Outsourcing call centers to India is on the decline.

Mainly because it’s just not very profitable for them anymore:

Americans, it seems, hate calling a help desk or customer service number to find an Indian on the line. Well, guess what, America? India doesn’t particularly want to talk to you, either. As India’s top companies get more sophisticated at taking over outsourced work from U.S. and European multinationals, they’re finding that the lowest end of the business—call centers—just doesn’t pay anymore. “Call centers have become commoditized,” says B. Ramalinga Raju, chairman of Satyam Computer Services Ltd.

Like almost everyone, Indian operators dislike dealing with abusive customers frustrated by shoddy service. But more important, India’s leading outsourcing shops say their U.S. corporate clients continually try to ratchet down prices, which inevitably drives down the quality of service they can provide. So lately, Indian outsourcers have begun turning down call center contracts, preferring better-paying deals for processing mortgages, handling insurance claims, overseeing payrolls, and more.

That doesn’t mean India won’t be doing call center work anymore. But outsourcing powerhouse Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., for instance, has turned away potential clients offering call-center-only work. “We are thinking about whether this is work we really want to do,” says TCS Executive Vice-President Phiroz Vandrevala. At Satyam, just 35% of business process outsourcing employees are in call centers, down from 60% 18 months ago, Raju says. “We try to get into call centers only when it’s in association with other business,” says Raju. And New Delhi-based EXL Services annulled a help desk call center contract with Dell Inc. because EXL was losing money on the deal. In April, 2005, EXL asked Dell to take back that business, but it kept other contracts such as one under which EXL operators call Dell customers to remind them to make loan payments. Dell officials in India didn’t respond to a request for comment.

SEB reader Michi, who sent me the link to the news item, sums it up in this way:

    “Hey, we already pay the tech support drones next to nothing, but I’ll bet we could do it even cheaper….”
      “I know! Let’s fire everyone and move our call centre to India!”
      “Great! But… wait…. what about when they learn everything about our business from us and then decide they don’t need us anymore?”
      “Don’t be silly, that’s never happen.”

2 thoughts on “Outsourcing call centers to India is on the decline.

  1. We are thinking about whether this is work we really want to do

    What happened to “they do the jobs americans don’t want to do”?

  2. Hi,
    I am an Indian and I work for a Dell Call Center in India, catering to US based Dell Computer users.
    And, by the way, I can speak, read and write English perfectly well, with a neutral accent while speaking. All my US customers appreciate my level of English.
    There is this hue and cry about outsourced Dell technical support to India.
    Well, let’s look at the other side of the coin as well.
    Following are the scenarios that I encounter on a daily basis, with reference to US customers calling in for technical support.
    *** Computer user having and using a computer for 3 years,but not aware that the first row of keys on his keyboard (on the top), contains the F1 to F12 keys : it takes him 17 minutes and 23 seconds to find that out,while explaining to him very clearly,step by step, where the F8 key is located : is the keyboard the size of a football field ???
    ***People is the US never read the terms and conditions of a sale / contract. It is CLEARLY mentioned in the Hardware Warranty, that software related issues are NOT covered : the Hardware Warranty is purely for the hardware components of the computer : does this point out to ignorance ? No, but rather illiteracy.
    *** How funny it is getting a call from an educated American woman asking for her yahoo password and she belives that we can give her the password : All we can do is to guide her to the correct link on the yahoo page, to get / generate a new password,etc.
    *** What about a man who thinks that the power button is the windows start menu ? : Even a 8 year old school going kid in a remote village of India knows how to power on & shut down a computer.
    *** What about the American who enjoys going to xxx sites and gets viruses and then blames Dell for this issue and expects free support to remove the viruses : Wake up US … nothing except oxygen is free. You need technical support for your mistakes, then you gotta pay for it. Dell is not a charity organisation.
    *** Here was one of by best ever experience : What about the nice caller from US that gets error 404 : page cannot be displayed and after conferencing with comcast the customer is informed called that he has not payed his monthly bill for the last 3 months? : Height of ignorance : I would say height of being dumb.
    *** And these are the kind of US customers, who demand to speak to a supervisor, to resolve their issues.
    Hey, when you call for technical support, be patient and co-operative. The technicians are well trained, friendly and are here to help you out. If not, then we always have the option to press the “Release” button on the phone, so that you will have to call back and again be on the queue for another 30 – 45 aggravating minutes.
    So, when you call technical support, be patient, be kind and be co-operative.

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