Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Friday, 2 March 2007

Lloyds hangs up on Indian calls

Lloyds bank exterior
Lloyds will start giving out the phone numbers of its branches

Lloyds TSB, the UK's fifth biggest bank, has said it is closing its call centre in Mumbai - but that back office work will still be outsourced to India.

Customer phone calls will now be answered in its 10 UK call centres and the numbers of branches made available.

Lloyds TSB said that calls had previously only been directed to Mumbai when its UK operators were busy.

It added an automated call-handling system had cut the number of callers who needed to speak to an operator.

This meant there was no need to continue to answer calls in its Indian call centre, which at its peak employed 600 people but now employs about 180 people.

The bank employs around 2,800 people in India, and staff at the call centre will be given new roles.

Lloyds TSB Group Union, which represents many staff at the bank, welcomed the move saying that outsourcing calls to India had proved "a costly failure".

'Makes sense'

Several large companies, including Powergen, have closed Indian call centres because they attracted the ire of customers.

The issue has become such a national bugbear that some firms - including Lloyds TSB's rival NatWest - are using their UK-only call centre policy as a marketing tool.

A survey by YouGov suggested that just 4% of people have had a good experience when dealing with a call centre, with over half of those asked saying their biggest gripe was having to contact call centres outside the UK.

Managing director of telephone banking at Lloyds TSB, Sally Jones-Evans, said that a separate decision to allow callers to contact their local branch directly had come after listening to customer feedback.

"We do appreciate that there are going to be times when it makes sense for customers to call straight through to their local branch and if they don't have the direct number it can be frustrating," she said.

The bank added it received 2.25 million calls each month, with the introduction of an automated answering service reducing the number of enquiries which were handled by staff by 26%.

Lloyds closure to cost 243 jobs
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Powergen creates call-centre jobs
15 Jan 07 |  Nottinghamshire

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