Outsourcing: Is It Right or Wrong?

United States
April 27, 2007 3:23pm CST
I don't know about you, but every time I want to get help with the computer or other devices, I place a call to a 1-800#. On the other end a foreign sounding voice answers. I know this person has no idea about where I'm at. He has his job because millions of jobs have been "outsourced" from the US to other countries. I'm getting very frustered as I talk to him, because he can't seem to understand the point I am trying to make, and I can't understand what he is trying to tell me. Why did they outsource these jobs? Why not give them to Americans? We have unemployment rates in this country that are astounding, why are companies giving away our jobs? Anyone shed some light on the subject or just share what you feel about this? What can we do about it?
23 people like this
55 responses
• United States
27 Apr 07
It makes me sad and angry. Every time I have trouble with my computer, my internet, and now even my cell phone, I get someone who is 3000 miles away and just can't help. It's not even so much the fact that they're from a foreign nation, but there's just this inability to even identify with the problem at hand. On the other hand, outsourcing leads to many americans losing their jobs because it is cheaper for "the company" to set up shop in another country. I think a lot of it has to do with our messed-up tax system. I've read all I can on the FairTax, and man, it just seems the way to go. Maybe it's naive to think, but we've got to make changes to bring american jobs back to american shores. -Duck and Cover
• United States
27 Apr 07
Yes we do. It's time to target our government officials, elected officials, and with the election approaching our canidates and garner all the support we can to bring American jobs back to American. Thanks for the reply.
3 people like this
• Singapore
27 Apr 07
It's not a right or wrong question here. Rather, it's a profit or loss thing. If outsourcing makes things more profitable, why not? The fundamental motivation of any company is to make money. :P
2 people like this
• United States
2 May 07
I absolutely agree with your sentiment and will rate it as a +. Having said that, however, consumers have a right not to purchase the products and services of any company that does not do business in it's county of origin. So, what it comes down to Dreamweaver is, why do consumers continue to support a business that does not support it's people, the very people that are buying and using it's products and services the most?! Unlike business, I understand both sides of the issue....perhaps some things will change once more people begin to figure out what is happening.... In the meantime, Dreamweaver, you can expect more jobs to go abroad....
• Singapore
2 May 07
Consumers are becoming more discerning. I do not totally agree with the "my people", "your people" concept though. We are all humans living on the same mothership.
@ElicBxn (61143)
• United States
27 Apr 07
Because its cheaper. They can hire 2, sometimes 3 people in another country to do the job of 1 here, not just the PAY, but benifits as well. Where my roomie works they have one lot outsourced to India where people complained about the service so much that most of the phones were taken away from them, now they are making a mess of what they are given. The rest of the phones are in Niagra Canada, & the roomie's developed a very low oppion of Canandians because of most of these people on the phones there. She blames it on brain freeze because it gets so cold in the winter. I think its because they don't let the bad ones go & so the problems that a few are making make the rest of them look bad. Now, my Canadian friends, I'm just repeating what my roomie says - I am defending the majority of Canadians saying the mistakes of a few shouldn't reflect on the rest of the population.
2 people like this
• United States
27 Apr 07
To both of you, thank you very much. I think I got a little lost in that translation though, lol. I really didn't realize that Canada and other countries were being affected as we are here in the US. Thank you both for opening my eyes.
2 people like this
@ElicBxn (61143)
• United States
28 Apr 07
Like I said, its only the same handful of people that are making 90% of the mistakes. The problem is that the company running this group (a hired firm that answers phones) aren't making them clean up their act, move them to a different service or fire them. I blame that on some of the protections that the company (maybe mandated by the country but I don't know for sure) has for employees. I do know that if a company had the same people making the same mistakes over & over here in Texas, they would be let go.
1 person likes this
• Canada
27 Apr 07
I`m not sure but I would have to say they do this because it is alot cheaper in those countries then it is here ... I`m guessing at this so don`t quote me on it LOL LOL LOL
28 Apr 07
I watched a special on TLC the other night on Outsources. The reason we hire people from India is because of their good communication skills. Even though at times we can hardly understand them, they still give us clear and understanding information. The reason their communication skills are much more advanced than ours is because of their much bigger population.
• India
27 Jun 08
Being an Indian, I am on the other end of the spectrum. I can understand your frustration. You really feel like banging your head against the wall when you want urgent help and the person on the phone does not even follow your speech mechanisms correctly. BUT let me tell you, that the Indians who work at all the BPOs mushrooming in our cities, aren’t exactly having a jolly good ride either. Most of them hate their jobs and its only the phenomenal pay and other perks that keep them in their jobs. For one there are the ungodly working hours. When its night here, its broad daylight in the USA and night after night of staying away from family without any proper rest, make these people irritated and sick. Secondly is the speech mechanism. No matter how much they are trained to speak and follow the American way of talking, it is true that different countries have different accents and that remains life-long. And as you say, the Americans too understand that they are dealing with a foreign voice and the frustration along with the anger at jobs being outsourced, make most of them abusive towards these hapless BPO workers. Most workers complain of having been verbally attacked and abused and it does affect them psychologically. No wonder, attrition is among highest in this sector. Its really a very sad situation and until and unless Governments and corporates sit together to work out something better, the common citizens of all the countries involved, suffer needlessly.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jun 08
It's alway good to hear from someone on the other side of the fence. I can understand how the job would prove bothersome to those on your end. I know that we have racists and bigots of all shapes in sizes in America who love to throw vulgar slurs over the phone. I simply think that it would do everyone some good to keep the jobs over here in America for the simple fact that we need them. Our economy is crumbling and outsourcing is one of the negative roots of our demise.
• India
30 Jun 08
Thnks for understanding
@Doomsayer (115)
• United States
28 Apr 07
I don't believe that outsourcing is wrong, as long as the foreigners are trained competently. I've had encounters with foreign tech staffers who are rather deft with computers, and solved my problem in good time. Conversely, I've also found staffers who couldn't tell the ethernet from their elbow. However, I'm definitely going to debate you on the "astounding" unemployment rates of the US. I'm telling you that that's a lie. US unemployment rate: 4.4% Britain: 5.5% Mexico: Technically, 2.5%. However, almost no worker has work more than two days a week. Nobody has a steady income. Scotland: 5.1% Saudi Arabia: 13% among Saudi males only (local bank estimate; some estimates range as high as 25%) China: 9% Japan: 4.2% Canada: 6.4% As you can clearly see, the US is second in percentage of employed people only to Japan, a highly industrialized nation.
• United States
28 Apr 07
having hAD EXPERIENCES WITH THEN THESE FOLKS ARE DEFINATLY NOT PROFICIENT IN ENGLISH
• United States
29 Apr 07
Care to elaborate? Honestly, I don't know what you're talking about. Your posts are not coherent at all, that's not even an actual sentence. By the way, if you think that you can slap the "doesn't speak English" label on any foreign tech support staffer, then I'm surprised that you can blink and breathe at the same time. I've had experiences like yours. I've also had polite, well-trained workers who solved my problem better than other call centers in the States. So, my conclusion is that you are (a) dumb, (b) narrow-minded, (c) illiterate, (d) too lazy to read my post, or (e) all of the above
@meme0907 (3481)
• United States
13 Jul 08
Hey CDW, I am so with you on this one b/c I am a wah csr & the company I work for has begun to outsource to foriegn countries & all they do is cause us problems-they funk up stuff or give misinformation to the customers then I get chewed out b/c of it & have to clean up their messes. I wish we could start a petition or something like that to abolish this practice b/c there are plenty of wah agents willing to do the job & satisfy the customer b/c every customers complaints to me are exactly what you stated in your discussion. +'s
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jul 08
Amen. Thanks for the "personal" response. I appreciate it and agree.
1 person likes this
@dbeast (1498)
• India
27 Apr 07
ok here goes.the reason that the jobs are being outsourced to other countries is because of the cheap labor and this profits the companies or is it simply because they are better.ok now lets get to the center of the topic.since we are generalizing things here that's what i am going to do too.i work for a tech support for norton programs and the customers i support are from the US.and according to me not many of the people are so bright either.maybe at times the only barrier is the language.apart from that there is no negative traits in the support tech.maybe if people try to listen to what the technicians are saying instead of acting like they know everything and not blowing their top because their computer is not working would really help a lot in resolving the issue.i ll give you examples of how dumb people can be and they expect us never to get frustrated and they can abuse us using racist and foul language and expect us to be with a smiling face.hell no.i dont think so.when i ask a customer to restart the computer,do you know what she does?she turns off the monitor off and says that she has restarted it.a customer cannot find the start button on the left hand bottom corner of the screen.a lot of customers buy programs without the knowledge of what is the purpose of the program or sometimes even dont know what they have purchased.now isnt this ignorant?i hate generalizing because there a lot of customers who are really smart and it would not be right for me to generalize and i dont think it was right on your part too.there are definitely people who are really definitely good and can really help similair or even better than the people in US.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
7 Aug 07
hi dbeast! I am from the Philippines and I worked for 5 different call centers already for the past 7 years as a technical support representative, customer service agent and chat support. I could say that it's not our fault that American companies outsource jobs to other countries. From what I understand from our clients, it's a way for them to gain profit and also to minimize cost in computers, etc. I am also thankful that they gave us opportunities for career growth. On the other hand, I understand the sentiments of some Americans regarding the employment status in the US. So, I don't blame them for expressing their frustrations about outsourcing. I also want to make it clear that customer service representatives/tech support are doing the best they can to give the BEST service to customers. But there are other people that are hesitant to listen/racist. It is also a factor why the problem will not be resolved. In the Philippines, call center companies here hire college graduates that has strong command of the English language. We considered English as our second language since it was thought in kindergarten. Since it's not our main language, clients don't expect us to be fluent nor to have accent. This is one of the things our customers complain to us. I graduated Civil Engineering but I worked as a technical support. Majority of us have cellphones. So, it's a lot easier for us to troubleshoot phones. And we know what we are doing. Aside from the fact that we have technical background about phones, we are also trained further about it. But there are some situations that we can't handle and not in our scope of support, so we need to refer the problem to level 2 technical support and that's located in the US. Customers also need to understand that even if we tried to do everything to help them, there are some things that we just can't handle and we need to seek assistance. Sometimes, I grew tired of the job. it's not because I have complaints about the salary or the benefits but because I can't tolerate the foul languages that some customers say to us. I also want to say that there are also US based companies that sells defectives phones. We knew about it but we can't give that information because we are monitored in every call. It is also nature for most Filipinos to have empathy with our customers. We listen to their frustrations and we understand them. In my case, I even give extra units for their phones without my supervisor's approval. Let's try to consider 2 different sides of the situation and not focus only in one. :) HAVE A NICE DAY TO ALL OF YOU
@loujac3 (1188)
• United States
29 Jun 08
Hello again! It saves the big business owners money to outsource the jobs. It is cheaper labor in foreign countries. It is difficult to understand some of the people that we get connected to. I find it very frustrating when all I want is a quick solution or answer to my problem or question. I sure would like to see those jobs given to the American people.
1 person likes this
@winky73 (1396)
• United States
27 Apr 07
That's a good question...but I most certainly don't know what we could do about it.Maybe next time any of us call a place like that we could ask for someone that speaks English........hopefuly they would get the point eventually. I had to make a call like that just today and I had to ask her to repeat herself several times....simply because I could not understand her.It gets extremly annoying after a while and I know that they get frustrated as well....because you can hear it in their tone of voice. The reason a lot of companys take our jobs overseas....is because labor is cheaper in most of those places.....therefor the company makes more profit. It sucks....but that's the way it works.
1 person likes this
@easy888 (10405)
• Australia
27 Apr 07
Hello,creativedreamweaver,there is same situation in australia which the companies try to outsource their customers srecive department overseas, they can reduce the cost in doibg thus as the labor cost in foreign countries are much lower. Sometimes when i ring up the hotline, they cannot solve my problem because they cannot understand our situations , i ask them what i can do, they tell me to ask the local stores. We cannot do anything as a customer when the large companies try to cut down the cost by outsourcing.
@meme0907 (3481)
• United States
29 Apr 07
Hey CDW, It is sooo frustrating to get an agent that barely speaks english but you know I work from home outsourcing for 2 companies. I found this article that will give all of us in the us hope that these problems americans are facing w/ jobs outsourced to foriegn countries A Play On Offshoring Uses U.S. Employees For... Homeshoring Investor’s Business Daily 4/13/2007 By J. Bonasia In 2003, Kim Perez was a typical mom, struggling to balance her family life and her family checkbook. As a customer service agent for a pharmaceutical firm in Boca Raton, Fla., she drove 80 miles a day to and from work. "After having our third kid, I decided that commuting and working 9 to 5 just wasn't working for our family," she said. That's when Perez found Live-Ops. The company lets its business clients offer jobs for "virtual" call center agents. The agents work from home, using the phone and LiveOps' Web-based software to provide customer services. LiveOps agents schedule their own hours based on personal needs, such as caring for sick kids or aging parents. Perez works 10 to 30 hours a week from home, earning up to $20 an hour. Trend Seen Rising Fast She now has time to attend PTA meetings, chaperone school field trips and chauffeur her kids to football games, gymnastics meets and doctor's appointments. "Before joining LiveOps, my family revolved around my work," she said. "Now my work revolves around my family." Perez isn't alone. The number of U.S. home-based call center agents will jump to 300,000 by 2010 from 112,000 last year, says IDC, a research firm. IDC analyst Stephen Loynd dubbed this trend "homeshoring," as opposed to offshore outsourcing, or offshoring. Homeshoring can help companies that depend on call centers to cut costs and improve their customer care, with a U.S. work force, says Loynd. In many cases, he says, customers are unhappy dealing with call center agents from other parts of the globe. There can be language barriers, or foreign agents can simply lack knowledge about U.S. customs, things that can help interactions between callers and call center agents. "With homeshoring, you get a productive, enthusiastic professional on the phone," Loynd said. "That leads to a higher level of service and a better customer experience." Other call center homeshoring firms include privately held companies Arise Virtual Solutions of Miramar, Fla., West Corp. of Omaha, Neb., and Alpine Access of Golden, Colo. Letting people work from home and set their own hours cuts turnover, often a headache for call center managers, Loynd says. "Homeshoring enables you to hire stay-at-home parents and retirees who do not tend to quit jobs quickly," he said. "They make for more responsible, savvy, articulate agents." Palo Alto, Calif.-based LiveOps, which has attracted $39 million from venture funds and other investors, can manage homeshoring agents on behalf of clients. Or it can lease its Web-based software to client companies that chose to manage their own agents directly. Either way, homeshoring provides a new model for customer service, says Maynard Webb, the chief executive of LiveOps and former chief operating officer of eBay. (EBAY) LiveOps uses its software to monitor agents on calls and then coach them on how to improve, Webb says. "People in general want more control over their lives," he said. "New Web technology has enabled us to no longer be bound by geography." At Arise, all home agents are independent contractors. That legal step makes them more credible and attractive to client firms, says Angie Selden, the chief executive of Arise. Arise also requires its agents sign a legal contract to hold them accountable for their performance. In return, agents get to choose which clients they work for, Selden says. "Our agents have invested their own money and selected their own client, so the client knows they're getting a different caliber of commitment," she said. Flexible Labor Pool Each agent at LiveOps receives specialized training through Web-based lessons and scripts. Perez takes calls for TV infomercials that sell exercise equipment and vitamins. She also handles orders for pizzas and flower deliveries from across the country. By using a Web-based software platform, call agents can be located most anywhere. Such a flexible labor pool means companies can adjust their work force based on caller demand. For instance, LiveOps can schedule enough extra workers to manage the huge number of pizza orders on Super Bowl Sunday, or flower deliveries on Mother's Day. LiveOps agents fielded a blitz of calls for the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina. "Anything that requires a direct response, we rule," Webb said. "We can handle those big spikes in caller volumes with all of our distributed agents." Homeshoring also lowers overhead, as there is no cost for buildings or utilities, notes William Bierce of Bierce & Kenerson, a law firm focused on outsourcing issues. On the downside, many workers at home may feel isolated. They get no in-person feedback from colleagues. And it can be hard to manage such a distributed work force, Bierce says. "There might be a problem when a distressed agent confronts an impossible customer," he said. After nearly four years on the job, Perez of LiveOps says she still loves the freedom of working from home. She's even recruited eight friends to join the firm. "LiveOps has been a wonderful thing for my personal situation and family," she said. "It really works for me." ps I don't work for Live Ops
@meme0907 (3481)
• United States
29 Apr 07
pps as always ++++ 2 U my friend :D
@mirage108 (3403)
• United States
20 Sep 08
unfortunately I dont agree with outsourcing, and that is because it takes jobs away from US and gives them to a foreign country. I do understand why companies do outsource and that is because it is cheeper for them to outsource than to give the jobs to someone in the US If I cant understand the person. I just ask if someone else can help me out.
@rsa101 (28247)
• Philippines
16 Jul 08
Well one reason behind outsourcing them is the cost of labor is much much cheaper for them to outsource the labor out of your country. I hear that many third world countries like mine would easily be a good source of cheap labor. The salary is half the cost of the labor there in US. Plus the fact that other smaller countries are also giving them tax incentives to make their investments more attractive to companies that need the services of a call center.
• United States
4 Jul 08
As a customer service professional who lost her job to outsourcing, I can tell you exactly why outsourcing exists: Cost-cutting. Companies everywhere in the world, not just the USA, are outsourcing jobs to other countries, like India and Britain. The primary reason for this is because the labor there is simply cheaper to fund. Here, employees demand fair (or higher) wages, along with health insurance, paid breaks, paid vacations, bonuses, and other perks. Outsourcing the labor allows companies to reduce their operating costs and yet expand their hours - from 8-5, because American workers all want daytime hours so they can be home with their families - to 24-hour. It also doesn't require as much investment in individuals. All outsourced call centers take speech classes to help "Americanize" their accents so that we can understand them. Unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn't take. The other part of the problem is something that also affects jobs done by illegal immigrants - the fact that call center work, like much of the manual labor done by illegal immigrants, can be brutal. While physical labor is certainly more taxing, call center work is emotionally and mentally draining, leading to burnout much faster. You're in a confined environment with a strict set of rules, including when you can and can't get up from your seat, and are expected not only to accept people yelling at you over the phone all day, but are encouraged to treat these people like gold. It makes you appreciate the person on the end of customer service a lot more. I can tell you that it's certainly made me think twice before yelling at the person taking my call. The only thing we can really do about it is protest outsourcing to our elected officials, or elect officials who already protest it. I can tell you that there are some companies with government contracts which require that they keep jobs in the states - unfortunately this is not a consistent thing. If it were, we would find more customer service jobs in the hands of Americans, where we need it.
• United States
2 Jul 08
Because idiot companies think they can pay a foreign call center for cheap and less than minimum wage. To me, this is not a good business strategy because companies who outsource in a different country with reps speaking english as their 2nd language will end up losing a lot of customers. I have had this problem before when I was working as a trader testing out different products and when I had a question about my account, I often got a foreign person on the other end with a very thick inaudible accent and most often there was a language barrier between us. What I think smart US companies should do is to outsource in an english speaking country like England or Australia, for example. Or better yet, US companies should hire US customer service reps working from their own homes to take the calls. That way the reps work as an independant contractor instead of as an employee. Independent contractors handle their own taxes and have to buy their own medical insurance, if they wish.
• United States
28 Jun 08
I work for a telecommunication firm in Columbus, Ohio. I know from personal experience the dangers of outsourcing and the harm it does to not only the American workforce but also the clients that take part in whatever buisness that is using cheaper employment. I know from experience that I'll leave a company that treats me impolite. The agents over seas screw up so often at my job that we had to pull the plug at certain call centers in India and Israel.
• Canada
8 Apr 08
It is all about money. Why pay someone $8 an hour when you can hire them for less than that a day? It is coming to the time that America will only have service type jobs here. Like medical, auto repair, hairdressers and etc. I am a truck driver and before I came off of the road in 1995, that year we were hauling manufacturing plants to our southern borders. We were hauling 2 a month, I wonder how many other plants were being moved by the millions of other drivers. And yes, it does tick me off when I need some important information on something that I have purchased and I get someone on the other end of the phone line that I cannot even understand their English.
@laydee (12809)
• Philippines
27 Feb 08
I could understand your sentiments. But it's all about business. Whatever it takes to have lesser costs, businessmen would do that, regardless which nationality benefits it or is affected. I think the main problem here is the fact that sometimes, businessmen are too focused on the costs that they no longer see the quality of customer service. To the point that we no longer understand what they are saying.
• United States
23 Feb 08
I ran into this the other day for the very first time calling the 800# for a credit card that I have. The person on the other end had a very heavy Indian accent. To be perfectly honest, it was somewhat suprising to me and although they were pulling up my account and helping me but, I didn't have a very good feeling about it. I mean, I'm in the US, I applied for and received my CC in the US and I shopped at a store in the US, so why when I call regarding my purchase is my call shipped over to India? I don't like it one bit and feel that there are plenty of people right here in America that would be willing and able to take my phone call if they could. As a matter of fact, I ended our call early because of the fact that I was asking about my online username and password, but something was lost in translation and don't believe the person actually understood what I was trying to tell them. Don't think there is anything we can do about it though, looks like this is the trend of the future.