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Customers want calls answered in the UK - Alliance and Leicester

23 January 2006  |  6533 views  |  0 call centre

The vast majority of customers still want their calls to be answered by staff in the UK and would not be happy to have their accounts serviced at overseas centres, according to research commissioned by British bank Alliance and Leicester (A&L).

The survey of over 4000 UK adults conducted by research firm YouGov found that 81% of customers aren't happy about having their bank account or other financial products serviced by an overseas call centre. Only six per cent say they are happy with the idea, while 13% have no preference.

These results broadly reflect those of a similar study conducted by A&L in 2004, which also cited loss of jobs to overseas centres as consumers' main concern with offshore call centres.

However the leading cause for concern in this year's survey was found to be problems with communication - including language, culture and general understanding - which was cited by 88% of customers.

High-profile breaches at overseas call centres have also led to increased concern over the security of personal information. This year 65% of consumers said security was a major concern, compared to 51% a year ago.

In the 2005 survey, general concern about loss of British jobs was cited by 70% of consumers, compared to 82% in a 2004 survey.

A&L says the new findings also show that for those people whose banks have call centres overseas, just over half (51%) believe that service has deteriorated since the call centre moved abroad. The survey shows that almost three quarters of customers (71%) would consider switching to a bank whose call centres are based in the UK.

Commenting on the findings, Alliance & Leicester group chief executive Richard Pym, says: "Our customers tell us they are unhappy with having their calls answered in distant overseas call centres, and that is why Alliance & Leicester is committed to keeping our call centres in the British Isles."

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