India Facing Call Center Crisis: Blame Bangalore Bar Closing Times

from the drink-up dept

Stephanie Overby writes "Could your company's sinking customer satisfaction numbers have something to do with the early closing time for bars in Bangalore? If your call center is based in India, they just might. Indian corporate recruiters are facing a harder sell with students when it comes to the help-desk jobs that used to symbolize India's rising fortunes. Bad hours, worse pay, and verbal abuse. Who needs it? It's also probably no coincidence that since Bangalore pushed up the closing times for its bars and "entertainment" establishments to 11:30 p.m. a few years ago, the appeal of shift work has dwindled. What 22-year old wants to graveyard shift when it means no social life, particularly when there are new, better alternatives? The net result is not pretty for Indian call center operators... or the U.S. companies that source their work there. "


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Rubber Pants, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 8:01am

    Screw it

    I say screw it, take the grave yard shift and come to work high and drunk. Youre not going to care that the person on the other end is yelling at you when youre if youre own little world surrounded by fuzzy little bears. Plus, are they really going to fire you if they cannot find someone to replace you.You might as well get a lapdance while trying to explain that a computer needs to be plugged in to work.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Random, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 8:13am

    RE: Screw it

    Is this a serious opinion, or are you high right now?

    I can't believe that this would be the actual cause. Surely this would have been seen in other places, not just Bangalore.

    If the graveyard shift is your only option, not doing it would leave you with no money and still not able to enjoy the pub and its extended opening hours.

    There must be other influences.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Not Related, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 8:19am

    Not related

    Just reading your 'Submit a story' page and noticed

    "Finally, we like to post news that new and recent."

    Does this make sense to you?

     

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  4.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Oct 25th, 2007 @ 8:20am

    outsource to las vegas

    the bars there never close!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 8:21am

    The article states that the graveyard shift is NOT the only option. It may have been at one point but apparently that's no longer the case.


    What 22-year old wants to graveyard shift when it means no social life, particularly when there are new, better alternatives?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 8:30am

    What does the closing times of bars have to do with the graveyard shift killing your social life? if you're going into work between 10 and midnite you don't have time to go out drinking anyway. 1st post had it right at that time of day just go to work drunk, noone will care, and when customers call they expect poor service.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Random, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 8:33am

    RE: by Anonymous Coward

    It does say that, but other shifts / work might not be an option for some people.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:09am

    particularly when there are new, better alternatives?

    Yeah, that's the best part. As long as the people over there are able to get a decent job.. well, so much for big corporations getting by dirt cheap using labor overseas. They do the same job as many paid much more - they deserve the same pay if their skills are worth it.

    It's funny with all the outsourcing - did they think it would last forever? Perhaps execs should look into a think called 'loyalty' - and I don't mean for the grunts, I mean for upper management.

    If an upper manager is loyal - they will stay focused on LONG TERM winning plans, not short term gains each quarter.

    Either they didn't think it out, or were in fact to worried about short term gains. Afterall, it only makes sense that when you train an entire workforce, as they gain experience and the economy strengthens, new opportunities will arise - but again, not just for employees but for entrepreneurs also...

    They are, in essence, training their own future competition.

    If all you focus on are short term gains, don't expect the long term prospects to be solid at all.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:13am

    Who cares? Bring the jobs back home, people wanted and had
    them when they were here. They dont want the job screw them.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    The Man, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:38am

    Sinking customer satisfaction rates

    Maybe the sinking customer satisfaction rates are due to the fact that you can not understand the bastards. "Halo Mine Nam is Bob, Hoo caaan im heealp you?" Or maybe the reason is that the 6 year old laborers in Malaysia' hands are just to small to assemble the computers correctly. Having them come to work wasted may be better for everyone. I do not see how it could be any worse.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    They sent MY job to India..., Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:42am

    So I say HA HA HA HA

    del *.*

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Brian, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:44am

    Call center crisis

    This is good news. Shut the mf down. Maybe now when i have to call Microsoft for support i'll actually get a tech that i can understand.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    ranon, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:52am

    Actually bar closing has nothing to do with it.

    Call center jobs are perceived here as not desirable. The pay is lower, the job satisfaction is worse and there is very little scope for improvement.

    In a city like Bangalore, there are almost no new call centers opening up. The desirable jobs are the ones in the IT sector. like Infosys etc.

    Call centers are forced to move to smaller and smaller towns to start services and attract personnel. Most call centers are opened in the cities which are in the 40-100 rank in terms of population.

    This phenomenon has been happening over the past 3-4 years.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Frequent traveller to India, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:55am

    Missing the point

    I don't see the problem here. If you understand how the culture of most young Indian people works, you'll see that this isn't a problem for the vast majority of workers.

    Most early 20 something college educated Indian tech workers live at home - that's what they do - they live with their parents until they are married.

    The typical motivation for someone in a Western country to go out to happy hour and get bombed is to meet people of the opposite sex, in the hopes of finding a mate for whatever duration they are into. Well, in India where the vast majority of marriages are still arranged and most pre-marital relations don't happen - that motivation is gone.

    So, these people are left with two choices: (1) Go to work with all of your friends; (2) Go home and hang out with your parents.

    Given the alternative - most people go to, and stay at work.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:57am

    So who are we supposed to feel sorry for? The poor Indian tech who cant get laid, the poor US company that outsourced the job to make a few more bucks, the Indian bars that arent making call center patron money....It is so tough considering no one gave a shit when they laid off a US worker who is too poor to get laid or drunk.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Frequent traveller to India, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    The difference is that the poor US worker who can't get laid still has two cars, 5 tv's, is fat as hell, and apparently in your case has broadband internet.

    The poor Indian worker lives in either a tin-shack roofed dirt floor hut, or a 2 bedroom apartment with their parents, grandparents, and brothers and sisters.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Asian, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    sorry .. the "American " jobs did not go to India . the major companies like att and all others were already leaning towards IVR 'cause a "American" customer service agent cost them $6.50 / minute vs $0.50 for the whole call on ivr . India just happened to have captured the IVR market ... now if Joe shmoe wants to complain about his "toaster" that wasn't plugged in but wants an "American " who can understand his Texan accent , then maybe Joe should not be bitching about the higher prices .... the call center market started with UK and talk about funny accents, but they were still too expensive and thats when India "took over American jobs" . Incidentally VOIP had just come around. combine that with cheap labor , mix in half decent English and you got yourself todays dilemma ...

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Asian, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:14am

    and yet i agree with Rubber Pants on top

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Big Momba, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:15am

    Simple Solution

    Outsource to Africa ... African, Indian, American, doesn't matter. They just read a flow chart anyways.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Dan, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:24am

    Good God, Indian call center service is getting worse? How is that even possible?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:36am

    Re:

    HAHA that's what I was thinking!!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Naven, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:19pm

    The observations made by Stephanie Overby are completely bullshit. I lived in B'lore for 4 yrs. Pub closing time have always been 11:00 PM. The call centers were springing like mushrooms despite the early closing on Pubs.

    The reason for the slowdown is that the market is saturated now. Any sector cannot see a 70-80% growth indefinitely.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Indian settled in US, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:19pm

    The observations made by Stephanie Overby are completely bullshit. I lived in B'lore for 4 yrs. Pub closing time have always been 11:00 PM. The call centers were springing like mushrooms despite the early closing on Pubs.

    The reason for the slowdown is that the market is saturated now. Any sector cannot see a 70-80% growth indefinitely.

     

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  24.  

    Who Cares?

    I can't understand them, they can't understand me, and I don't understand what a social life has to do with a job?

    I needed a small plastic key "cap" to replace the letter Z that came lose and then I lost on my Dell keyboard. They simply "snap" on. My India rep. could not get what I wanted so he sent me a complete new keyboard instead. It was still under warranty but I think you get the point.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    ipanema, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 5:47pm

    there are online addicts from different parts of the world who never sleep. draw a time table by shift. why not outsource it to them? or is 'near sourcing' in?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    American in India, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 6:02am

    @10, 12: Yeah, right. Go ahead and shut the em-effing bastards down, while you sit on your fat ass and don't have the guts to speak up and let Microsoft et al know how you feel. Oh wait, that's right - they don't give a rat's ass about what you think, do they? Customer be damned! All they care about is making a profit (well, not saying that's wrong either, after all, that's what they're in business for), so they're not really gonna shy away from outsourcing anytime soon, are they? India, China, Africa, what the hell does it matter to them? So we have a situation wherein the poor bastards are trying to make a living and are willing to be abused all day by morons such as you and you have the temerity to sit on your high horse and judge them? Do you think they *enjoy* getting abused? Do you think they wouldn't give a right leg if they could mimic our varied accents better and thus be abused a bit less? It's the same everywhere... The poor are exploited by the rich who think it's somehow their birthright to lord it over everyone else.

    All I say is, I'm an American and am simply ashamed to read your comments. It's ignorant idiots like you who give us a bad name. I'm not saying they're all perfect. No way. But if you'd actually take some time to understand the conditions these guys work in, the extreme stress levels of their jobs and the reasons they put up with it, it *may* change your mind about them. Then again, maybe it's too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    American in India, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 6:04am

    BTW, just wanted to add that I really appreciate Frequent Traveller to India's views, esp. if (s)he's a fellow American.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    valentine, Oct 27th, 2007 @ 11:24pm

    who the hell cares about the big corporations

    When we buy stuff now, well were stuck with poor customer service cause the big corporations want to save money, hire out of the country for cheap labor. They got what they wanted, now we are paing the price, what we need to do is get ride of the big corporations get back to business, with smaller companies, with family values. Who am I kidding it's not gonna happen, the government should stop this hiring out of the U.S. we are at the mercy of the government and big corporations cause they want to save money they don't care about the little people anymore.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Frequent traveller to India, Oct 28th, 2007 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    Thanks - I (he) am American. People who comment on outsourcing, while they have a valid reason to complain if they've lost their jobs have never been outside of the western world, and have no idea what the living conditions of the real "poor" people in this world really are.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    worked in india for 4 years, Nov 3rd, 2007 @ 9:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Okay, here is the scoop. Bring the jobs back to America and the cost for things go up. Inflation rises, lay offs start to happen and then guess what? Jobs go offshore again. Doesn't anyone remember when a VCR cost 700 bucks? Things are cheaper now because of offshore labor. Get with the times....

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Dell tech, Dec 18th, 2007 @ 12:53am

    Re: Who Cares?

    FYi..
    If a single key cap goes on your keyboard, we have to replace the entire keyboard, as we dont get single keycap part numbers. Arent you happy that you are getting a new keyboard anyway?? Or is this just a racist rant?

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Wow addict, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    Wow I totally agree with you.... The only ones profiting from this are the greedy CEOS who cash out and get a million dollar severance package when the company tanks a few years later... Look at Dell they're taking a bath for it and still don't see that their subpar indian tech monkeys are the cause.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Not American In India, Apr 26th, 2008 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    Wah wah... I just boycott companies that use indian agents as they are impossible to understand and are just a short hop of no support at all... In the case of capital one and linksys they might as well have been no support at all.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    American IT guy, May 3rd, 2008 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    Wow addict has part of it right. (I'll refrain on commenting on idiotic remarks about indian tech monkeys). American CEOs, VPs, and other executives are the ones who benefit. People in India are like people anywhere...some appreciate a good job and opportunity, others don't give a shit. How many times have we been frustrated by the local Auto shop run by a couple of American slackers? I've worked in the tech sector for years. There are plenty of lazy, stupid Americans working tech support jobs who are hardly qualified to do much more than answer the phone. Smart people, stupid people exist everywhere. Poor tech support is not the fault of people in India, it is the fault of the fat American executive who is more interested in his golf game than in arranging proper training his overseas call center staff -- as long as he can still cash in next quarter's stock options, he could give a rat's ass about the quality of support -- But his brilliant idea to save the company money by skimping on proper training is well rewarded by his crony friends.

    Hey, how about some punctuation and a quick spell check? I mean how can you criticize Indian people for not speaking fluent English when it's obvious that you barely made it through high school yourself?

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Kamal kumar, May 26th, 2008 @ 2:47am

    Comment

    India facing the call center crisis as due to the closing time of bar at bangalore but there is so much talk about tech industry salary inflation in India. And there is no question that's a problem—both for India’s competitiveness with other low-cost countries and day to day for companies that are fighting it out on the ground for talent With a handful of data sources suggest that the wage differential between the United States and India will remain substantial for a long time.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Kamal kumar, May 26th, 2008 @ 2:47am

    Comment

    India facing the call center crisis as due to the closing time of bar at bangalore but there is so much talk about tech industry salary inflation in India. And there is no question that's a problem—both for India’s competitiveness with other low-cost countries and day to day for companies that are fighting it out on the ground for talent With a handful of data sources suggest that the wage differential between the United States and India will remain substantial for a long time.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    l j butts, Jun 1st, 2008 @ 10:35am

    india call centers

    I for one have had it....it takes 3-4 times as long and more phone calls to get anything done. United Airlines is the worst. Trying to change a ticket is impossible. I amon hold now because what I tried to do 3 days ago never got done....this will be the third call in 3 days. Southwest Airlines has all AMERICANS who understand the language. I'm by no means a racist...but would only like to talk to a person who understands at least the language. This is why our customer satisfaction with our products is at an all time low. Add in the crap we get from most Chinese manufactuers and what are we left with...crappy products and crappy service to back it up. Win win my ass....

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    pissed off, Jun 1st, 2008 @ 10:36am

    Re:

    amen

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    test, Jun 11th, 2008 @ 2:23am

    Test

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Global outsourcing company, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 7:38am

    Is it good or bad?

    I wonder, what is the point?
    Do these guys drink and come to work or drink after they have done their work?

    And Max Powers, i dont think Dell or any other company ships only a key cap. Wonder how it would be shipped. LOL.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    ashwath, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 1:00am

    Not true .....

    What ever .....
    We guys in the call center are dedicated and are very professional....
    We thrive hard to get the customers satisfied .

    We were doing that and will continue to satisfy the customers .
    Call centers are here to stay in Bangalore .

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    ashwath, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 1:03am

    Not true .....

    What ever .....
    We guys in the call center are dedicated and are very professional....
    We thrive hard to get the customers satisfied .

    We were doing that and will continue to satisfy the customers .
    Call centers are here to stay in Bangalore .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Dave, Dec 25th, 2008 @ 3:17am

    Indian call centres

    Without going into a USA V India debate (I am British by the way, so you can blame me for just about anything) or the work ethics/morals of outsourcing/labour saving/money saving/capitalist greed/help the third world, I have stopped using companies with Indian call centres, simply because:

    1) I don't find the 'service' satisfactory, I doubt if the person I am speaking with gives a toss.

    1 b) I often have difficulty understanding Indian call centre staff.

    2) I expect service and don't get it, which makes me frustrated, angry and generally uptight when in reality, I'm a real nice guy.

    2 b) I doubt very much if the average Indian understands the average Limey/Yank/Cannuck/OZ/Kiwi so it must be as frustating for them as it is for the poor sod who has to deal with corporate greed.

    Whenever I sign a contract, I demand to have a WRITTEN guarantee that the company ONLY uses UK call centres.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Dave, Dec 25th, 2008 @ 3:20am

    Re: Not true .....

    The call centres I use are based in Swindon, Manchester, Newport and Grimsby.

    Indian call centres are USELESS.

    British companies even advertise the fact that they use ONLY UK call centres.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Dave, Dec 25th, 2008 @ 3:23am

    Re:

    I have been to India, on holiday you are patient, when making a phone call you want.....AN ENGLISH SPEAKING PERSON WHO CAN DO SOMETHING.

    Indian call centres? Forget it!

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Amber, Aug 19th, 2010 @ 7:45pm

    BRING THE CALL CENTER GOODS BACK TO AMERICA! I am sure there are some Americas who would love a job!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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