As you might see from my other thread I had a big problem logging into my webmail this weekend. Although not totally resolved (I now have to use the mail.yahoo.com route) I'm just posting to say that the folks in India have been excellent. Live Chat was informative and quick. I was promised a callback in 24 hours which I received and got me back into my webmail. In these xenophobic and judgemental times (especially towards those of other ethnicities) I just wanted to point this out. We can all help each other and get along fine despite our differences.
Couldn't agree more about the xenophobia. It's a human frailty which, sadly, is being exploited right now by individuals seeking to further their own political ambitions. But returning BT customer services to the UK is more a question of common sense than xenophobia.
One issue is language, not a matter of ethnicity but a skill. It can be difficult enough exploring a technical issue with a native English speaker sitting next to you. Over the phone with someone whose accent is difficult to follow, who in turn may not grasp your idiom, can make it nigh on impossible.
I've not been able to confirm it but I believe that the overseas call centre staff are not BT employees, and that's another problem. Hired hands with little or no understanding of or committment to an organisation, are never going to serve it as well as fully integrated, accountable, trained staff. (A related BT service problem is the performance of Openreach, due in no small measure to its routine reliance on agents.) Outsourcing is a modern scourge and that's not a matter of ethnicity either.
Using Live Chat obviously avoids the accent issue and the lady I eventually spoke to was very easy to understand. I agree that BT should use more British workers where possible (that's just from a patriotic standpoint) and I note that the mods here are able to escalate a problem to 'our UK team'. I don't know what % of the help people are UK based and I would worry if it were less than 50% - is it the case though that there aren't enough British people who want to work in call centres? The issue of Broadband help is that it is quite technical and it was clear that the Indian lady was very educated and knew a lot about BT's systems and different browser behaviour.
Of course, not all experiences with the overseas desks are negative (I've experienced both extremes), nor will bringing customer service back to the UK solve all the problems. It's a question of generalities, and we'll find out in due course how good a home-based service is. It's under way, the last target I saw being 80% of calls answered here by the end of the year.