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, …

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  1. AC 4
    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.

  2. Ian 11

    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.

  3. Gareth Jones
    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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  5. Emo
    Megaphone

    Not about customer service

    It's about being able to fucking understand someone.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "“This is not about customer service"

    Now there's a big surprise ;)

  7. Kevin Johnston

    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?

  8. john loader

    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

  9. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  10. Tony Paulazzo

    “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?

  11. alex_c
    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!!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    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) ..

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hoorah!

    I will be able to understand them again.

    Unless they come from:

    Scotland (esp West Coast)

    Yorkshire

    Birmingham

    Newcastle

    :-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    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."

  15. Fluffykins Silver badge

    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.

  16. this

    This is not about customer service...

    that I can believe.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  18. Michelle Wright

    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!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  21. pctechxp

    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.

  22. John70

    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.

  23. Dann
    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.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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).

  25. John 136
    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.... ;)

  26. Wize

    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.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  29. Vanir
    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?

  30. Giles Jones 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?

  31. David Roberts Silver badge
    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".

  32. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  34. MikeWW
    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.

  35. Mountford D
    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...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  37. steogede

    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.

  38. Spleen
    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*"

  39. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  40. Scott 19
    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.

  41. Mark Lockwood Silver badge
    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

  42. Matthew Brown
    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.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    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).

  44. Lionel Baden

    W00t

    i can stick wit BT now!

  45. Trevor Woolnough
    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.

  46. lukewarmdog
    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.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

  48. breakfast
    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.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @Chris W

    "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"

    Good one. Now where do you wish to start? The millenium bridge? The NHS? The CSA? The binge drinking... Invading another country based entirely on fabricated evidence? Stopping a SFO investigation into BAE, etc., etc.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  52. Michael 82
    Alert

    Agreed with comment below

    "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".

    Only thing is that Gordo and his pals only care about the big businesses and not the UK Public so this will never get through to lords and then you have the fee taking crims who will then take another fee to prevent/delete said items from the bill anyway

    This Countries f***ed

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Anonymous Coward 15:13

    I wouldn't usually point out the obvious mis-interpretation that you seem to have made but in this case I think you need a bit of help and in an attempt to educate you I offer the following.

    I think I started with cheap labour then moved on to CRB checks. Please revise your FAIL and learn the nuances of the English language.

  54. Neil Kay
    Paris Hilton

    Similar Standards?!!!

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

    Message from my colleague the other day...

    "Some called from BT for you. I think it was about the line you wanted ceased - I think they said it had been done, but I am not sure as I could barely understand a word they said"

    /Paris because, like India, she's abroad

  55. Matt 58
    Alert

    Not going to be better

    Remember that PC World people are mostly english... does not mean they know what they are doing.

    Should be said I dont have anything against indians, except myself positioned against my indian girlfriend a few years ago now.

    Best BT one i has was when my power brick for the hub died, smoke etc....

    Random mumbers - eventually ----

    BT - Hello,

    Me - Hello, yes the power supply on my hub has died can you send me a new one.

    BT - You have a problem with your Hub?

    Me - Yes the power supply has exploded.

    BT - Ok can you plug in the home hub so i can check the connection.

    Me - WHAT? THE P O W E R S U P P L Y HAS EXPLODED.

    BT - Yes sir i need to check the connection to see what is wrong with your Hub.

    After a while he decided there was a hardware fault and i should call the other department.

    other department decided it was a tecnical issue for the help desk.

    eventually i got someone who knew what was going on and the out come was, its blown up, out of guarantee and no they don't sell or supply spares. at which point i went to maplins.

  56. David 45

    And about time

    I used to be a BT engineer years ago. My experience of the current BT is really unprintable after having moved house a couple of times and seen BT cock things up big-time. Having got through to an off-shore call-centre, I can honestly say it was a joke. "I'll just put you through to the department correct" said this female voice with an extremely strong accent. I actually ended up speaking to someone back in the UK! I am not racist at all, but if people in off-shore call-centres are useless, that has to be a fact. Not only were they extremely difficult to understand (I guess the situation was mutual) but they did not seem to actually understand what I was talking about. I guess I was too technical for them. Had I been talking in layman's terms, I suppose it might have worked.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got Wise Have They?

    Maybe BT finally figured out that the Indian staffing you pay for is far different from the staffing that you actually get?

  58. Stu who?
    Thumb Down

    you are joking

    What nonsense that it isn't about customer service. The Indian call centre staff were/are infuriating, incompetent, audible on the b/s words, " I do so apologize Mr..." and inaudlible on the information words "mumble" and they couldn't vary from a script - even when, as a caller, I could diagnose exactly where the problem was ( moved line in the end office to fix hard fault and at same instant losing broadband provision - duh).

    And NO, I HAVEN'T CHANGED MY MICROFILTER, (do these ever fail?) No connected fax machine, hands free or cuddly toy gives you the remotest excuse to fob me off. Why don't you LISTEN!!!"

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the bench

    This is about trying to keep the UK staff as they don't want to loose the technical skills when the market picks up.

    I've been told that by a BT employee that is currently on the bench, the only downside is they are being asked to work very odd shifts.

  60. Ascylto

    Plus ca change ...

    To those who think a return to a UK based call centre will be better, this is what you'll get ...

    "We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls, please continue to hold and a Customer Service agent will be with you shortly."

    Which, in real speak is "We haven't got enough staff to answer calls, please be patient with us while we make even more money so we can give lots of dosh to our departing Chief Executive who has brought us low."

  61. Myopic Aardvark
    Go

    Moving to Sky

    Was the best thing I ever did. Not only are my upload and download speeds almost twice as fast as BT said was possible on the line, I'm also paying less for the service too.

    And I don't even have to pay BT line rental anymore.

    Sheer bliss. Add to the fact that the call centre is in the country I live in (even if it's east coast!)makes it even better (also good in the fact that my friend's brother works in technical support and has sped things up a great deal for me)

    If you're still with BT, leave them now.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    BT bringing jobs back to blighty?

    Livingstones comment about bringing jobs back to the UK is not what it seems. BT have a long term agreement to review numbers in the UK ( project Pond). This was agreed with the CWU when BT began to offshore jobs several years ago. Once the numbers of UK based staff reached a "trigger point" it was agreed to review if jobs could be brought back. In the economic circumstances, this has now happened. Livingstone is being disingenuous about staff numbers. It is not about keeping jobs in the UK. BT has ordered a readuction in headcount of 10% from each division. Cutting costs is their primary consideration. They have a hidden agenda of managing people out of the business - very aggressively. These numbers are not published.

    As for Indian call centres, they are highly unpopular with everyone. BT realised this some time ago and began offshoring to the Phillipines, where people speak English with a slight American accent. This was supposed to prevent the caller saying, I don`t want to speak to anyone in India:)).

    Meanwhile staff are being pushed out of the door by agressive/poor managers who use dubious stats to justify their bullying and intimidation. The irony is that while staff are sacked for failing to reach their targets, Livingstone has trousered £343.000 in bonuses.

  63. Richard Hodgson

    Well...

    At least we can say that BT were at least honest?

    I am interested to know exactly how this won't improve customer service though; maybe their call centres will now only be staffed by two Brits, one of which is the cleaner?

  64. elderlybloke
    Thumb Down

    It's the same the whole world over.

    Down here in New Zealand, the foreign owned Telecom has shifted the call centre to India.

    I immediately changed from them to a smaller (but much better)ISP.

    Unfortunately , I have have to use Indian call centre for reactivating Windows XP , and to try to sofve a problem with a Hewlett-Packard printer.

    The Windows centre "helper" had an accent that made getting that long string of numbers very trying. The HP "helper" gave wrong information , and I ended up going to my local computer repair man.

    It seems to be the biggest problem now is , cheap regardless of quality.

    I won't have to use the Microsoft India site again , I have gone to Linux OS.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "hidden agenda of managing people out of the business"

    To me, this is the real BT story in the last year or two, but although I'm hearing about it from very reliable sources, I'm not reading about it in the usual places. Am I just looking in the wrong places?

    Redundancies cost BT money, sometimes a lot of money depending on the deal and the individual. So they look for a cheaper alternative.

    Dismissals for non-performance don't cost much at all. BT have got enough managers sufficiently worried about their own personal futures that they will do the immoral (and illegal?) bidding of the next level up, ie managers will lie about the performance of their workforce. If they give their team members sufficient bad reviews, then HR will be able to show team members the door, without compensation.

    Job's a good un. Not.

    Policy and behaviour like that must start very close to the top of an organisation.

    Meanwhile, outsourcing or offshoring something doesn't absolve the relevant management from monitoring the quality of the delivered service. One outfit I know offshored its "routine business operations processing" (trivia like orders, ledgers, etc). Six months after the contract started, a disk failure meant there was need to restore from backup. That in itself was a bad sign - disk failure and no RAID? Turns out that the operation had been following the backup script but no one had checked it had worked. Ever. Six months of sales orders had to be re-entered. Should management have checked? Of course.

    Offshoring mostly started when Motorola discovered that for various reasons they could get close to "zero defect" code for mobile handsets if they recruited India's very best engineers to develop their handset code. These folks also happened to be cheap compared with US engineers, but that wasn't the main point - the point was that they were willing to aim for and achieve "zero defects". Seems like a fine idea.

    Offshoring today is a world away from what Motorola started, but as is all too often the case, the managers higher up the food chain have no comprehension of what is needed and what is appropriate for the business and its stakeholders.

  66. barfridge
    Heart

    re: accents

    I think you're onto something with the idea of hiring us Aussies. We're an easy bunch to get along with.

    "G'day, this is Bruce, owsitgoinmateorrite?"

    "This is Reginald Fotherington-Smythe. I seem to be having somewhat of a problem with my internet connection"

    "Strewth cobber, that's a bit rough. But don't worry, we'll have yer fixed up before you can say Gulargambone*"

    (* small town in the middle of nowhere, NSW. Most famous for being closeish to Coonabarrabran).

  67. EnricoSuarve
    Happy

    Someone remind me why

    I'm supposed to give a f### what BT are doing?

    Frankly since all the past changes they made were supposed to *increase* customer service, I don't even want to consider what a change that is not supposed to touch it will do, can they really get any worse?

    I personally wish BT would remove the B from their name - I work for a global company and it's embarassing that other countries might associate BT with general British cluelessness

    At a corporate level BT proactive line monitoring seems to consist of "call us and we'll tell you if the line is down", and at a home broadband level their support consists of "you can't get the 1Mbs speed you pay for as it is an out of date service - to get the speed you pay for you need to upgrade to 8Mbs and sign an 18month contract, at which point we'll be able to give you 3Mbs"

    My customer and I both left BT a long time ago and since then my life has been a lot easier

    Smiley cos now I get to speak to someone who speaks the same language, understands how routers actually work and just fixes the issue instead of looking for reasons it's not his problem or coming up with some random bullshit

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