Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Rising Trend of 'Unsourcing' Could Cripple Call Center Outsourcing Industry

May 14, 2012

According to a recent article from the Costa Rica Star, countries like Costa Rica, the Philippines and India, which rely heavily on call centers to fuel their economies, could be in trouble from an “army of unpaid workers.” A new trend called “unsourcing” refers to customers creating a sort of peer-to-peer help center for solving issues with products and services, and could do exactly that.

Customers are apparently helping each other more and more in receiving tech support on devices and software. It seems many would rather have their questions and concerns addressed by individuals in the same country who have bought and used the same products than a faceless person located thousands of miles away — unsurprising, as North American consumers often complain about call center outsourcing.

Consumers aren’t the only ones embracing unsourcing; the idea of free customer service is proving to be an attractive one for executives and operations managers. After all, why pay for customer service, even cheaply, when it can be handled for free? Recent examples of unsourcing have only served to make the practice more attractive.

GPS maker TomTom, which recently released its results for the first quarter of 2012, saved $150,000 and solved around 20,000 tech support queries in two weeks by switching over to social media channels for customer support. Similarly, hardware and peripheral manufacturer Logitech had one of its customers field 45,000 tech support tickets related to Webcams without being paid. A British virtual mobile provider has also taken to providing incentives to customers who work on open tech support tickets in the form of discounts on their monthly phone bills.

Other major corporations are considering this model as well, including electronics retail giant Best Buy in the U.S., and laptop manufacturer Lenovo.

Costa Rica hopes its highly skilled workforce will be able to combat the rising trend of unsourcing to maintain its call center industry but it’s hard to pose a good argument against “free.”

Edited by Braden Becker