British call centre to return home from costly Mumbai

July 4th, 2011 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 4 (IANS) A British call centre operating from Mumbai has decided to pack up and return home, after finding the Indian business capital just too expensive to carry on its business there.

New Call Telecom, which competes with BT and Sky to offer home telephone services, broadband and low-cost international calls, is opening a call centre in Lancashire after being attracted by low commercial rents and cheap labour costs, the Daily Mail reported.

Last week, Burnley, a market town in the Burnley borough of Lancashire county, hit the headlines as home to the ‘cheapest house in Britain’.

A two-bedroom terrace property, described as being in need of ‘comprehensive repair and renovation’, was sold for 10,000 pounds ($16,126). It is rock-bottom property prices such as this and high unemployment that attracted New Call’s chief executive Nigel Eastwood to the town.

New Call will pay four pounds a square foot for a space in Burnley, which Eastwood says is similar to that in Mumbai and New Delhi.

“We did a cost and service analysis of returning home and there was an absolute parity between what we are paying for a third-party call centre in India and here in the UK,” says Eastwood.

“In India in the past decade, as call centres have grown, real-estate prices have gone up massively, while salaries have also crept up.”

He says: “Salaries in India aren’t that cheap any more. Add to that the costs of us flying out there, hotels and software, and the costs are at an absolute parity.”

“In the UK, we will pay workers the minimum wage. Given the current economic environment, we will get good ’sticky’ employees who will also receive bonuses linked to performance.”

Also, the use of foreign call centres has proved unpopular with many customers, who say they prefer to deal with British staff.

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