Andrew Holt's article, "Offshoring is here to stay, it must get its customer service back on track", (Comment, 17 Nov), reflects some of the common misconceptions about offshoring; that it involves hidden costs associated with dissatisfied customers and that those involved don't care as long as their business keeps booming.

Managed well, offshoring should achieve equivalent or better operational quality than is available from the home country, in addition to ongoing cost savings of around 40% from year two.

Delivering good customer service is vital. Vital for the success of clients, core businesses, for offshoring providers and for the reputation of offshoring as a whole.

Experience shows that Indian operations tend to outperform UK centres on customer service measures, with a generally better calibre of employees.

India has a fresh pool of 2.5 million graduates each year and a significantly higher level of staff retention.

The FSA's offshoring report earlier this year concluded that back office processing operations in India frequently exceed the service level agreements set for similar operations in the UK.

Furthermore, strategic offshoring is about far more than just cost savings and improved customer service.

It is about enhancing productivity and competitive edge in the increasingly globalised economy.

Offshoring allows organisations to address labour shortages - the UK could be short of 714,000 workers by 2010 - and has enabled several large UK insurance companies to scale up swiftly and at low cost to cope with rapid business growth.

Matthew Vallance
European President
ICICI OneSource