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Dell to Stop Using Indian Call Center

I wonder if this will be the start of a reverse in the offshoring trend...

"Some U.S. customers have complained that the Indian technical-support representatives are difficult to communicate with because of thick accents and scripted responses."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103955,00.html

Interaction Architect
Monday, November 24, 2003

I understand that the accent may change with a domestic call centre, but the scripted answers...

uncronopio
Monday, November 24, 2003

Customer: [long explanation of a frustrating problem here]

Support: "I can understand why you're angry", in a 'crystal clear' Southern US accent, "but we can't do anything about it."

uncronopio
Monday, November 24, 2003

I want to build an automated system for handling these scripted calls.

It would take me about ten minutes to make.

*Beep*
Welcome to the Autotron answering system, where your answers, are our business.  How may we help you today ?

*insert silence*

We're sorry, but we are not equipped to help you with such a technical problem.  It is obviously a problem with the (insert random shaftware name here) problem.  Please call Microsoft.

AT
Monday, November 24, 2003

Even the typos would bring a sense of realism to the entire experience.

AT
Monday, November 24, 2003

Apparently, according to a daily newspaper here in India, Dell just signed a 5 year contract with a leading local contact center.

Incorrect password
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I certainly hope this means I can soon find another lucrative, meaningful call-center job!

_
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I agree, when I call someone at my bank and have to speak in very explicit and simple statements it bothers me to no end. I'm so used to more subtle customer service calls.

As far as the end of off shoring, Dell is doing this because they're afraid of losing customers. What does this have to do with offshoring in general, or with sending local people to India and paying them 1/4 wages?

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Mark,

Very little, from what I can tell, unless it was an underlying motivation.  I don't think this qualifies as stand against the idea of outsourcing to foreign organizations, unfortunately.
It does show that people are starting to notice the lack of quality.  It is only a matter of time before the quality improves, though.

Banks are horrible.  If I hear one more conflicting explanation of why I have an overdraft of .13 on one of my business accounts, that has THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in it, I am going to go down there and redesign their entire system with some sort of godforsaken UI scheme, perhaps involving a new bowling ball size data entry device that will have to be placed inside their bodies to operate.  In order to process overdrafts they will have to 'manually enter' the results into this device.  Then maybe they will take it a little more seriously. 

They seem to suffer from already bad UI, combined with conflicting branch policies, and a staff full of non-technical workers who couldn't tell you one thing about how something is really processed.  Probably legacy systems that no one there understands. 

I doubt we will see a significant turn around in the outsourcing of technical work any time soon, although we will hopefully see a leveling off of interest in increasing the amount of work that is moving over seas. 

Then again, their wages are rising over there, and it is only a matter of time before the cost/savings ratio begins working in our favor again.  Then companies will have to start exporting tech work to china. 

AT
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I disagree AT. Corporate managements have been able to get away with this - among many - methods of boosting their bonuses on the assumption that quality isn't affected by offshoring.

The reality is that quality is significantly affected when subtle communication and cultural cues are missing. This is not a complaint against offshore workers. Many are very good.

But a lot of them miss subtle communication cues. I had a longstanding problem - with Dell - and carefully explained it to the technician, who then responded with the first part of his script as if I hadn't said anything. Totally inappropriate. There will be more of this, and more vigorous reaction from consumers.

analyst
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I remember discussing issues with the completely clueless, but very local (Australian workers, mate), staff of my bank, telephone company and postal office. Apart from waiting almost one hour in a phone queue I never got a decent answer. It is hard to imagine that service could be any worse in case of offshoring.

uncronopio
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Well, there is always hope.  Personally, I expect outsourcing organizations to get better at picking up the cues.  Their existence is at stake.  They certainly have more than enough time before the business bureaucracies start moving stuff back here.

AT
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Actually, I worked for an extremely large financial, and the problems you're talking about are acknowledged, and they were working hard on solving them.

In general, banks are slow to change, and have lots of legacy systems, and lots of mis-matched systems due to mergers and acqusitions over the years. Some of these systems are embarrasing in today's day and age... and I'm not just talking about computers, there are some paper processes that still go on.

And they know that when you expose yourself to the Internet, you expose your internal processes to the outside world. They also know that because of the different reporting systems, your banker, the website, and your statement may have different numbers on any given day. So they're investing millions if not billions as an industry to bring everything into one common system.

That doesn't prevent them from hiring Indian developers. Once they've identified the problem and a solution, it's just a matter of implementing the solution and any trained dog can do that. (not my opinion, but a common corporate opinion, I think we'd all agree)

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

FYI, about 54 per cent of Dell's 44,300 employees are overseas.

More @ http://in.rediff.com/money/2003/nov/25dell.htm

kc
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

This is even more interesting:

"Dell is among dozens of high tech companies, which have set up technical support in India, China and other countries to cut down costs because of cheaper labour. But workers and several politicians have opposed the move. This could become an issue in the election year."

and:

"The announcement of Dell's decision comes within days of the Indiana Governor Joe Kernan canceling a $15.2 million contract between a State agency and Tata America"

What does the Russian lesbain singing duo Tatu have to do with Dell?

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Tatu? Where does it say that? It says Tata - which is one of the largest group of comapnies in India and also a leading IT company (www.tcs.com). Tata America is its US subsidary.

kc
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I dunno, tatu, taty, tata... isn't ta ta a euphamism for breasts? it was a joke.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Ta Ta, is also slang for goodbye.

So Goodbye America Inc.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

uncroponio, I've found local Australian staff to be very good at providing assistance.

For you to say that you don't see how offshoring could be worse is just foolish. This is especially so given that we're talking about Dell technical support. Do you really think the ability to understand unspoken verbal cues is not important in such a context?

echidna
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Can I say Birdie Num Num at this point? I can? Oh good.


Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Clarification:
      CORPORATE call support is moving back to the US
the rest of us will still receive the same top notch customer service we have come to expect from ships sitting in the harbor...

AnOn
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I have often wondered how companies hire for technical phone support.  Doesn't it seem that if one had the skills to do good phone support for desktop PCs that he could get a much better job than phone technical support?

As for the "I understand why you are angry" script, I have gotten these responses from phone support and customer service obviously done right here in America.  I can usually tell from the voice on the other end if my complaint will be handled or not.  My theory is this:  The people who tend to actually handle the complaints are people working temporarily in support on their way to something else- like part timers working there way through college.  Anyone who has to make a career of it probably won't do any good until he has years and years of experience (and maybe not even then)

Name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Dell could have turned this to a win-win situation by setting up accent reduction courses. Pretty cool huh?

Cold somewhere in time
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

"uncroponio, I've found local Australian staff to be very good at providing assistance.

For you to say that you don't see how offshoring could be worse is just foolish. This is especially so given that we're talking about Dell technical support. Do you really think the ability to understand unspoken verbal cues is not important in such a context? "

Well, I could say that people having problems understanding Indian accent are just culturally insensitive too. I've found Australian staff providing customer service for Commonwealth bank, Optus and the Post Office terminally incompetent. Try to have a discussion taking them beyond the scripts for five year old kids. Unspoken verbal cues? They can not even understand direct clearly specified questions, and you are worrying about unspoken cues... By the way, it is uncronopio.

uncronopio
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

It probably depends on whether you show respect towards people you deal with, uncronopio. You seem like an arrogant and shallow person, from several of your other posts.

echidna
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

And you seem like...eeer, nothing.

uncronopio
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

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