Santander is moving all of its Indian call centres back to the UK, following a raft of complaints about the bank's customer service.
The Spanish banking giant has repeatedly come under criticism for its lack of good customer service, being voted the worst overall provider for two consecutive years in the Moneywise Customer Service Awards.
Ana Botin, chief executive officer of Santander UK, says improving the bank's service is her "top priority", adding: "Our customers tell us they prefer our call centres to be in the UK and not offshore. We have listened to the feedback and have acted by re-establishing our call centres back here."
In response to the Moneywise's results, Santander's director of service quality Steve Williams apologised to the bank's customers, saying: "It's not our business strategy to have competitive products and poor customer service – that's certainly not our intention. I'd like to say sorry and apologise to customers for the problems they've had."
In Moneywise's Customer Service Awards, Santander was repeatedly lambasted by customers for its unhelpful staff and poor phone services – in direct contrast with the awards' overall winner First Direct, which was praised for its efficient and helpful UK-based call centres.
An extra 500 staff have been hired by Santander to deal with the estimated 1.5 million calls each month. The new call centres will be based in Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool.
Abbey National, which Santander bought in 2004, outsourced its call centre arm to Bangalore and Pune in 2003.
The move back to the UK is heralded by Botin as "a major step" for the bank.
She adds: "I am determined that we will do even more to improve the service we offer, as I plan further initiatives later this year to build on the progress we are making."
Santander also plans to introduce 1,000 new customer-facing roles, a specialist call centre team with its own telephone number to deal with customer complaints, a staff helpline and a new ‘resolve or refer' system to address customer issues more quickly.
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