Failure to communicate: Customer service call centers are returning to the U.S.

Have you noticed, an increasing number of corporations are returning to U.S.-based call centers, staffed by customer service representatives who are more fluent in english, and comfortable with American societal norms and conflict resolution.

Why?  An increasing number of American customers say they have been having more trouble getting their problems solved satisfactorily when they're routed to call centers outside theU.S.

Ten years ago, it seemed to make a lot of sense to outsource call-center jobs overseas. But that's now changing. 

Just as costs for overseas workers is increasing, wages in theU.S. are falling and companies are rethinking the trade-offs associatedwith outsourcing. In some cases, workers in India are making only about 15 percent lessthan workers in some U.S. cities.

Driven by a thinning cost gap, consumer demand, and technological advances, corporations are hiringmore and more "home workers" --freelancers (and some full time employees) who can be trained, and take calls fromthe comfort of their own home. This has opened up a whole new workforcepool of American-based workers.

This all seems good for the American workforce, and for customer service.

NPR reports on a study by the CFI Group that shows American consumers expressing varying levels of satisfaction with call centers depending on whether the center is perceived to be overseas or in the U.S.,

— Customer satisfaction with calls perceived to be handled in the U.S. was more than one-fifth higher than with calls perceived to be handled outside the country.

— Callers said one of the biggest disparities between foreign and American call centers was the ease of understanding the customer service agent.

— Consumers report that fewer calls are now being handled by agents outside the U.S. Nine percent of consumers say that their calls were handled by an agent outside the U.S. in 2010, down from 11 percent in 2009.

There are an estimated 60,000 people doing call center work from home--a workforce that will continue to grow as companies look for quality that used to be harder to afford.

hat tip to BruceWW

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