Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Researchers Predict Companies to Move Call Centers Back Home

October 10, 2007

While most people will think slots, shows and Wayne Newton when thinking of Las Vegas, the city also used to inspire thoughts of call centers. Believe it or not, this busy town once formed an industry that focused on processing credit-card payments and booking travel.

Unfortunately, the excitement of the town could not compete with the push to move call centers to overseas markets. The cheaper labor proved to be too appealing for the organizations operating these call centers.

According to Saddletree Research, that is likely to soon change. The nation overall has expressed a “general unhappiness” with offshored call centers that is generating a widespread change in offshoring strategies. For Las Vegas, the economic benefit could be substantial.

Boston research firm Celent revealed that in developing nations, companies found a ready supply of educated workers who could write well in English. These same individuals commanded roughly 7 percent of the wages that U.S. workers earned. As a result, written customer service functions were sent overseas.

Saddletree researchers noted that the offshoring effort may have been taken too far when customers’ phone calls were routed across the globe. Once connections were made by phone, language barriers emerged that were nonexistent in the written word. These language barriers led to frustration and dissatisfaction, as well as significant concern over the safety of personal information.

While these issues with offshoring were once issues to be resolved within the company based on customer reaction, the issue has now gotten bigger. A new law is pending before the House of Representatives that would require that call center agents reveal their locations and provide consumers with the options of working with a U.S.-based representative.

Multiple channel interaction with call centers is also leading to the surge in moving operations back to the U.S. Many companies are allowing their customers to complete transactions online. While consumers are demanding this self-service functionality, some still need real-time assistance or advice from a live person.

This anticipated surge in customer care representatives in the U.S. won’t be confined within the walls of the traditional call center. Many companies are turning to home-shoring strategies where independent contractors handle customer care calls from home offices.

The home-shore model is becoming more attractive to those organizations with the infrastructure in place to properly manage it. High speed Internet access and VoIP phone service have made homeshoring a practical choice for many individuals. Plus, it eliminates the expense of maintaining a call center and is less expensive than the traditional call center.

Not all experts agree on the final impact that bringing the call centers home will have on the Las Vegas call center market. A lot has changed in 10 years and the same rules may not be able to apply. The need still remains, however and the likelihood of call centers sprouting up in the desert again is pretty good.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
 

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