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. "

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Comments on “India Facing Call Center Crisis: Blame Bangalore Bar Closing Times”

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Rubber Pants says:

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.

Random (user link) says:

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.

Overcast says:

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.

The Man says:

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.

ranon says:

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.

Frequent traveller to India says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Frequent traveller to India says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Asian says:

Re: 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 …

Indian settled in US says:

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.

Max Powers at (user link) says:

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.

American in India says:

@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.

Frequent traveller to India says:

Re: 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.

worked in india for 4 years says:

Re: 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….

valentine (user link) says:

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.

American IT guy says:


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?

Kamal kumar (user link) says:


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.

Kamal kumar (user link) says:


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.

l j butts says:

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….

Dave says:

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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