I had a conversation with an asian advisor in the lloydstsb Collection Dept some time ago. He told me that these charges are a punitive measure.
(heated debate for 15 minutes, then)
WeeDom: You still haven't told me what this charge actually covers... what am I paying for?
Advisor: You're not paying for anything... it's a punitive charge for being overdrawn.
WeeDom: A "Punitive" Charge? So you're punishing me for not having enough money?
Advisor: No, sir. It's not a punishment.
WeeDom: That's what punitive means! Can I just confirm... this is a punitive charge, so you're stating that Lloyds is punishing me for being in financial difficulties?
Advisor: It's not a punishment, it's a punitive charge.
I think I diaried the conversation, I'll dig out last years notes.
The advisor went on to say that LloydsTSB were there to help me, and would loan me the money to pay the charges. He seemed genuinely surprised when I didn't appreciate his generosity.
Yes it might look wrong, but I can tell when i'm diverted to another country call centre, and not to a British Asian working in this country.
Might be the cracky line, or that somethings not quite right.
What I do know is that, lots of British people lose their jobs to call centre staff far far away, because the company wants to save costs, and don't want you complaining.....what better than to put someone on the other end of the phone who doesn't give a toss about our laws or culture and most importantly how we speak to each other (not like their robot speak!!).
I would say that the fact that the banks use call centres based in foreign countries is a direct representation of how important their customers are.
They would rather employ someone who speaks broken English, in a country thousands of miles away who has no understanding of our culture, or in many cases the geography of our towns. For instance when dealing with '3's' Indian call centre I was asked if I would be able to pick my new phone up from the depot in Reading - I live in Yorkshire.
The point is that you can be as politically correct as you like but the second you call customer service and you speak to someone who is clearly in a different country you are immediately irritated. Not at that person but at the fact that the banks don't even care enough to employ someone who has the necessary English and understanding of customer service in this country to deal with any issues you may raise.
In WeeDoms instance I don't think the reference to an 'asian' is being used to be detrimental to the member of staff involved or in a racist way, but merely indicates the familiar annoyance we all encounter when we can not speak to an advisor in this country.
It seems to me we are all a little too politically correct these days.
I've just come back to this forum after being untroubled by the Collections Centre for a while. They've raised their despotic heads again, so now I'm active here again,for a while. Selfish, I know, but hopefully I'll raise a few grins and, with luck,a few good points.
First off, I deeply resent the implication that I am "racist". I'm not going to try to back that up with examples of how not-racist I am. Just accept it,or call me a liar to my face.
The biggest single problem is language barriers/difficulties - day in, day out, foreign advisors deal with people who they cannot understand due to language difficulties (Geordie? Aberdonian?) and this is bound to fuel frustration on their part. I have dealt with customers, in my last job, who have been through the "Asian Helpdesk" experience, and I have felt deep frustration coming from both ends of the telephone line. The Asian helpdesk can't understand the (broken? certainly dialectal) English of customers, and the customer can't understand the broken English of the advisor.
No-one, from a customer service point of view or from the employees point of view, is helped by this.
Importantly, empathy is intrinsically hampered. When I was working in a call center for a UK telco, dealing with UK people, I could put myself in their shoes. Little old lady unable to pay her bill - yeah, I could see the worry, the mottled carpet, the pension stretched. Young single mother calling from a call box cos her line wasn't working - yeah, I could see where she was coming from, I could understand why she was fearful of being isolated without a landline. I could, quite literally, put myself in their shoes because I had met "them" at some stage in my life.
The exact same problem applies to teenage school-leaver employees in UK call centres, in my experience. They can't empathise effectively, as they simply haven't been in enough situations to be able to. This is an important point - I would use the same disparaging tone if I was consistently required to deal with 17 year-old Collection Centre employees of lloydstsb whose only point of escalation was another empathetically challenged 17 year old.
To summarise - the mention of the word "Asian" was meant to imply that the conversation was off to a bad start,and the advisor and I both knew it. I've had nothing but rudeness and incompetence (bred by language barriers and empathetic barriers) when dealing with the Collections Centre abroad, and nothing but courtesy and assistance when dealing with UK folks - be they of Asian descent or not. It's about empathy - and the Asian call centre staff, to a person, have displayed absolutely none.
This is not racist - simply a matter of bald, uncomfortable truth.