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Business News

Santander call centres return to UK

Banking giant Santander UK today said it had returned all its call centres in India to the UK following complaints from customers.

The UK's third biggest bank, which is owned by Spanish parent Banco Santander, said the move had created 500 UK-based jobs.

The bank said the decision was taken following feedback from customers who said dealing with an offshore call centre was "a frustration that can lead to dissatisfaction".

Abbey, as it was then known, outsourced its call centre operations in 2003 to two centres in India, one in Bangalore and one in Pune.

Ana Botin, chief executive of Santander UK, said: "Improving the service we offer is my top priority. Our customers tell us they prefer our call centres to be in the UK and not offshore. We have listened to the feedback and have acted by re-establishing our call centres back here."

All calls handled by the Indian centres are now being dealt with by staff based in Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool.

Santander hired an additional 500 UK staff to handle the estimated 1.5 million calls each month. In total, Santander's UK call centres employ 2,500 staff.

Santander UK is on a drive to improve customer service after topping the customer complaint tables published by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

The FSA said Santander UK dropped to second place behind Barclays in the second half of last year after receiving 165,000 complaints about its banking services.

The bank has created 1,000 new staff in customer-facing roles, a specialist call centre team to deal with customers who need an issue with Santander resolving and a dedicated staff helpline to assist with customer issues.

Santander said it has reduced the volume of complaints in the last year, and 80% of all complaints were now dealt with within 48 hours.

Last week telecommunications company New Call Telecom said it was moving one of its call centres from India to Lancashire.

New Call Telecom transferred its business to Mumbai three years ago, but increased costs has prompted it to move to Burnley.