by Mike Masnick

Letting The Customers Decide Over Offshoring

from the your-choice dept

John writes in with an article about an interesting strategy from E-loan concerning the whole offshoring debate. Realizing that some customers are really concerned about this, when you call in to E-loan's call center, you are given a choice: press 1 for a call center in India, press 2 for a call center in the US. However, there are tradeoffs for those who want to keep the call in the US, which are clearly explained. If the call goes to India, it's more likely that the loan request will get processed that day. With the US center, it may take two or more days. It should be interesting to see how this experiment works out, and whether or not it provides some statistics on how American callers really feel about offshoring call center work.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Alex Moskalyuk, Mar 10th, 2004 @ 9:51am

    No Subject Given

    Wouldn't the same customer who pressed "2" later during the day go to WalMart and buy a pair of Nike shoes made in Malaysia and a brand new TV set from China? What's so special about call center jobs that they need protection?

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

  2. identicon
    Sam Moses, Mar 10th, 2004 @ 10:16am

    No Subject Given

    I had a problem with my new hp. So I called tech support, only to wait a half an hour to hear that the specific problem I was having with my computer wasn't even possible. Yet, that didn't seem to solve the problem. It's not that the hp call center has gotten any better since it moved to India. It's that I resent hearing "your problem couldn't possibly exist" more from someone who doesn't speak english as a first language than otherwise. The indian call center was also noisier than the american center was. And it was harder to understand what they were saying through the racket. It's not like a thick accent was bad enough, no they had to park a dump truck in the call center constantly for a half an hour while I'm trying to explain what is wrong with my machine.

    Ultimately, I don't think this is about American jobs. It's about weather or not I will ever spend my money on anything from hp again. The answer there... no way in hell.

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

  3. identicon
    AMetamorphosis, Mar 10th, 2004 @ 10:45am

    Re: No Subject Given

    This obviously is a " sign of the times " and a blatant wake up call to American businesses that American consumers want to speak to American Customer service representatives.

    Off shoring jobs like customer service that require the ability to communicate in English is backfiring.

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

  4. identicon
    AMetamorphosis, Mar 10th, 2004 @ 10:47am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Its not the job that needs protecting.
    Its the consumer getting less than adequate service.

    I guess this business in question is seeing that they really aren't " saving " so much money when they are losing customers.

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

  5. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Mar 10th, 2004 @ 11:48am

    Re: No Subject Given

    My only problem with offshoring call centers is the same problem I have with any person who answers the phones for a business and doesn't speak clear English.

    I will often times hang up and re-dial the number in hopes of getting someone who can help me and can speak clear English.

    I don't mind accents, but when I can only understand every other word they say and I have to repeat myself and speak slowly and enunciate words to get my point across, I get impatient.

    I called a company recently to turn off a service that I no longer wanted. I had to explain myself 4 times to the support person what I wanted, they finally pretended to understand me and told me it would be taken care of. 30 days later I check my bank account and find out that they are still taking money from my account and I call them back. This time I get someone who speaks with an accent but understands English and find out that I have to go to their website and discontinue the service from there - they can't do it over the phone.

    It was only $7.99, but it ticks me off that after carefully explaining what I wanted I was told "OK, I'll take care of that for you" and then nothing was done. Chances are good that the person still didn't understand what I wanted and was just saying that to get rid of me.

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

  6. identicon
    AMetamorphosis, Mar 10th, 2004 @ 12:50pm

    Customer Serive Representatives


    They didn't understand you and thats exactly what the " customer service " representative was doing ... getting you off the phone as quickly as possible.

    I regularly have to transfer non-technically related calls to our " customer service " department which is located two states away. I have had so many angry callers state that they can not get an English speaking person that I have resorted to calling over myself. If I get someone who does not speak English, I immediately hang up and redial. Once I get someone who speaks English I transfer the call only after introducing the caller & making sure the " customer service rep " can actually assist the caller.

    It boils down to " customer service ".
    If the " customer service rep " doesn't speak the language of the customer, then they can not assist them properly.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2004 @ 6:30pm

    Re: Customer Serive Representatives

    Yeah, I have had plenty of customer service reps in the states who couldn't speak clear English - you know those damn immigrants who take away jobs from "real" Americans like those damn Indians.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2004 @ 9:28pm

    No Subject Given

    I am retired but continue to service computer hardware and software for customers in my immediate vicinity EXCEPT


    There are two reasons for this
    (1) I will not willing support either the companies who use foreign labor, and
    (2) It just takes too much of my time in the event that I have to use one of these call centers.

    In the event that I inadvertently run into one of these operations I simply inform the responding individual that I do not do business with people that flunk their accent reduction course. The same thing holds true for the occasional call center in California that hires Asians right off the boat.

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

  9. identicon
    A Foreigner, Jun 10th, 2005 @ 9:28am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I can understand how you people are unhappy with customer service representatives who cannot do their job properly because of their poor english langauge skills. But having read your comments I am surprised at how you can turn this into an anti-foreigner issue. The language which you use to describe these individuals is loaded with racism.
    The USA is a country of immigrants, yet I have noticed an increasing anti-foreigner attitude by US citizens over the last 10 to 15 years.

    Complain about the poor customer service not the foreign workers (of US companies!)

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

  10. identicon
    Joe Foreigner, Nov 3rd, 2005 @ 5:23am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I hate these god damn foreign call centers. they dont understand what you're saying half the time, and their accent and made up voice intonations are disgusting! How can customer service be handled by someone who doesnt live in the same country as you, speak the same language as you, use the same products as you, or have any idea about the situations that one faces here ?? Please help me find a website/group where i can lobby against the outsourcing of customer service. System maintaince, application development and similar activities I understand, but customer service should NOT be sent across! Do companies not care about their customers at all now? We are so unimportant that we can be brushed aside and dealt with by illiterate Indians who get paid cents per minute? We deserve better than this for spending our hard earned income. We should demand to be given the right to choose between speaking to a foreigner or speaking to an american.

    (by the way, I am a foreign born american too and english is not my first language, so this is NOT racist, it is about being treated right as American consumers!)

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2006 @ 3:15pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    you dont need to understand what your Nikes are saying!

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

  12. identicon
    Michael Garcia, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 3:59pm

    I lost my job to India

    I worked for a prominant Investment Bank in NY city and today I lost my fucking job to an Indian they made me train. They have brought in accountants from India to learn our daily work and the scoop is that I was the first few of what's to be pink slipped in 2008. My parents and grandparents are imigrants just like everyone else but we came here to produce for America not to steel from her. Quality is going down the drain along with our Harleys which will someday be made in a foreign country. I can say this because corporations run green not red. They have no heart and the fucking managers running them have no balls to stand up and say I won't hire another H1 visa without due diligence. They are supposed to screen and interview Americans before resorting to cheap labor. I have Indian friends and they are very nice people but please shut the fuck up! We have saved so many countries and take in so any imigrants and yet so many burn our flags and criticize us. It's way over due that we look out for ourselves and let everyone figure their own asses out. Staring today I will devote the rest of my life to this movement.

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

  13. identicon
    Tomdee74, Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 3:51pm

    I lost my job to india as well. I worked as a systems programmer and my job was outsourced to India. It is amazing that today in politics people commonly ask the question "how can we get our economy moving again", and nobody ever says "hey maybe we should bring some jobs back to america".

    it is very sad that America gives to other countries that don't give us anything back. I have been transformed from a person who used to care about tsunami's and terrorist activity in that part of the world and now... well I really don't give a shit! I actually get excited when there is "breaking news" in that part of the world and i hope for bad things. I just want my job back! I just want a job! stop telling me how great america is when that is only true if you are rich or poor. If you are in the middle, this country sucks!

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

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