Calling on India to service UK market

Insurance company Zurich Financial Services has flown training staff to
India to help establish a call centre to service its UK customers.

The company has sent three trainers and some support staff to train the 30
Indian staff recruited for the pilot project in Bangalore.

Zurich’s HR director Jonathan Crookall said the Indian call centre would
cover the late night and weekend shifts that are traditionally difficult to
staff in this country..

"After considering several potential locations, India came out as the
preferred choice for many reasons, including the quality and availability of a
skilled workforce and a proven track record in this area," he said.

Crookall said the training staff, chosen from Zurich’s call centres in
Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Glasgow, Leeds and Newcastle, would be teaching the
Indian operators on Zurich’s normal UK sales and service procedures, including
how to handle phone calls and the details of policies.

He said it was too early to say if the pilot, which has been running for two
weeks, would be extended if successful.

Crookall said the initiative was part of the company’s drive for

"To keep ahead of the increasing pace of change within our industry, we
have been exploring ways of providing a greater range of services to our
customers, while at the same time maintaining competitive prices for our
products," he added.

A number of other UK companies, including Royal and Sun Alliance, Bupa, Axa
and Churchill, have already moved part of their support operations to India.

According to research by Accenture, up to 20 per cent of UK call centre jobs
will be transferred to India by 2010.

By Ben Willmott

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