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The best of both worlds; Views of the North.

I note with interest the news that large companies are lining up to return foreign call centres to the UK. Only last week RSA, one of the largest insurance companies in the world, announced it was closing centres in India and moving them to the UK. While the likely creation of 350 new jobs is good news, it is far from the whole story.

Locating customer facing roles offshore is attractive due to low staff costs and overheads but the flip side is quite often a less than perfect customer service. Poor service drives customers away. No matter how cheap the product, service matters. Businesses have agonised over the choice between offering lower costs by locating offshore or losing customers by staying local and charging more.

This is perhaps a false dilemma. Current web-based technology means it is possible to do both.

We can all have our cake and eat it. The technology is available to deliver the low cost benefits of basing non-customer facing roles offshore whilst keeping the customer contact at a local level - thereby acting both locally and globally simultaneously.

These technology solutions need not cost the earth either with the most innovative being charged on a "pay as you go" model.

Most of us are savvy enough to recognise that you get what you pay for. As consumers we want to feel we have a relationship with a company and that our custom is valued. It's hard to feel that way if you are speaking to someone thousands of miles away.

Customer service returning to the UK is a triumph for common sense and the economy. Recognition of the importance of putting the customer at the centre of what we do is long overdue and will deliver better products and service for us all.

MARK COLONNESE, Aquarium Software, via email
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 11, 2013
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