I just watched a very interesting show on Tech TV’s, Nerd Nation. The entire show was all about the huge push to move American customer support centers to India.
Apparently, this is a huge business in India. They have cram schools where they train to get jobs in the “call centers”. The estimate was that it is a billion dollar a year industry for India.
The show focused on the progress of one of the classes at a one of these training centers. Pretty much all of the students spoke English but the instructors constantly drilled them in speech patterns and on the consonants that are not a part of their native language. They even make them choose “American” names that they will use when they are working.
Along with the speech patterns, they worked on learning to use terms we would typically use versus their own. An example was the use of “first floor” when they normally use “ground floor”. They also drilled them in things like the geography of the U.S., including such things as the state capitals.
During the training, they work on their confidence, attitude and enthusiasm. They had to periodically get up in front of everyone and give impromptu speeches. During one such speech, a student was showing an obvious resentment towards the U.S. and the instructor was not pleased. Negative or resentful attitudes are not something they allow. The call center employees are expected to be as positive and enthusiastic as possible towards the nation and customers they are supporting.
Something they pointed out during the show was the fact that many of the students who attend the schools had college degrees. They have people who are highly educated and often have extensive job experience who are happy to have these jobs, yet in the U.S. people who have no more than a high school education feel that this kind of work is beneath them. (Those were their words not mine)
In the end, the school still does not guarantee them a job. The competition is high and they have to really stand out. The interviews involved multiple callbacks and they are tested in various ways. All this to sit shoulder to shoulder with a hundred other people and deal with angry and frustrated customers all day long.
Now I have various feelings about this move to ship jobs overseas. I understand the impact it has on people in America and on our economy. However, it does shine an interesting light on this whole thing.
For those of us who play EQ our customer support may actually improve. My impression was that because they are paid less the companies were able to put more people on the phones and provide faster service without being in a rush to get the customer off the phone. Also, the customer support rep is expected to have a positive attitude and to know what they are doing. I’m sure we’ve all had those CS experiences where you got someone who really had no idea what they were doing and just gave you a load of ‘tude the entire time. Providing SOE lets them do their jobs, the experience may improve for us, the customer.
Quote:For those of us who play EQ our customer support may actually improve.
As far as I'm concerned, and noticed, SOE never really had customer support anyways, why would they start now even if it was cheap labor? Adding cheap labor is still additional costs.
Quote:During the training, they work on their confidence, attitude and enthusiasm.
Heck, I would be enthusiastic too if I was going from making pennies a day to dollars a day. Someone who makes $20k a year in India is considered affluent.
I personally know someone who was at risk of losing his job to international outsourcing. India, a matter of fact. When his company was downsizing for the outsourcing process, one of the things he had to do was sit there on an international call all day long to his Indian counterpart and try to translate customer problems to him. (That or spend half his day taking calls from India, helping Indians trouble shoot problems they're experiencing from American callers.) He did this for several months. In the long run, unless they teach Indians how to fluently speak multiple languages, especially English, it's not really an effective money saving method. Think of it, you have an issue and you call customer support. The person who answers has an accent so thick you can barely understand him, much less have him help you. Add that to your frustration with the problem you're experiencing in the first place, and you're likely going to stop being that company's customer. Edited by: Nyssa Rainwhisper at: 4/14/04 11:55 am
Quote:Providing SOE lets them do their jobs, the experience may improve for us, the customer.
I seriously doubt it. Not ONCE have I had a positive CS encounter from any company that had their call center overseas in India. I have never experienced more attitude and condensation toward another human being as I have when dealing with India CS, both as a consumer and in my career as a programmer.
Wired magazine had an interesting article sort of along the same lines as your post, but it was mainly concerned with programming jobs being shipped to India. The prevalent attitude over there is basically, "You guys really suck at what you do. Why else would they be shipping jobs over here?"
I guess they fail realize the American companies pay about half of what they pay an American employee for sometimes triple the work time. Salyvan Ticklefingers
I've read a few articles that say some commercial banks have been really disappointed with the job done by Indian outsourcers working on their software. Apparently, a lot of these outsourcing companies are really good at selling their employees abilities, but not so good at actually delivering.
Okay heres what I understand from working in a call center and some things you need to realize about how they are able to work this out.
It is much cheaper to pay them to do the same job we do. I did it for six months it is not as easy as you think and you deal with a ton of jack ass's. The problem is in the fact that english isn't their native language. Nor is Spanish which call centers get a ton of calls from spanish speaking customers due to the growing amount of people who speak it in the us. I have taken calls in korean and in russian now both of these I did have a translator helping me out. Taking a call with a translator is a pain in the ass.
Another problem they are having is actually a growing suicide rate and depression rate in india with call center employees. DUring the busiest times of the day over here it's the middle of the night there. I hated working till 1 in the morning let alone pulling graveyard every night.
Now I am pretty sure dell is either moving its call centers back or is in the process of it. I also think quick books might be but I am not sure about that.
Don't look for large cell phone company's to be doing it or microsoft I would say. I know for sure verizon has goverment restrictions that keeps it's call centers from being anywhere but the U.S and I would assume that other large company's would have the same restrictions. American by birth.
Southerner by the grace of God.
Every time my mom or I call tech support for some company and its an Indian person, i swear to god, they tell us each time their in Kentucky, or Idaho, or something, but its obvious they are in India somewhere. Like they'll say "This is Comcast, my name is Julia, Louisville Kentucky, how may i help you?" something like that, but it gives you the impression its someone in the US when its really someone named Ashima and she's sitting in a call center in India. @#%$, i hate lying like that.
I may have given a false impression when I posted about this. I do not condone sending jobs offshore and leaving people here in America without a job. I do understand that a company needs to operate as efficiently as possible and unless someone offers an alternative, outsourcing to overseas markets can look very promising. I myself may not like it, but I’m not responsible for running a multi-million dollar company either.
I just thought it was interesting to see how much work and effort goes into setting up these call centers and training the potential employees. I understand completely how they are able to make this work. Obviously, an impoverished nation such as India will have plenty of people who will do our jobs for a fraction of what we do it for, and they will probably put more effort into it. Of course, greater effort does not mean a better result.
I was surprised to see that there has been other less flattering articles about the call centers. Until this, I would have said that I personally have never dealt with an offshore CS before and I thought it was a fairly new setup for companies. I didn’t realize Dell’s support was overseas, but after reading it in one of the replies, I see that I have called one.
Personally, of the number of calls I have made to Dell’s customer support I have never had a bad experience. They were always helpful and polite and my problem was resolved. <shrug>
On a side note, I’ve played EQ for about 4 years and whenever I’ve had to petition for help I’ve always been pleased with the outcome. The guides and GMs were always polite and in the end they were able to help with my problem, this included returning items that poofed during a trade. Usually when I see someone in game or on a forum talking about guides and GMs its making statement about how useless they are. I have never had to call SOE’s customer support so I can’t comment on it, however I do hear horror stories.
I think some people are never satisfied. From a CS side, no matter what you do for some folks it never makes them happy, they always want more. I am sure GM’s get some pretty unrealistic requests from players, and when they won’t fill the request they get slammed.
Quote:i swear to god, they tell us each time their in Kentucky, or Idaho, or something, but its obvious they are in India somewhere.
heheh.. you know what I do in situations like that?! Ask them what time it is there in Kentucky. You would be surprised how many of them claim to be in the states but then suddenly start stammering for a response.
Hanu, I understood that you weren't condoning the practice of sending jobs offshore.
Based upon the responses you've gotten to your post, I believe you may have tapped into a source of irritation for many people; especially those of us in the tech industry that have to deal with this @#$% every day. Not to mention having to worry about losing your job because of outsourcing.
I personally wish that every CEO (or whomever (gr?)) responsible for such decisions burns in hell for outsourcing desirable American jobs to countries overseas.
The movement of U.S. factory jobs and white-collar work to other countries is part of a positive transformation that will enrich the U.S. economy over time, even if it causes short-term pain and dislocation, the Bush administration said yesterday.
The embrace of foreign "outsourcing," an accelerating trend that has contributed to U.S. job losses in recent years and become an issue in the 2004 elections, is contained in the president's annual report to Congress on the health of the U.S. economy.
Quote:Another problem they are having is actually a growing suicide rate and depression rate in india with call center employees. DUring the busiest times of the day over here it's the middle of the night there
Are we sure this is because of the night time part of the job and not because of having to deal with customers all the time? Just sayin', working in customer service doesn't sound productive towards a happy life from my point of view.
I work for a company that leases one of those call centers in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). I can say with authority that our Indian CS employees rate just as well as (if not better than) their counterparts in the States, by every possible metric. Other companies have had similar success; otherwise, why would we be moving our business there? The most important thing in getting CS call volume from a provider (SoE, EarthLink, etc) is service level. It doesn't matter how cheap you can go if you can't give the provider their required level of service (measured by customer satisfaction, among other things). Bad experiences with CS are, if anything, -less- likely from Indian call centers.
The work culture is vastly different there. A bus goes around and picks everybody up for work, nobody EVER calls in sick, lunch is catered in, etc. Yes, they're coached on accent and mannerisms, and they're asked to choose a Western name because it makes Westerners more comfortable to talk to a Joe as opposed to an Abdullah (for reasons I'm sure you can guess). I don't know of any policy that requires them to say they're located in the US- that's probably something they do on their own, to complete the illusion. There aren't that many more nightshift employees there than there are here in the States. Most US-based teleservices companies currently use overseas call centers to pick up graveyard-shift (from our perspective) calls from Europe and Australia. It is, however, becoming cheaper to ask them to hire graveyard shift people to cover US primetime CS. In five years, most 1800 calls (of all varieties) will be going to India or the Phillipines.
They say that people are resentful.. yeah because the jobs here pay hardly enough to even live on, yet the wages over there let them live a good life. That's the issue. College degrees mean they're already from families MORE WEALTHY than their counterparts here trying to get those $8/hr jobs.
Quote:Yes, they're coached on accent and mannerisms, and they're asked to choose a Western name because it makes Westerners more comfortable to talk to a Joe as opposed to an Abdullah (for reasons I'm sure you can guess). I don't know of any policy that requires them to say they're located in the US- that's probably something they do on their own, to complete the illusion.
It’s interesting; they did mention a situation concerning a call center that serves Australia. It seems that some of the consumers didn’t like the fact that the CS rep pretended to be Australian, or at least as much as they were able. On the other hand, they also said that it bothered some of the CS reps that they had to try to go so far to “fool” the customer. They rather resented the implication that they couldn’t “be themselves” and that they wouldn’t be accepted as a competent and helpful individual because they were from India and not the country being served.
Yep, that sucks bigtime, but that's the way it has to be for them to do business. The sad fact is that most (unenlightened) Westerners are afraid of brown people due to the actions of a very small (and crazy) fundamentalist minority. Coaching them on accent is one thing, but requiring them to disguise their nationality is bunk. Necessary, but bunk.
8 dollars/hour in the US. Between 0.61 and 1.70 in India. The economic reason is overwhelming.
And it's not just CS functions either. Programming jobs are migrating too. Just wait till the US CEOs discovers Russian programmers.
This migration of jobs has happened before, the new thing is it's now happening to the newest area developed in the US. So where will the unemployed americans go?
Your guess is as good as mine. Will the standard of living plummet in the US? Will US employees get organised? will you toss out that twit you have for president atm?
Capitalism is rampaging through the US atm. Those who owns the capital in america are indeed getting wealthy from this. But how long will it even last for them when the customers in US have all gone bankrupt?
I don't know the answers to these questions, do you?
I'm no fan of Bush, but i have to ask, how can he fix the outsourcing of jobs (serious question)? I mean, what power does he have over CEO's of fortune 500 companies and the like in this regard, other then massive corporate tax breaks, giving them good oil contr......oh, i see. No but seriously, what can he do? I mean, didn't Greenspan say that outsourcing was good for the economy at one point?
Alan Greenspan is as rabid a fan of freetrade as Milton Friedman, the godfather of freetrade ideology.
The CEOs can outsource because of deregulations. However to preserve a standard of living at a higher level in one nation compared to another you need regulations.
Else the wealth of the richer nation will migrate through trade towards the poorer nation.
This in itself is a good way of growing the world economy. Where it can have negative effects is when a nation of 300 million people is exporting it's wealth to a nation of 1.3 billion.
Both India and China have 1.3 billion citizens each. If all wealth in america was distributed evenly between these three nations, america would have lowered it's standard of living by 90%.
Russia 120 million
Phillipines 85 million
India 1300 million
China 1300 million
Indonesia 300 million
3105 million people of which 1% is ready to take over jobs more or less here and now.
Can america afford to loose 31 million jobs? Can Bush?
Bush has promised nearly 3 million new jobs in america in this year, so far only 210000 have been created in Q1.
The economy seems to right itself and NYSE seems to have confidence too. But what good are higher share prices if you are out of a job and don't own any stocks? Foreclosures are up to btw. Repo business is growing.
Some 700000 jobs have been outsourced in the last couple years. That's real growth ain't it?
Some 2 million immigrants are coming to the US every year, seems the wage crunch wont stop. Bush wants americas population to grow. This will give the US more leverage compared to Chinas and Indias growing economies (and military strength) he reasons.
And somewhere in this turmoil, there is you. What will you do?
Ok, let me preface this by saying I work in a call center.
Here's what the vast majority of people do not understand about outsourcing work to other countries. First, more work is outsourced to the United States by companies based in other countries than is outsourced from here to other countries, even India. This, is good for the economy.
Second, if the government is to impose increased taxes on US companies who outsource to other countries, guess who loses? The United States economy overall. Kerry is suggesting imposing a tax so great on US companies who outsource to completely negate any benefit they would make from sending these jobs overseas.
Why is this bad you might ask? Well, here's the @#%$. You see, if US companies can't send their jobs to places for cheaper work because our government has tariffed the practice, they lose. Since companies based in other countries aren't controlled by our government, they just became much much more productive than the US based companies because they are still allowed to outsource.
Yes, it sucks to lose your job to someone paid less than you. If you really want to blame someone, blame the unions and teamsters for constantly demanding higher wages. You all need to understand that this is a global economy, not something that belongs to the United States. If we cripple our companies like this, we're in for a world of @#%$ hurt.
I don't have easy access to a computer where I'm at right now so I'll check this thread when I get home from work tomorrow.
Welcome to Economics 101.
EDIT: Just went back and re-read this thread. I have some corrections.
Item One: Dell no longer outsources to India. I worked for them when they pulled thier support back from there. Dell used to be number one and fell to dead last before they realized their mistake. Alot of companies are doing the same now. We lost our contract with Dell due to overseas outsourcing and I had to move to another project.
Item Two: In reference to the poster who said they 'they can just tell that person isn't in Kentucky, they're sitting in India'. Nothing used to piss me off more than handling supervisor calls from my indian immigrated agents sitting right in my call center here in the US because the customer wanted to bitch about us being an overseas call center. It happened all the time. Last I checked, I was still here in the US. Assume nothing. gnmish.gearbinder.ring.warden.sullon.zek
'Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest... Honestly.'Edited by: Gnmish Gearbinder at: 4/14/04 7:19 pm
I love the way the media, and posters here ignore the fact that in recent years, we gain more jobs via foreign countries outsourcing their jobs to the US than we lose by US companies outsourcing overseas.
FWIW, I've seen outsourcing attempted. Two different times, my IS department was running short staffed, and rather than hire and train new developers, they decided to outsource it to overseas compaines. (One in India, one in the Carribean somewhere).
In both cases, it was a complete and unmitigated disaster. Hundreds and hundreds of defects. Every time they fixed one thing, they broke 3 more. One of them took 28 code pushes through QA to get it right. (Normal for inhouse is 2 pushes through QA, a real disaster for us is 4 pushes of code) The CTO said that there is no way we will be doing any more of that in the forseable future.
Quote:I love the way the media, and posters here ignore the fact that in recent years, we gain more jobs via foreign countries outsourcing their jobs to the US than we lose by US companies outsourcing overseas
Who cares about global economics? Obviously not the rabid "ohz noz jobs are going away" What you fail to realise is that many Indian etrepeanuers (sp?) come here to start a business due to the lower regulation levels.
Outsourcing goes both ways, and unlike what CNN tells you, we benefit more from their outsourcing. Because our jobs outsourced to them produce 1bil (previously stated number) in GDP there. Their business owners however produce multiple billions in GDP here.
Their addition however does not go to the lower classes as ours does, which is why there are American complaints. The middle/upper classes aren't suffering and aren't going to complain, but the much smaller (though more covered) lower class will complain as they are the ones losing jobs.
EDIT: Sorry if this is incohierent, it was written after hours of studying/reading, will revise tomorrow if i reread and it is not at all understandable. Edited by: Mardoc the Dwarf at: 4/14/04 9:37 pm
What jobs do they bring here? I mean India, China etc...
If labor is cheap there - why would they give jobs to high paid americans? Any answers? I think it's BS - no jobs being brought here. At least there is no reason for India to do it. Edited by: Aidden at: 4/18/04 9:54 pm
Biral, if someone from Comcast tells you they are in Louisville, Ky (and that's not just a random made up example) feel free to call them liars outright. I live in Louisville and can say there are no such Comcast operations in Louisville. Comcast has no presence in the area at all.
I'm sure that this is the main problem when it comes to outsourcing programming jobs - the consultant that comes in to talk to you about what you need might not understand your exact needs because of even slight differences in language, and the finished product will not be what you thought you were going to get.
Even my British colleagues don't catch some of the nuances of my New York dialect, and we technically speak the same primary language... let alone the folks originally from Taiwan, India, and Russia that I have to deal with relatively regularly on database projects.
Sometimes they're trying to explain something to me, and I'm just not getting the jist of what they're saying - other times it's reversed. Eventually we work it out, but it takes a lot of time and patience to get onto the same wavelenth sometimes. (Back In Black)
Delissandra Splitshadow - Marauder of Clan X
Grandmaster Poisoner (250), Master Potter (195), Grandmaster Lush (200)
Why is it that the last piece I've needed from EVERY armor set, from Ravenscale on up to Stanos' Wicked is the PANTS?
I honestly am beginning to think it's a conspiracy founded by Glip!
Wednesday night I was watching a program about out sourcing jobs to India, apparently a call center worker in Bangalore can earns more than double an Indian teachers wage, and amazingly they even earn more than the average doctor in india.
No wonder theyre calling these people the new yuppie elite of India, theyve got cash to throw around.
This outsourcing of jobs to is one of the reasons for the massive trade deficit in america, and it contributes to the american dollar being so low against the euro and pound at the moment..
On the topic of not understanding. We have a guy here who's native chinese. WE had him calling all the offices to get the serial numbers and version numbers of the software.
I only heard one side of the conversation but it typically contained clips as followed. Mind you all of this is in heavy chinese accent.
"Can you give me your serious number?"
"It is on the behind of you compotur"
Then he gets to the software: (This one always got me)
"What is your virgin number?"
"Your Virgin Number!"
And sometimes he would throw in the following:
"Do you not understand english?"
He's a nice guy and all but it was just a riot hearing him try to talk to people on the phone. I stepped over and told him a better way to describe some things to people in english they would understand better than "Is there a tattoo on the front of the cd?" (Changed to : "Is there a logo on the face of the cd tray" for example)
Apperently quite a few of our offices just hung up on him. And we took him off of helpdesk callcenter because of that as well. People would call in, hear his voice, hang-up, and call back to try and get someone else.
Kind of have to feel bad for him sometimes but its just funny.
I guess U can't answer straight question. It's easy just to redirect: go read up. Other countries - euaropean first of all - may be creating jobs here. But we are talking India and China and Philippines here. What kind of jobs can they bring here? Any examples? Besides crappy restaurants where if U go in the kitchen U can throw up just looking at it.
How it can possibly make sense to hire people here and pay them big bucks if same work can be done in their own countries for fraction of the cost. Edited by: Aidden at: 4/18/04 9:54 pm
Considering Heinz has 57 factories in other countries, what makes you think Mr. Ketchup will do a damn thing? He can't keep his own family business in line, let alone others. If he cared one bit about US jobs, he would have taken care of this long ago.
mikkyc, India, China and the Phillipines contract with all sorts of US companies.
Some examples of chinese outsourcing, not exclusive to the US:
edit: A single google search found:
Parts for Nuclear power plants.
1.4 Billion in contracts for Lucent and Motorola
Bombardier and SNC-Lavalin combine for $1.5 bn in contracts.
Sun gets a $50-100MM contract with China Standard Software.
$6 million contract for ABB
$900 million contract for GE Power Systems
Harris wins a $2.7 million contract.
Nope, no business worth doing for china. Nothing to see here, move along! Edited by: Ciba at: 4/15/04 12:20 pm
Vendrengha, if you had read the post I replied to, you would know the question "what type of jobs can they create here" was asked. If you bring money into an economy there will be *some* jobs to go along with it... end of story.
In your mind, how does "outsourcing" differ from "regular trade in commodities or services" from a moral standpoint? I thought outsourcing was just subcontracting work to outside companies? Aren't the Indians we contract with just providing us a regular service?
If you want to attack outsourcing, go after it across the board, not based on which country it goes to. Do you find payroll vendors like ADP, Ceridean, Paychex to be evil? They put bookeepers out of jobs when businesses outsource payroll to them. Do you think companies that contract tech support from IBM to be evil? It displaces their in-house support.
edit: Remember that loyalty is a two-way street. With all the stupid strikes I've seen recently, I don't blame companies for outsourcing. Finding a new vendor is easier than finding a new workforce. Edited by: Ciba at: 4/15/04 1:35 pm
Fair enough. It's an issue being painted as good vs. evil in the political races here in the US. I think the US labor market has been spoiled for so long, that people here don't understand competition.
Outsourcing has been going on for years here. People are just now getting upset because IT jobs were thought to be a magic bullet for an easy career. Edited by: Ciba at: 4/15/04 1:48 pm
If U talking about outsourcing IT and some of U consider it being good - tell me why dont' we bring some foreign doctors here? They would charge 1/10 of what our doctors charge. So, it looks like some things are regulated. So why not regulate outsourcing as well. Medical business is huge part of economy and yet it's not outsourced Anybody has a clue why?
Oh... and dont' bring here this crap about foreign doctors being less knowlegeble. As far as I know - most doctors here can not even diagnose without using high tech equipment, not even flu. Edited by: Aidden at: 4/18/04 9:54 pm
Bad example.. Medical costs are expensive here due to Malpractice insurance.. it doesnt matter where you are from.. If you practice in the US, you are going to pay huge premiums to protect your ass form lawsuits.. You will pass that on to the patients.
Now if you want to go to Mexico to have your spleen removed, go for it.. Im sure they will be happy to throw in the bacterial infection for free..
And you can rest assured the low cost for your operations means that doctor sleeps well at night knowing that he has nothing to worry about on the legal front.
You can't outsource hands on jobs like doctors, face to face customer service, hotel industry jobs, any form of cleaning or trash removal, police/fire departments. Can't outsource politicians, on-site security, wal-mart workers, and corner hotdog vendors.
The doctor post really had no place in the argument, in my opinion. An individual can choose to go to another country for medical services, but I don't think you will see anything like that on a large scale. When I think of outsourcing I think of something where you can produce a product overseas and ship it here, or perform the service from a very long distance away without the customer having to travel that distance. i.e. programming, production, phone/internet customer service, shoes, kathy lee gifford clothing lines