Prudential outlines good points of offshoring plan

Financial services company Prudential had three main reasons for offshoring
one of its call centres to India – customer experience, cost-cutting and

The company’s HR director Russell Martin, speaking at the Employment Lawyers
Association annual conference, said Prudential wanted to enhance the experience
of its customers and recognised that callers wanted to speak to real people. It
also wanted to improve cost competitiveness and deliver savings, as well as
increasing flexibility by extending the working day for UK customers.

HR was treated as an equal partner throughout the whole process and
continued to play a key role, Martin said.

"One of the key points is that our policies in Mumbai, India, are
identical to those in the UK – for example, our dignity at work policy,"
he said.

"We are trying to create a sense within the organisation that it
doesn’t matter where the individual is located as to how they are

Prudential received an initial 25,000 applications when it announced plans
for the call centre, and then conducted more than 8,000 interviews – in itself
a huge challenge, Martin said.

All workers in India have ‘buddies’ in the UK and are encouraged to talk to
them regularly.

The next stage, Martin said, is to create real empathy between the customer
and the operative.

"There are problems in off-shoring, but there are advantages," he
said. "Actually, it can be a very positive experience."

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