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Friday, March 03, 2006

Outsourcing to India

I have mixed feelings about outsourcing to India… I have been in the tech industry for over 8 years. About half that time I’ve spent doing helpdesk support of one kind or another. As anyone knows that has ever spoken with tech support about their Dell / HP / Compaq computer knows, most of the support for this has been outsourced to India long ago…

Although I don’t like it, I completely understand the business stand-point for this. It’s the bottom line… Saving money. Unfortunately you end up losing a good amount of quality in the process. Plus, the unfortunate bi-product of this is that someone that may be difficult to understand is trying to explain a subject that is difficult enough to understand without trying to decipher what the person is trying to tell you.

It’s just easier to understand someone that can explain the answers in easy to understand methods. I can talk techie with one person that understands this stuff and then simplify everything down to analogies of running water and farm equipment. Being able to do this is critical to the support process if you want to have a quality call center.

This is where the companies are falling down on their ratings is with their support. I used to rave about Dell and their support structure before the use of outsourced support. It was their support model that made them pass all the other companies. When they outsourced their support when in the toilet. Which reflected on their sales. They have since moved support back to home and have climbed back up from the gutters in relation to support…

You can pretty much train a monkey to answer a phone. Getting it to read a script takes a little more training, but you can’t give them the knowledge it takes to be a good tech support analyst. I’m not trying to put down the people of India. I am sure there are well trained analysts there as well, but, it’s hard to relate to someone from a different country and simplify troubleshooting. That’s the inherent problem with it.

Of course the other issue I have with it is that it takes jobs away from people here in the U.S. This is an obvious point. This morning I heard on NPR where they were saying that companies should look at competition with Indian companies as an opportunity. But what about the workers? Companies can save money by outsourcing. Great! How does that help Joe Tech who has a family to feed. Sorry Joe, we have to let you go…

I grew up in Michigan with a very Automotive driven economy. In the late 70’s and into the 80’s it wasn’t uncommon to see bumper stickers that read “Buy American” because of the competition from Asian automotive companies. I can see the correlation in reference to call centers now as well. I personally won’t boycott any products or go radical, but it would be nice for the news media to hit from the angle of those that will actually be affected.

To lighten the mood, here are some funny cartoons that have been circulating around the office. These are not Child friendly in language, so make sure you watch them away from the kids… They are also not Politically Correct either. For this I apologize for anyone that is offended by them…

3 Comments:

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Clifford said...

I contacted the Smell computer company after my horrendous hard drive crash. I wanted to buy a replacement CD, with the OS, etc. The Indian tech support guy said he couldn't help me because my warranty expired. I said that I understood that but I wanted to buy a CD. He repeated he couldn't help me because my warranty had expired. I asked him if he understood that he was turning down my money. He said that didn't matter because my warranty expired.

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger DarkSideofDell said...

Here's another view on Dell outsourcing to India:

Dark Side of Dell

 
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