitable people because they were cheap, terminate the contract (exit costs?) and relocate the jobs to the UK. I don't see the management get a bollocking for what appears to be an ill conceived, poorly executed (like most British projects) plan. Some poor schmucks in India get derided for their accent instead. And you expect things to improve. I wish you luck.

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Anonymous Coward

We never used to have this problem

We never used to have this problem when Her Brittanic Majesty's General Post Office were running things.

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FAIL

"BT Customer Service" = example of an oxymoron

I've never had a problem understanding their accents just a problem understanding their incompetence.

When my father died we naturally cancelled the phone line. A few days later we received a letter with something along the lines of "we hope we can welcome you back sometime". Well if they have phones where he has gone he hasn't let me know his new number!

Trying to get them to refund the overpayments was a farce as well. Wait 3 weeks for a cheque and it has the wrong name on it. Call them and then wait another 3 weeks before ringing again. Cheque finally arrives 3 weeks after that.

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Thumb Up

Benefit of doubt

Come on people - no need to be so negative about BT's indigenous QoS. It could be a start of what could be a sea change to the concept of off-shoring.

Having CS's in the country you live in can only be a good thing even if they populate them with chavs and follow the PC World support model. It provides jobs for the local community and you know the person at the other end does at least understand colloquialism and will know what you mean when you tell them that their system is "shafted piece of shite".

Way to go BT - you might even get my business back in time...

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Unhappy

#Michelle -

The regular staff at BT have no choice but to use an Indian call centre. BT outsource all their salary and pensions to Accenture, and guess what they do with the (constant) enquiries? I like the quote on the Accenture website: 'It's not a setback. It's a test'. Perhaps that should read 'trial'. If you think you have it bad as a customer of BT, try working for them.

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Similar Low Standards

>> A spokesman for BT told the paper: “This is not about customer service, as the service in our operations around the globe is of very similar standards."

Yep, it's shit everywhere, no matter which continent they are on.

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Megaphone

Excellent news

Now instead of trying to reach understanding with someone who only speaks A-level English, I can talk to someone who doesn't speak English at all. "Excuse me, my Internet connection seems to be down." "Oo gwan tang er aff en an gwen?" "What?" "Ai zez met, oo gwan tang er aff en an gwen?" "I can't understand a bloody word you're saying." "Sir, please be advised you have been put on a 'violent persons register' for racist abuse. *click*"

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FAIL

Indian centres were never about 'customer care'

...they were a money-saving economy (a false one, as it turns out) designed solely to line the pockets of the Directors and shareholders. BT are just another in a long line of insincere, completely disingenuous corporates all too ready to spin the 'customer care' line (it's a cheap gesture, after all), with little or no actual commitment to ever delivering on their weasel words.

I switched out of BT two years ago and I haven't looked back since. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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Flame

You think BT are bad

You should try good old Virgin Media, 5 phone calls to try to tell them that my box didn't have an IP address it took me and about 15 pounds but the worst was the third indian gentleman that said they where placing me on hold and did so for 20 minutes (i think he was hoping i would just hang up) and then he hung up on me, total cost of phone call 8 quid. NOW thats customer service and they didn't even have hold music.

My advice is never to use Virgin Media (and in that i would use no service although the flights ain't bad)

at least when i've dealt with BT they maybe a bit slow but did generally fix my problem first time and in 5 years my broadband never went down, with good old failmedia its been down 3 time this year, oh how i love the Customer service.

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Badgers

Cash & Carrion

Can we request a "My job came back from India, but due to the economic climate, I'm retraining as a plasterer" T shirt please

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FAIL

Regarding the more serious issue of their losses...

I would say that it's impossible for a firm as large as BT to survive a global recession unscathed thanks to the internal politics.

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Anonymous Coward

Hooray!

I know I am kind of taken care of well when I hear a British accent (regardless of location).

Nothing annoys me more than getting a drone who goes down the script and who just couldn't be bothered (not that we don't get those in the UK).

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Bronze badge

W00t

i can stick wit BT now!

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Paris Hilton

About time

Good. offshoring is the unacceptable face of capitalism. Purely profit driven and no ethical virtues at all. BT, please dont try and use the intra company loophole! Paris, as she knows when its time to withdraw.

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Alien

I learn it from a book

Every time I've phoned a call centre, they have to refer to a manual and, being a techie, I object to being told to turn my PC off for a minute then turn my router off for a minute then turn my PC back on etc. <insert noise of page turning> then get asked what has happened. Same thing as when it didn't work two minutes ago.

I had to talk to 3 recently and I mailed them asking for information in writing. I got literally 30 phonecalls a day, all of which I ignored and a week later they eventually mailed me my PAQ at which point I cheerfully swapped to Vodafone.

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Silver badge

Re: Indian centres were never about 'customer care'

Exactly and this move is presumably for the same reason. Which means that the British can once again hold their heads up high in the knowledge that what the country has to off will be sought after the world over. Cheap labour and a workforce too scared to say boo to ghost as evidenced by the number of people willing to submit to CRB checks.

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Grenade

Damn right it's not about customer service

I'm amazed they even know the words "Customer Service" at BT. My experience has been that even the most theoretically simple interactions turn into bizarre kafkaesque meanderings through the twisted layers of their insane beaurocracy. I have never had such irritating dealings with any company and I used to have my phone line with NTL.

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Anonymous Coward

it's not about accent

it's not even about command of the english language. India and the UK have very different cultures, which can make casual dealings, ie support calls, unproductive, to frustrating, to downright painful.

this differing culture means that what you say to someone, might be in the same language, and they might understand it perfectly, but it still might not mean the same thing to them as it does to you! As an example, even if they haven't understood a word you said, they will still respond yes or OK, which is really confusing if you have just asked a question with a yes/no answer.

i get this dealing with indian softwate developers, initiative seems to be positively discouraged. For support calls, they are hired to read a script, so this means you get read to off a script, and if your response isn't catered for in it, you get asked the question again, and again.

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Anonymous Coward

BT Retards?

Don't forget this is the organisation that has been courting Phorm for some time. These high paid managers brought from the retail market into an industry alien to them could totally ruin BT's reputation if they allowed to continue much more. They all seem speak in none technical political terms. They should go back to telling the truth for a while.

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