Overseas call centre workers' spelling gaffes costing UK customers dearly

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London, Dec 8 (ANI): What's in a name, you ask? A lot, apparently. Research has shown that a slip of the keyboard from a call centre typist can cause serious issues for customers whose names are spelled incorrectly.

Researchers at King's College London blamed poorly educated bank clerks in Britain and staff in call centres overseas who are unfamiliar with English names for errors in data entry.

The most commonly misspelt names included 'Jacqueline', 'Elizabeth', 'Patricia' and 'Deborah'.

"Sometimes it just annoys people that their name is wrongly spelled," the Telegraph quoted Professor Richard Webber as saying.

"But there are many examples where banks do not match up ISA records or data goes astray and information is not correctly captured so that people are not paid out money when they are owed it," he added.

"I imagine a certain proportion of that comes down to the fact that names have not been correctly entered."

The study found that there were three main sources of error: Call centre staff who key in a name as it sounds, giving spellings such as "Jacqualyn"; staff who cannot read paper files accurately when entering names on a database, resulting in entries such as "Beborah"; and operators typing too fast who key in the correct letters in the wrong order, resulting in "Thoams", instead of "Thomas".

Webber suggested the growth of immigration and the consequent rise in the numbers of both customers and data entry staff in Britain with foreign names had made errors more likely.

"I think outsourcing data capture to India in particular has been a big source of the errors," he said.

There would be advantages for job applicants who want to hide elements about their past from potential employers in altering their names, Professor Webber said. (ANI)

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