The HotLine Magazine Archives
For The Profession of Cloud/SaaS Product Support
By Mikael Blaisdell

Outsourcing customer service and support operations to offshore contact centers is not a new thing; it’s been going on for years now. The lure is the illusion of short-term cost cutting from sharply lowered agent salaries. But by taking the bait, companies have risked dissatisfied customers, negative word of mouth advertising and threatened their long-term profitability,

I don’t recommend offshore contact centers for vocal interactions for a number of reasons — all of which adversely impact a company’s bottom line. Many Americans find the foreign accents of offshore call center representatives difficult to understand. That difficulty automatically prompts several immediate reactions in the mind of the customer, most of which are unconscious assumptions, none of which are beneficial. “They won’t understand me.” “They won’t know enough to help me.” “They don’t care.” For customers with prior experience of such calls, the instant goal becomes to get their call “escalated” back onshore to a “real” representative of the company, one who is perceived to have the power to resolve the problem at hand. Is it any surprise that there is a well-established groundswell of consumer discomfort in general with the “offshoring” of contact centers?

A New Approach

University Bldg 01 SMOpportunity is knocking. There’s a better way. By partnering with a university to set up outsourced customer contact centers on campus, student involvement adds to their real-world business experience while contributing to your strategic profitability goals. Their voices are what the customer wants to hear. In addition to the economic gains from a very reasonable wage scale (and there can be some nice tax advantages, too) companies will gain the opportunity to get to know some students over time that might turn into full time employees after graduation. As a further incentive, huge PR benefits are there to be seized by companies sponsoring such campus centers in the form of advertising their participation in a “Call American” campaign.

Students-02 SMI want to partner with forward-looking, profitability-driven companies who are interested in exploring the quality of service and profitability potential of On-Campus contact center facilities. The benefits are clear and persuasive. The higher education institutions, support technology manufacturers, and a large pool of competent students are ready. It’s time to make some history.

April 7, 2007