Digital Rebel

Home shoring.

Did you recently call a toll free number only to have someone from a different continent try and service you? I remember coming back from Maui a few years ago only to arrive in Vancouver to find out some of my luggage didn’t. I believe when I called the toll free number the conversation went like this,

Bosco: “Hello, my luggage didn’t arrive in Vancouver”
Customer Service: “We apologize for this, Sir!”
Bosco: “Well, can you tell me where my luggage is”
Customer Service: “Sorry, sir can you call tomorrow morning and ask to speak to our help desk”
Bosco: “I thought I did reach the help desk, aren’t you the customer service call centre, Where are you located”
Customer Service: “Well we are here to take messages and work the night shift. We are located in India.”
Bosco: What???

Note: It only took 2 days to track my luggage in Denver, and another 3 days to get back to me.

Yes, in case you were under a rock for the last 10 years, a ton of companies were moving offshore. Offshoring had become a common poster child for the recession. I am willing to make a bet that you know at least one person that had their job outsourced for a cheaper wage. While this so called cost effective tactic seem to be a trend for major contact centres, the same cannot be said about the quality of service.

In fact after outsource hubs like the Philippines, India and Mexico have been highly saturated we are starting to see companies move to home shoring and bringing back their contact centres back to North America. Trends are showing that more and more companies are shutting down operations overseas and returning home. Home shoring is defined as having your salesforce work from remote locations such as their residence to eliminate brick and mortar building expenditures. In fact more and more companies are starting to allow employees to work from home hence cutting the costs of having outrageous building costs.

The reason why home shoring has become quite popular is because of the following causes

  1. Political unrest in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and violence in Mexico. These were formerly call centre outsource hubs and companies were scrambling to find a back up solution when Egypt had days where the internet was blocked in the entire country. Businesses cannot afford to take such risks.
  2. It is more expensive to lose a customer. The quality of customer satisfaction showed that more customers couldn’t relate to foreign agents and in turn showed loyalty to local service centres. Statistics showed the cost to lose an existing customer was very high.
  3. High taxation and tougher laws for companies that outsourced internationally from the government.
  4. Proper Recruiting became difficult when the employment market was saturated and talent pool was cherry picked.
  5. The training cycle was a longer process and clients couldn’t relate to foreign agents.
  6. The novelty of outsourcing wore off when there was major security breaches. International laws didn’t protect companies that had consumer data get comprimised. Some banking institutions were victims of such crimes.
  7. It was hard to retain good workers on an international scale.
With the power of social media, companies were receiving major backlash for outsourcing. In fact many were targeted when customers were told to insist on speaking to someone from their country. There were even pointers on how to test contact centre agents to really see if they were local.
What were your experiences dealing with outsource centres? Enjoy the clip below on a call centre parody!

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