UK bank Lloyds TSB is to become the latest company to return outsourced call center work to the UK. The bank has commented that, as a result of a new automated answering service, its Mumbai, India call center, which had been used as an overflow for UK call centers since 1994, is no longer necessary.
According to Lloyd TSB, the automated service, intended to handle simple enquiries electronically, was only expected to reduce call center call volumes by 8%, but proved much more effective, in fact reducing numbers by 26%.
Sally Jones-Evans, managing director of telephone banking for Lloyds TSB, said: the number of overflow calls going into Mumbai has been steadily reducing and it has now got to the point that all calls are being comfortably handled by our staff in the UK.
Although Lloyds TSB has attributed the move to the decreased call volume, others have speculated that it is also due to customer dissatisfaction. Indeed, according to The Guardian, the Lloyds TSB Group union claimed that more than 400,000 of the bank’s customers had signed a petition against having their financial arrangements handled overseas.
According to Finextra, all calls will now be handled by Lloyds TSB’s 10 UK contact centers, while the Mumbai center’s 180 staff will be redeployed to handle back office processing.
Lloyds TSB is making additional changes to its telephone system, which will allow customers to obtain the telephone number of their local branch. After a trial in 43 branches, the rest of Lloyds TSB’s 2,000-strong network will be included from April 2007.
Lloyd’s TSB commented that its central PhoneBank service handles an average of 2.25 million enquiries a month and, while it could efficiently deal with most calls, with only 5% needing to be put through to local branches, it appreciated that sometimes direct calls were necessary.