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Contact centres moving back to Britain as costs plummet?

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6th Jul 2011
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A telecoms company has transferred its call centre operations from Bombay to Burnley because costs are now at "absolute parity", but it considers UK employees to be more loyal and efficient.

New Call Telecom, which provides home telephone services, broadband and low-cost international calls, is opening the contact centre in Lancashire after being attracted by the low commercial rents and cheap labour costs.

Chief executive Nigel Eastwood told the Daily Mail: "We did a cost and service analysis of returning home and there was an absolute parity between what we are paying for a third party call centre in India and here in the UK."

A key issue was the cost of wages, which had now jumped in India. "Salaries in India aren’t that cheap any more. Add to that the cost of us flying out there, hotels and software, and the costs are at absolute parity," Eastwood said.

He plans to employ 25 staff at rented premises in Burnley, an area of high unemployment, and will pay workers the minimum wage. "Given the current economic environment, we’ll get good ‘sticky’ employees who will also receive bonuses linked to performance," Eastwood said.

He added that hiring UK personnel would also save the firm money because they spent less time dealing with customer enquiries. "The average handling time in the UK is three minutes. But if you go out to India, you need to add another minute unless it’s a very efficient operation so that means we can actually reduce the headcount with the saving," Eastwood said.

Another consideration, however, was that real estate prices had increased "massively" in India over the last decade as the call centre industry had grown. New Call plans to pay £4 a square foot for office space in Burnley, which is now on a par with Bombay and New Delhi.

 

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