BA Outsourced UK Call Centres

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This topic contains 40 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  Flightlevel 7 Jun 2017
at 00:36
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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 42 total)

  • neilsoaj
    Participant

    I believe the announcement will be made tomorrow that BA has agreed a deal to outsource all its UK contact centres – I guess the staff know it was coming as they were all put on notice pre xmas

    Will be interesting if the service levels will maintain


    Eastbourneguy
    Participant

    Changed a booking yesterday with BA on the phone, and a message later asked me to call them back. CAll put trough to Delhi and the agent insisted I owed extra for tax and wanted payment.. I advised her to read the notes correctly in the booking where it said I was due for a tax refund!

    She explained that if I didn’t pay the extra the ticket would not be reissued and I would have to pay at the airport

    I hung up, recalled and got someone in Manchester who could read It correctly and sorted it.


    icenspice
    Participant

    I think a 24/7 number would be a good start. But I am not holding my breath. Anyway, BA has lost my business for good, so I couldn’t really care less.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    There is already a 24/7 number to call. Just dial into an office in a time zone which is open…


    capetonianm
    Participant

    As above, exactly. I have called the USA office (in Jacksonville I think) and got excellent service, compared to the haughty and often incompetent UK people.

    As I used at one time to work in tariffs, I know more about fares and fare rules than the average call centre supervisor, and on occasion when I have to use this knowledge to sort out a problem for myself or a third party, I find that the USA people will listen, check and proceed, the UK staff immediately become defensive and refuse to accept that someone on the other end of the phone can know anything, let alone more than them, about the matter under discussion. The difference appears to be empowerment, which the UK staff do not have.


    maxgeorge
    Participant

    I agree with icenspice re: BA, and capetonian re: Jacksonville.

    The levels of exasperated rage generated in the US by Indian call centres have caused many companies to switch to the Philippines, theorizing that the accent won’t be recognized.

    For status clients of many companies – CitiGold, Chase Private Client, Marriott Elite etc the perks include US domestic call centres.

    AA’s reps always US based, as are Alaska’s, and are knowledgeable and helpful, especially the latter’s.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    IIRC, BA closed down the Jax centre at the end of 2013 and laid of over 250 employees.


    sgvancouver
    Participant

    BA’s North American call centre was in Toronto for years …. I worked there and we offered service in about 13 different languages. Including the big 3 for North American clients English, French and Spanish. The office in Toronto was shut down in 2004 and outsourced to a company in Jacksonville.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    That’s possible, the last time I called I called it was probably over 3 years ago.

    A friend had travelled to Seattle on a restricted ‘C’ class fare, which we’d put on my credit card, and needed to return earlier for compassionate reasons, and as she was a bit emotional she asked me to deal with it. I looked up the fare rules, worked out the penalty and the extra fare for the flight she wanted to return on and rang the UK number. With this information in front of me, and the PNR and fare rules on my screen, I rang the UK number, gave my name, the record locator and passenger name and was greeted with :

    “You aren’t Mrs. X.”

    “No, I didn’t say I was, I’ve already given you my name. I am phoning on her behalf because ….. and in fact you can see that the ticket was paid with my credit card number xxxxxxx and she would like to travel back on flight BA XXX on (date.)

    “It’s a nonchangeable nonrefundable ticket and she will have to buy a new one way ticket.”

    “No, if you look up the fare rule for the IBA3US (whatever it was), the penalty paragraph says ‘after commencement of travel changes may be made for €300’ ”

    “How do you know?”

    “Does it matter how I know, it’s a fact? I’m not in a hurry, I’ll hold on while you verify.”

    She came back and told me I was wrong, because the penalty paragraph said ‘no refunds allowed’. I told her I wasn’t asking for a refund, I was asking for a change and if she scrolled down she would see the ‘voluntary changes’ paragraph. When I asked to speak to a supervisor I was told ‘they will tell you the same.’

    She reluctantly put me through to a supervisor who agreed that the change could be made, but for almost double the amount I’d worked out. When I asked why she said ‘because the change fee is €300 per sector’. It was €300 per change.

    I got sick of it and told her to leave it, rang the JAX call centre, explained what had happened, the lady apologised, told me I was correct, asked me to hold on, came back to me, and told me that she had cleared with a supervisor that they would reissue the ticket and waive the change fee and the fare difference as the latter was a small amount.

    Rather a difference in attitude! And by the way BA have an Automatic Ticket Changer in Amadeus which calculates the penalty and fare difference, it’s pretty infallible, but apparently some offices don’t use it.


    Charles-P
    Participant

    This reply has been reported for inappropriate content.

    I don’t know what BA are thinking – fancy a public company trying to control costs and increase shareholder value by moving to an alternative call centre operation !

    I for one am uncomfortable with the racist overtones of the suggestion that a call centre in India is somehow not the same quality as one in the UK.


    rferguson
    Participant

    For myself its not so much the issue of the geographical location of a call centre – it’s more the training the outsourced call centre staff are given and how empowered they are to actually deal with problems.

    I’ll give an example – BA Staff Travel. The BA Staff Travel call centre used to be based in Manchester, it was outsourced to a call centre in India. The nationality of the person answering the phone does not bother me one iota. The difference however was the fact that the person in Manchester had a job solely dealing with Staff Travel (which with interline ticketing etc is a complex area) and they were experts on it. I remember calling the BA Staff travel number once the call centre was moved to India and was surprised when the operator answered ‘British Airways baggage enquiries how can I help you’. A bit taken aback I said ‘ohhh…I think I might have dialled the wrong number – I wanted Staff travel’. The operator apologised and said he was in fact ALSO staff travel. Plus baggage queries. Plus Customer Relations. Plus an ‘overflow’ for numerous other departments. In other words, I imagine he receives a much more basic training in many areas instead of an in depth knowledge of one.

    It’s the same with my bank. I actually changed banks years ago when they moved their call centre off shore. Again it wasn’t the georgraphocal location or the nationality of the person that bothered me. It was a case of going from a scenario where I could call with a problem and have it resolved there and then, to one where my issue wasn’t understood and I was either directed from different department to different department. Or worse still arranged a ‘call back’. I found this frustrating so joined First Direct (and never looked back) and AMEX are amazing also.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I don’t know what BA are thinking – fancy a public company trying to control costs and increase shareholder value by moving to an alternative call centre operation !

    I for one am uncomfortable with the racist overtones of the suggestion that a call centre in India is somehow not the same quality as one in the UK.

    I don’t see anything remotely racist in this thread, the OP poses a perfectly reasonable question that would be appropriate for any transfer of a service to an outsourced vendor – the outsourcing host country is not even mentioned.

    Eastbourne guy’s experience mirrors one I had with the BA call centre in India and it was resolved the same way, with a similar outcome.

    MaxGeorge’s post is factual

    ‘http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/business/philippines-overtakes-india-as-hub-of-call-centers.html’

    BT is a leading UK company that is onshoring contact centre personnel, due to customer dissatisfaction

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/bt-hires-1000-uk-staff-after-complaints-indian-call-cent

    So why do you find this thread racist?


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    For myself its not so much the issue of the geographical location of a call centre – it’s more the training the outsourced call centre staff are given and how empowered they are to actually deal with problems.

    I’ll give an example – BA Staff Travel. The BA Staff Travel call centre used to be based in Manchester, it was outsourced to a call centre in India. The nationality of the person answering the phone does not bother me one iota. The difference however was the fact that the person in Manchester had a job solely dealing with Staff Travel (which with interline ticketing etc is a complex area) and they were experts on it. I remember calling the BA Staff travel number once the call centre was moved to India and was surprised when the operator answered ‘British Airways baggage enquiries how can I help you’. A bit taken aback I said ‘ohhh…I think I might have dialled the wrong number – I wanted Staff travel’. The operator apologised and said he was in fact ALSO staff travel. Plus baggage queries. Plus Customer Relations. Plus an ‘overflow’ for numerous other departments. In other words, I imagine he receives a much more basic training in many areas instead of an in depth knowledge of one.

    It’s the same with my bank. I actually changed banks years ago when they moved their call centre off shore. Again it wasn’t the georgraphocal location or the nationality of the person that bothered me. It was a case of going from a scenario where I could call with a problem and have it resolved there and then, to one where my issue wasn’t understood and I was either directed from different department to different department. Or worse still arranged a ‘call back’. I found this frustrating so joined First Direct (and never looked back) and AMEX are amazing also.

    Well said, that is exactly the point. The agent I had a problem with was probably also under trained and covering too much turf – but at the end of the day, that’s not my problem as a customer and your response to the bank is appropriate and measured.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I for one am uncomfortable with the racist overtones of the suggestion that a call centre in India is somehow not the same quality as one in the UK.

    Oh dear, some people take offence and pull out the race card far too easily.

    There is nothing remotely racist in anything that has been said or inferred. There are a number of problems with overseas call centres. Call/speech quality is often poor, with a lot of background noise, which combined with accents and different use of English, particularly colloquialisms, can make comprehension very hard for both parties. The reality is that people from different countries do have different accents, and if saying that is racist, well, then I’m racist to whomever wishes to accuse me of racism.

    Different means different, it does not mean inferior. I find Indian people are generally charming, patient, gracious and very competent, but they have a different mentality and can be very hard to understand. I’ve worked in India and I have huge admiration and respect for Indians, but guess what …. I don’t want to deal with them in call centres. Nor do I want to deal with French, Filipino, etc. in the same context.

    I also changed my UK bank so that I can call my bank in the Channel Islands and speak to a person in the bank there, someone who knows who I am as I’ve met them when I go there.


    Charles-P
    Participant

    Clearly I have opened a can or worms here !

    The point I made is I believe valid, the arguments about accent or knowledge are spurious as they could equally apply to any call centre operative. The issue I was raising refers to the reference about call centres in India being not the same standard as UK based ones, this by its nature displays a level of bias based on a racial stereotype. Of course a little research will soon show people that many times when call centres are used people are unaware the handler is in India as many centres there now train their staff in accent, slang and colloquialisms to improve the customer service.

    It is interesting to note that nobody commented on the fact I also wrote that BA like any company has a responsibility to its shareholders to maximise fiscal performance while maintaining customer satisfaction. If I were a BA shareholder I would regard the board as having done exactly that by adopting a well proven strategy.

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