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Rebecca Pike reports
"British Airways has just opened a huge customer service centre in Bombay."
 real 56k

Thursday, 16 November, 2000, 16:59 GMT
Call centres move east
India street scene
India is fast becoming the destination for new, multi-channel, call centres
More and more western companies are setting up second-generation call centres in India. The BBC's Rebecca Pike reports.

They provide a wider range of services than traditional call centres - and customers can communicate with them through a variety of means.

They're now one of the fastest-growing industries in Asia.

To a British customer using a call centre, the kind of scene they might picture at the other end of the phone would be an office full of people answering telephone calls.

Call centre UK

This office is now likely to be sited in India, fast becoming the destination for new, multi-channel, call centres.

Call centres have become a major industry in the Northeast of England over the past few years. But the needs of the customer are changing - and call centres are too.

British Airways is the most recent convert. It has just opened a huge customer service centre in Bombay.

Staff here are bi- or multi-lingual and deal with queries from all over the world - on the phone or by letter or email.

If a customer writes in to a company in London, the letter is sent via computer to India.

Here the letter is assessed and the reply is sent back. As far as the customer knows, the reply has been sent from London.

IT Boom

Further south in Bangalore, the booming IT industry makes it a perfect place for international companies to set up these new centres.

Cambridge Technology Partners, a company develops call centre software, believes India is at the forefront of this fast-growing industry for two key reasons.

Firstly, it is cheaper to set up a call centre in India because of the diversity of the diverse skills available.

Secondly, the workforce is plenty and ready to do the type of work, sometimes even college graduates.

In a global economy there is no reason why call centres servicing British customers shouldn't be based in India.

The problem for western companies though is that they are going to find it increasingly difficult to compete.

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10 Nov 00 | Business
Global search for IT skills
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