Broadband ISP Subscribers Discouraged by Overseas Call Centres - ISPreview UK
Does the location of your Internet provider’s call centre matter? The latest web-based survey of 1,155 ISPreview.co.uk readers has found that a third (34.6%) would rate the quality of their ISP’s call centre as “Poor” and 82.6% are discouraged from choosing a provider if they know that its call centre is based overseas.

The issue of outsourced (overseas) call centres is nothing new, with many consumers fearing that the adoption of foreign-based support services could result in worse outcomes. Overall 46.7% believed that their ISP used an overseas call centre (i.e. 42.5% thought it was UK based and 10.7% were unsure of its location), but only 31.7% reported a “Good” experience of using a call centre and issues like “Ineffective solutions” or “Long wait times” came top among consumer gripes.

How would you rate the quality of your ISPs call centre?
Poor – 34.6%
Good – 31.7%
Average – 26.7%
Unsure – 6.8%

Does your ISP use an overseas call centre?

Yes – 46.7%
No – 42.5%
Unsure – 10.7%

Would having an overseas centre count against your choice of ISP?

Yes – 82.6%
No – 17.3%

What irritates you most about call centres?

Ineffective solutions – 52%
Long wait times – 24.2%
Poor sound quality – 10.4%
Other – 7.6%
Cost (premium rate) – 3.6%
Nothing – 1.9%

Many providers outsource their call centres to cut costs by harnessing cheaper labour, but the rush to save money can sometimes negatively impact the quality of support. On the flip side ISPs often proclaim that this approach can deliver real improvements, not least by allowing them to hire more staff to answer calls and for a lower level of investment.

However the recent problems at TalkTalk, which resulted in several call centre staff in India being arrested, has also left many to feel understandably concerned about the security implications of passing their private personal data to overseas staff, where the rules and protections may be perceived as weaker.

The good news is that a growing number of providers are recognising the problems and some, such as telecoms giant BT and its mobile sibling EE, are now shifting related jobs back into the United Kingdom in the hope of cutting complaint volumes and delivering a better experience.

Never the less there’s still a long way to go and simply moving call centres back to the UK may not solve all of the problems, particularly if related processes and training aren’t improved.

Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks for your thoughts on how ISPs advertise their broadband speeds. Vote Here.