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Indian callcentres - number of companies using them slowing down

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Awesome news: the number of UK companies using Indian callcentres is slowing down and about time too. The explosion of customer service outsourcing to Asia became so worrying in the last decade that there was the very real possibility that speaking to someone in Mumbai or Delhi when you called a company was going to be considered 'normal'.

But this is great news, all we need now is to get it in decline - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15060641

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Employment costs in India have gone up and employment costs in the UK have gone down.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    While I've been jobhunting all I seem to be able to find is call center or telesales jobs so I'm not surprised
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Employment costs in India have gone up and employment costs in the UK have gone down.

    This.

    The only reason that the transfer was a bad thing was because it meant a loss of employment in the UK. Customer services are shit, whichever country they are in, IME.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This.

    The only reason that the transfer was a bad thing was because it meant a loss of employment in the UK. Customer services are shit, whichever country they are in, IME.

    Though that in turn created more employment in India and by reducing costs (either to the company or to customers) meant capital could be more effectively deployed making us all richer. Us getting crappy jobs back and India loosing high-quality ones (for them) is bad for us both...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Though that in turn created more employment in India and by reducing costs (either to the company or to customers) meant capital could be more effectively deployed making us all richer.

    Or, it could have boosted shareholder dividends.
    Us getting crappy jobs back and India loosing high-quality ones (for them) is bad for us both...

    Unemployment vs Crappy Jobs? I know which I'd choose ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Or, it could have boosted shareholder dividends.

    Another good thing - they're taxed at higher than corp tax, the shareholders spend money (or save and invest), to say nothing about many of us benefitting indirectly (insurance companies and pension companies being major holders of shares)


    Unemployment vs Crappy Jobs? I know which I'd choose ;)

    Short term you may be right (I'm assuming you're saying crappy jobs of course), but medium/long term the crappy jobs will go again, but they won't have upskilled the people who did them to move onto better paid.

    Also its a wealthy country taking jobs which are relatively poorly paid from a poor country where they are well-paid jobs; on moral grounds I'm not sure that is really defensible (and it is certainly isn't on economic). *

    *OK I know the story isn't saying that, its actually say the rate jobs are moving has slowed rather than jobs moving back to the UK, but I am slightly simplifying the argument (as an aside that doesn't neccessarily mean our costs have got less and India have increased, but it could be that all the cost-effective moves have taken place and all that remains is on the margin)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The only reason that the transfer was a bad thing was because it meant a loss of employment in the UK. Customer services are shit, whichever country they are in, IME.

    I don't think this is true. I think it's undeniable that people will better understand a familiar and less harsh accent. People with strong accents don't get jobs in call centres in the UK. The only reason why they get them in India is because they are willing to work for a fraction of the cost. But it doesn't change the fact that the experience for the end-user is worse. It's just a sacrifice a lot of businesses have been willing to make. And you'll notice they only make this sacrifice in the areas of their business that they see as an inconvenience. You don't see banks outsourcing sales hotlines to Indian call centres, because a worse service on that line would affect their income to a far greater degree. You can guarantee that you'll be phoning freephone UK call centres right up until you've bought whatever you were buying, and as soon as you have a problem with the product, you'll be redirected to a national-rate hotline in India, because it no longer matters how good the service is.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think this is true. I think it's undeniable that people will better understand a familiar and less harsh accent. People with strong accents don't get jobs in call centres in the UK.

    I'm yanking chains mainly. However I disagree with this point. Have you ever tried ringing the Sky call centre in Scotland, or call centres in Newcastle... unless you are suggesting that call centre should only use people with Queen's english accent ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wonder if they'll be joining government schemes for "work experience" to get free labour.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    HP have good customer service. My old printer broke, the shop didn't want to know "we'll send it for repair". So I rang up HP (an American call centre interestingly) and they just posted me a new one along with a pre-paid packing label to send the old one back.
  • JsTJsT TheSite Graduate Posts: 18,265 Incredible Poster
    American call centres are very good, as typically are German ones.

    The only Indian one I regularly deal with is 3's, they try their best but sometimes you just cannae get your point across.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think companies should simply ask their customers to consult the company's documentation wiki rather than employing people to verbally communicate what could be clearly explained in text or shown as a diagram.

    Call centers are ridiculous in the age of near universal web access.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,169 Skive's The Limit
    I think companies should simply ask their customers to consult the company's documentation wiki rather than employing people to verbally communicate what could be clearly explained in text or shown as a diagram.

    Call centers are ridiculous in the age of near universal web access.

    Call centres are very much needed for tech support. You can't chuck a manual at somebody and expect them to work it out themselves.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    Skive wrote: »
    Call centres are very much needed for tech support. You can't chuck a manual at somebody and expect them to work it out themselves.
    If call centres can tell you things that aren't simply what's written in a manual, yes they are needed. Otherwise they're the same thing as getting someone to look through the manual for you and read it aloud.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You should never assume that there isnt something that stupid who requires a call centre, no matter if the instructions are in plain view.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I know there's lots of people who will want to use a call centre even if the instructions are in plain view, but I attribute that more to laziness than stupidity. "Why should I read this when someone can just tell me?"
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,169 Skive's The Limit
    If call centres can tell you things that aren't simply what's written in a manual, yes they are needed. Otherwise they're the same thing as getting someone to look through the manual for you and read it aloud.

    Not really. It's nowhere near as simple as that.

    I'm an engineer for a company which designs, installs and maintains epos systems from basic tills right up to systems containing 100's of terminals at different sites connected over a VPN to a back office reporting and loyalty system. When problems occur with these systems they need fixing straight away else the customer simply can't trade. You can't expect the end user (which in our case is often just a part time barman) to know all the terminology associated with tills - that comes with experience. And that's where the call centres come in.

    If I gave you even one of most basic cash register with a engineers service manual, and told you to program it, you would have serious difficulty, I might as well throw you the manual in hebrew.
    And quite often the problem that the customer sees has a number of possible causes, and you need somebody experience in technical support to diagnose it.

    And importantly as a customer buying a product or paying for a service, I expect support that goes beyond somebody telling me to RTFM (read the fucking manual).
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,169 Skive's The Limit
    I know there's lots of people who will want to use a call centre even if the instructions are in plain view, but I attribute that more to laziness than stupidity. "Why should I read this when someone can just tell me?"

    Or that fact that they're paid for a product or service and rightfully expect support for it. And in many cases telephone support is chargeable, meaning anybody who is just being lazy can get support if the pay for it.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I think you think your posts contradict mine, but they don't. Maybe you misread.
    Your first post is about things that the manual can't tell you, so irrelevant to what I said. And the second is about paying to get the answer faster.
    I'll give you that not everyone who doesn't just use the manual is lazy but many are.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skive, the trouble comes when you ring technical support and they just read the manual back at you. Gee, turn it off and on again you say? Why did I never think of that.

    Good companies have good tech support who know what they're doing and don't just read the manual at you. Most consumer businesses don't, which is why ringing your ISP with a technical problem is such a fun day for all the family.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    On topic: [url]HTTP://XKCD.COM/806/[/url]

    EDIT: My point being that somebody like the first person to answer in that comic shouldn't be in tech support.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whenever I ring up about my Sky or broadband before I ring the first thing I do is reset them both. That way I can skip the first 12 minutes of the call and go straight past the "have you turned it off, waited 2 minutes (which makes no difference whatsoever, if it's off, it's off) and turned it on again" stage.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    Whenever I ring up about my Sky or broadband before I ring the first thing I do is reset them both. That way I can skip the first 12 minutes of the call and go straight past the "have you turned it off, waited 2 minutes (which makes no difference whatsoever, if it's off, it's off) and turned it on again" stage.

    3 Mobile make you do that again. "Can you please restart your computer?", "I did that already", "Is it restarting? Let me know when you're done". :banghead:

    They also told me to try the dongle in a different USB port when the problem wasn't that I couldn't connect, or that it wasn't being recognised, it was that I was connected but unable to view any pages. I spent an hour on the phone to various people only for them to tell me that one of the fucking masts was down.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    Whenever I ring up about my Sky or broadband before I ring the first thing I do is reset them both. That way I can skip the first 12 minutes of the call and go straight past the "have you turned it off, waited 2 minutes (which makes no difference whatsoever, if it's off, it's off) and turned it on again" stage.

    The two minute thing is to clear the memory. It's an old fashioned thing but it basically just eliminates that possibility of having an error.

    As for Indians, I am not too fussed either way. Companies are going to be in the business of making money, and if thats the best way to do it then fair enough. When you consider how many english speaking graduates there are in India, compared to all the kids in the UK who can't do numeracy / literacy to a competent level... starts to put things into perspective.

    In a general tech support environment, they generally have different levels. At level one, because most problems can be solved with very basic fix steps (rebooting, checking everything is plugged in, etc.) you will speak to someone following a script. After that it can be escalated. It's an efficient way of dealing with a large volume of problems, even if it is more frustrating for the few problems that are complex. You have to remember there will be a lot of OAPs phoning up saying 'why doesnt the internet work' when the monitor isn't turned on...
  • SkiveSkive No discipline. No morality. No respect. New ForestPosts: 15,169 Skive's The Limit
    Skive, the trouble comes when you ring technical support and they just read the manual back at you. Gee, turn it off and on again you say? Why did I never think of that.

    Quite often is that. People are that stupid I'm afraid.

    And often our help desk staff our working from the same manual the customer has. If I gave you a manual to one of the most basic cash registers we sell, you would have trouble programming it, you certainly have trouble doing it quickly, and if one of our customers can't trade because theres a problem with the till then time is very important.

    Likewise if I were running a coffe shop and my brand new coffee machine wasn't working properly, and I had people queued for coffee out the door, I wouldn't be reaching for the manual. I'd be reaching for the phone and I think that's fair enough.

    Whowhere wrote:
    waited 2 minutes (which makes no difference whatsoever, if it's off, it's off) and turned it on again"

    Wrong - it can make a big difference. The idea is to let any charge or heat within the device and any capacitors dissipate. I've certainly power-cycled things quickly, had it not work, then waited a significant time with it off, and had it work.

    3 Mobile make you do that again. "Can you please restart your computer?", "I did that already", "Is it restarting? Let me know when you're done".

    They also told me to try the dongle in a different USB port when the problem wasn't that I couldn't connect, or that it wasn't being recognised, it was that I was connected but unable to view any pages.

    It's because they need to work through a process - one of elimination. That's why they will often have you start at the beginning - we have to be thorough. You can't tell over the phone within seconds whether or not somebody is technically competent, you have to treat everybody as a moron I'm afraid.


    I have to cover 1st line tech support in the office from time to time and am on out of hours support for 1 week in every 3. It's a difficult job. We have to treat everybody the same I'm afraid - we don't know how competent somebody is just by talking to them for a few seconds on the phone and we do get our fair share of idiots. If we ask you to do something, even if you think it's irrelevant you should do it because almost always there's a method behind it.
    Yesterday is history
    Tomorrow is a mystery
    But today is a gift
    That’s why it’s call the present
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Skive wrote: »
    Quite often is that. People are that stupid I'm afraid.
    I have to cover 1st line tech support in the office from time to time and am on out of hours support for 1 week in every 3. It's a difficult job. We have to treat everybody the same I'm afraid - we don't know how competent somebody is just by talking to them for a few seconds on the phone and we do get our fair share of idiots. If we ask you to do something, even if you think it's irrelevant you should do it because almost always there's a method behind it.

    I agree, but I wouldn't go as far as denoting people as idiots, that creates far more customer dissatisfaction to the extent that further problem solving may prove difficult. But, assuming that ppl aren't technically competent is totally different from assuming they're idiots, and if that's what you meant by "idiots" then I agree. The number of people who have to be shown where the on/off button is or to try obvious solutions such as turning on the power/check whether it's plugged in or not is unbelievable, still in 2011. In such cases, and Indian tech support person will usually be able to support the problem.

    In more complex cases tho, where the problem isn't basic or where the end user are technically competent, outsourcing all tech support to a foreign country has proven very inefficient for many companies. In many areas even the tech persons have to have at least a basic understanding of the business domain as well in order to be able to provide a satisfactory solution for the customer or client, and this is where outsourcing often fails. When the tech persons have a deeper understanding of how their clients are working, that their aims and goals are, they are usually able to provide much better help, and for some companies, this is where the in house expertise comes in, and several companies in my own country have even reverted to in house support just because they realized this. Even if the outsourced resources are cheaper, it doesn't make a difference if they're not able to provide satisfactory help and will just add to the cost in terms of lost time and frustration for the clients.
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