Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Congress Once Again Proposes Call Center Offshoring Legislation

March 28, 2017

It’s a pet peeve of many Americans: a contact center worker who has a heavy accent, and understanding the person on the other end of the phone becomes more difficult because the agent is working out of a busy call center with a great deal of background noise. It’s an additional annoyance for many who believe that companies should be hiring American workers for millions of customer support jobs.

Congress has once again taken up the issue by introducing the United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act of 2017. The bill, if it becomes legislation, would prevent certain offshoring call center companies from obtaining grants or guaranteed loans from the government. If the act became law, it would require companies to notify the U.S. Department of Labor at least 120 days before relocating jobs to foreign countries. Companies that fail to do so will be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 per day, according to Ben Noble writing for Customer Think.

“Once a company is blacklisted by the Department of Labor, they will remain on the list for up to three years after each relocation and remain ineligible for federal grants or federal guaranteed loans for five years,” wrote Noble. “Furthermore, the bill will require offshore contact center agents to disclose their physical location to customers and offer the option to transfer to a U.S. based representative.”

It’s not certain whether the legislation will gain traction. It’s certain to face stiff opposition from business groups, and it’s important to note that similar legislation has failed in the past, largely due to lobbying by corporate interests. Still, in the current political climate there may be enough populism to cause the bill to succeed in getting passed. If this act became law, cloud contact center solutions could help companies that traditionally outsourced to keep contact center work in the U.S. while still keeping costs low, largely thanks to cloud contact center technology.

“In a volatile process of up- and down-scaling contact centers internationally, cloud companies have the benefit of adding and removing agents at will,” wrote Noble. “They can restructure their routing systems to accommodate new policy and deploy broadly without many boots on the ground. Cloud contact centers give companies the ability to shift resources and manage from a single, universal dashboard. It’s just one more strong case for enterprise companies to consider cloud contact centers.”

Cloud contact centers enable home workers, for example, which may reduce or eliminate the need for expensive physical contact center locations. It also means that workers could be distributed across U.S. time zones to help companies keep their customer support lines open longer hours for customers who expect it. Noble notes that should both parties embrace the bill and pass it, companies with a clear and dynamic strategy, flexible contact center solutions infrastructure and smart management systems will have a significant advantage.

Edited by Alicia Young