Indian call centers – Bad for business?

People are always complaining about Indian call centers , the two biggest complaints that I have heard over the years are they take away U.S. Jobs and you can’t understand them on the phone.  I am going to cover both of these issues starting with they take away U.S. Jobs.   People complain because companies are outsourcing to India where they can hire a call center and pay $10 an hour for agents and not have to worry about employment tax, workman’s comp, unemployment insurance, benefits, over time, as well as all the logistical costs.

Many people complain that by outsourcing not just call centers, but engineers and programmers as well that jobs are being stolen from the American worker.  My response to that is bull%%$#!  First of all as a company my goal is to grow and to make money and if an opportunity comes along allowing me to save thousands of dollars than as a business it is my obligation to my shareholders or principles to consider it.  While I am truly sorry that some people are going to lose their jobs, a company cannot base its business decisions on this, business decisions need to be made on quantifiable elements not human emotion.   Plus there is always other information that the general public is not considering.  You ask what is there to consider other than a lot of people losing their jobs?  Well consider this, because of the call centers in India and their relatively inexpensive services compared to call centers in the U.S. smaller companies who normally could never afford the services of a call center now can.  Those services generate income, and that income helps grow businesses and growing businesses generate jobs.   The world is changing around us, and we now live, work and shop in a global marketplace.

The second issue being how people hate talking to someone in India who can barely speak English.  I have been irritated in the past by calling a U.S. company and the person on the phone was clearly from India, I was not irritated because of where they were but because I could not understand a word they said.  My company runs a call center network with over 400 call center members from all over the world, with a large majority of them being from India and I can tell you from personal experience that not every call center agent is difficult to understand, some of them speak English so clearly and so annunciated that they make my English sound bad.  It really comes down to how well the call centers are screening when hiring.  Many call centers will only hire agents that have had Accent Neutralization Training (ANT) while others hire agents then send them to training.  ANT institutes teach agents how to correctly pronounce words and how to pronounce them without an accent.

At the end of the day people need to face the fact that the days of build it, sell it, and buy it in America are gone.  Technology has brought the rest of the world into our backyard, and we need to learn how to play with the other kids on the playground.  Global business has been a blessing for a lot of businesses, most notably small companies who couldn’t compete in marketplaces that were cost prohibitive in the past.  Wake up the future has arrived.

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About Joe Melle

Joe Melle has founded and ran several successful businesses, and has had an interesting career in direct contact media, call center operations, sales operations, customer service operations, customer retention, and quality assurance; he has written over 140 business articles, previously served as a part time adjunct professor for a university teaching business, marketing, and management courses to both graduate and post graduate students.Email Me