I think you can make a case for outsourcing. When companies run promotions or introduce new products, they can’t always hire employees quickly enough to deal with the calls. So they use outside call centres to handle the overflow. That means less waiting time for you and me when we call for help.
The problem is lack of accountability. Call centre staff get a minimal amount of training, so they can answer common questions. But they often leave you hanging. They may be told NEVER to give out names or phone numbers of senior executives. So, it’s a closed loop.
If companies did more training of call centre staff and empowered them to escalate complaints, outsourcing might work out fine. Also, outsourcing results in cost savings that (we hope) are passed on to customers. That’s a good thing.
Some companies, such as Bell, try to save even more money by sending calls overseas. I’ve got nothing against Indian call centres, despite comments on this blog suggesting racism. It’s just that I hear constant complaints from readers about not understanding the accents. People also tell me about inappropriate advice — one senior was told to climb onto his roof in the winter to check his satellite connection — which doesn’t take into account the Canadian way of life.
So, here’s the question. If companies invest in better training, tools and technology, does it matter where they outsource the calls? Should you care whether the people you talk to live in Canada, the United States or overseas, as long as they’re smart, well-informed, polite, easily understood and willing to connect you to a supervisor if you need more help?