NPR recently ran a fascinating news article on the the return of call center outsourcing back to the U.S. through distributed, home-based service reps.
And for once, it was nice to see that something we’ve been evangelizing for a while now is coming to fruition: that hosted telephony and call center services increasingly provide value for companies who want to save costs on customer service and support, but want to keep reps based in the U.S.
The article states that the primary reason for the shift back from international call center outsourcing to U.S. domestic is very simple: it increases customer satisfaction, leading to longer-term customer loyalty and higher sales.
The other huge benefit of hosted, distributed call center technology: scalability.
With access to a broad pool of potential agents, and very simple hardware requirements (most distributed call center reps only need a PC, a standard hard-wired phone line, and high-speed Internet), the cost-per-hire goes down significantly.
In some cases, the cost of training goes up slightly, and even with the lowered costs that distributed call center technology provides, a customer service rep in the U.S. is still more expensive than an international counterpart.
But as the article states, in some areas “workers in India are making only about 15 percent less than workers in Nebraska”—and that lower customer satisfaction, combined with the “pain in the neck” factor of having to manage an overseas operation have brought companies to the threshold where they “start thinking about whether it’s worth it to hire an American worker instead of a foreign one.”