George Spafford wrote an interesting post about AT&T Internet "back-shoring" their call center to the United States. Spafford correctly articulates three key issues that companies must consider when deciding to send their customer service calls overseas:
- Language. Trying to bridge the language gap can quickly lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. Customers want resolution, and trying to understand and be understood can add a difficult hurdle for the customer.
- Cultural differences. We did customer satisfaction research for one catalog retailer who discovered their customers grew irritated when off-shore CSRs could not culturally understand some of the products they were attempting to find and purchase. The culture gap led to longer calls and angry customers. The resulting customer back-lash was, in this case, disastrous.
- Customer expectation. Customer’s expect quick, efficient resolution to their issue. If off-shoring impedes meeting these expectations, the cost-savings can suddenly vanish along with your customers.
Spafford correctly concludes:
In the end, the customer doesn’t care that there is a push for cost reduction (or whatever the strategy is). All they care about is that their needs are met in an efficient, professional and courteous manner.