A BPO apartheid?

Barclays Bank is trying out something new for its customers. If you are a good customer your call will be answered by a British call center agent. If you are a not-so-good customer then your call will be routed to India and will be answered by an Indian call center representative.

A new banking phone system will identify those with low credit approvals and put them through India. (DNA Paper)

Put them through. Really? I know where the phrase ‘Put them through’ is used. I quickly googled it and here are the top two phrases which I found :

  • Save the banks. Put them through bankruptcy.
  • Can you put them through a washing machine.

And now, put them through India.

There are two groups which are hurt. The general sentiment of Barclays Bank customers who now think that they are getting preferential treatment and the Indian BPO’s.

The not-so-good customers of Barclays are unhappy about it. They feel that this is financial apartheid and banks only care about wealthy customers – which is true. And who has written that software to filter out customers on their credit worthiness and route the calls to a different country?

Indian BPO’s, though they like the new business coming their way, they will be hurt. Indian BPO’s have long buried the hatchet of the ‘can Indians speak and understand English’ misnomer of the west. It is already proven and many organizations are minting money out of this new found land rich with English speaking people called India.

Now that’s – as the British say – bollocks. On both accounts.

On the brighter side of it, maybe Barclays was right to route the calls to India. Indians are very good at bargaining. Looks like that’s what Barclays wants to do with their not-so-good customers.

Two questions still left unanswered :

  1. Why did Barclays make this information public?
  2. And for Barclays wealthy Indian customers, would the calls be routed to Britain?