Monday, May 17, 2004

Public Dislike Overseas Call Centers

According to a new research, only 5% of people are happy to have their bank account serviced by an overseas call center. About 87% of people said that they would not be happy about having to speak to someone abroad about their account, while some 9% said they had no preference.

People’s main concern about call centers being moved abroad, was the threat to British jobs, with 82% citing this as a worry, while 78% were worried about having problems communicating.

Older people were more concerned about the call center exodus than younger ones, with 89% of over 50s saying they would not be happy if their bank moved its call center out of the U.K., compared with 80% of those under 30.

Just over half of those surveyed were concerned about the security of their personal information if they called a foreign call center, and 47% thought they would get a lower quality of service.


Monday, May 10, 2004

Call Centers Investing in Home Working

More call centers are gradually realizing that the best place to handle customer contacts maybe at agents’ home. Call centers are increasingly developing and investing in home working either with their own employees or by hiring outsourcers that employ home workers or that recruit self employed home agents.

More companies are realizing the value of home working compared with traditional outsourcing. These self-employed home outsourcers generally have better skills than what brick and mortar call centers can typically attract within commuting distance. These are agents who are available when clients need them. In some instances, the lower costs and greater flexibility have allowed companies to provide better customer service.


Saturday, May 08, 2004

Indian Call Centers Pose A Challenge To UK Call Centers

A report published by Trade Secretary Patrica Hewitt revealed that call centers in Britain must improve their image. The reason being that the trend towards outsourcing jobs overseas could be accelerated, because countries such as India are overtaking Britain in IT skills.

The report predicts call center jobs nationally would increase by 25 percent over the next three years. But it follows a wave of concern that jobs are being lost overseas, where wages are much lower. The report states that the call center industry now stands at a critical point in its development.

The report further states that India is able to supply a large number of qualified graduates for complex IT help desk functions. In fact, in some areas their expertise may exceed that which would be available to a UK based call center.


Friday, May 07, 2004

Indian Cultural Identity Under Threat

The current BPO boom has left no stone unturned to make businesses more competitive. Apart from this, the influx of high paying jobs appeared to be a cherry on the cake. But the minus point that has accompanied this development is making our society pay an enormous price.

Starting with Indians acquiring American accents and studying their customs to work in call centers, they are now turning into Americans themselves. These call center and customer support workers have trained so hard to act American on the telephone, that they have essentially become Americans. The Indian Prime Minister laments, “ It is as if we suddenly had a huge influx of American immigrants”.

The Americanized call center workers have been demanding reduced schedules which are closer to the typical 40 hour American work week. These call center employees have also fuelled a sharp rise in fast food outlets and litigation. In fact, they are now Americans. Thus if this situation continues, India will very soon be on the verge of losing its cultural identity.


Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Difference of Training and Learning

Training and learning are not the same. Learning is what you do throughout your life and training is something you do to become proficient at a skill or at your job. The training, which is provided to agents in the call centers, reflects what the client wants these agents to do. If the goal is to ensure whether new hires can handle calls, then displaying the training manual on the Internet isn’t enough. Callcenter agents need the experience of working with people through role playing, coaching during live calls and receiving evaluations of recording of calls.

But training requirements in call centers haven’t fit neatly within certain prescribed categories. During a time when it seems that call centers are competing with each other to employ the lowest paid staff, the question is not what training agents need, infact, the question is why agents need training at all.

Besides helping callcenter agents understand how to do their jobs better, training tools are actually required to provide guidance to those who coach agents as well. Coaching has become an important complement to training, as it occurs while agents communicate with customers, rather than afterwards.