Paul Stockford has written a thoughtful article in Contact Center Pipeline on proposed federal legislation that would require identification of U.S. call center services companies that open offshore call centers. The bill would bar them from receiving federal grants or guaranteed loans and force them to reveal details on the physical location of their customer service outsourcing agents.
Stockford, an industry analyst at Saddletree Research, is ambivalent about the bill – while also noting that it has little chance of passing (several other proposed bills directed at the call center services industry over the past few years were not enacted).
He is supportive of the bill’s aim, to create more call center services jobs in the U.S. But he – and I – are naturally wary of Congressional mandates on the decision making of private businesses. I also have to wonder if Congress has bigger problems to deal with than the call center business.
But beyond that, the larger point is that the “hidden hand” of the market for outsourced call center services is already doing a good job of sorting out the offshoring issue. Industry-wide, the pendulum has definitely swung toward domestic outsourcers.
The reason: quality of customer service. Call center services are mostly delivered over the phone, so if the agent delivering B2B lead generation or inbound call center customer service speaks poor English, quality drops off.
It’s only natural: who but an American can best express an American brand?
Take one of our long-standing clients, the Southwest Indian Foundation. We provide order taking service for SWIF, which sells clothing, jewelry and accessories made by Native Americans living near the Four Corner area of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Many SWIF customers support Native American causes, and they enjoy talking about those issues with our customer service specialists. They discuss visits have made to Native American reservations, and the customs and history of the various southwest Indian tribes.
This is a topic that most non-Americans have little awareness of or ability to discuss knowledgably. Advantage: OnBrand24 domestic call center services.
But the ability to speak American English isn’t the only language issue. There’s also Spanish language skills, which we provide and which most Asian call centers cannot.
Sure, going offshore saves money. But the cost in customer satisfaction is something you can’t get around. Recognizing the advantages of high-quality customer interactions based on American English speaking skills isn’t something that needs to be legislated.
Mark Fichera, CEO