Image: Vismedia
Image: Vismedia
BT has announced a major reversal of call centre off-shoring and pledged to answer more than 80 per cent of customers’ calls in the UK by the end of 2016.

The firm was one first major UK brands to sack British staff and relocate jobs and customer service functions to cheaper overseas call centres.

Like many culprits it spent years insisting the move hadn’t led to a decline in standards and service despite large numbers of complaints from disgruntled customers frustrated at speaking to staff with sometimes poor English and little understanding of slang and idioms.

In recent years a number of firms have reduced their use of non-UK call centres, although many still use foreign workers for ‘back office’ roles which don’t involve speaking to customers by phone.

The UK’s largest broadband provider says it’s creating “hundreds” of new UK jobs in addition to the 1,000 already created to meet today’s commitment but, like others, will retain overseas staff for non-frontline roles.

In addition to the new UK jobs, BT says it’s invested “millions of pounds” in improving systems.

CEO Gavin Patterson has previously talked of the need to get more customer issues resolved more quickly and avoid the need for customers to call multiple times for the same issue.

As well as speeding up the resolution of customer issues, a reduction in the number of calls is likely to save BT significant sums of cash.

The move back to the UK follows positive customer feedback about the firm’s use of UK call centres for its new mobile service.

John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, said: “Our customers have told us that they would prefer to speak to a contact centre in the UK when they call us. 
“Our offshore partners have provided a good level of service for our customers and we will still have offshore partners to help us to deliver various campaigns and services.
“However, we believe that now is the right time to commit more investment to the UK and that this is something that customers will appreciate.”