2013. Mr A has been trying – unsuccessfully – for the better part of half an hour to contact the customer service section of British Telecom. No matter how many times he dials the given numbers, he just cannot get through to a human voice. All his queries are answered by voice recordings and he is guided through a bewildering maze of numerical options. Finally, the line gets disconnected as he has exceeded the time limit assigned to automated customer care calls. Mr A, naturally, is furious, upset and extremely annoyed for what he rightfully believes has been a complete waste of his precious time interacting with a 'stupid
Now, here's the thing. Scenario 1 used to take place in far-off India and despite the geographical and time zone differences – yes, and the accents – Mr A (and thousands like him) were at least always speaking with a human being.
Scenario 2 is something that is typically taking place across the UK on a routine basis today, leading to frayed tempers and disgruntled customers.
The above is just an example of how outsourcing can help raise the service levels across industry verticals.
Five years ago, everyone was up in arms against outsourcing, blaming it for 'stealing jobs' and being openly critical about strong, hard-to-understand Indian accents. Wasn't talking to an Indian much better (and faster) than being at the mercy of a machine?
We need to, therefore, ask ourselves - is outsourcing really such a dirty word? A call centre in a foreign country works round the clock and its staff are always available to answer the most lame of queries or problems – all without losing either patience or the valuable customer.
This is how outsourcing improves the quality of a service – and in these cut-throat times, where the nearest rival is only a mouse click away, it makes sound business sense to harness whatever resources there are, to be one up on the competition. And, outsourcing provides that platform to do so.
On the face of it, it may look like outsourcing is bad for the economy but the truth is that, more often than not, outsourcing has improved the quality of service and living standards in western economies. Another example; web development has become so affordable and cheap now that literally anyone can have their own website. This has been possible only because of the low offshore costs of India, which is why 85 percent of the American software companies outsource their IT development work to this country.
Indian Call Centers were lambasted, but after speaking to a machine, you may end up wishing they came back!
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In Our Next Issue:
How To Overcome Common Problems in Software Outsourcing
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