Call center outsourcing is like any other business – if it’s done where it can be done most efficiently everybody benefits – customers get the lowest prices, companies find cost savings and people can be freed up to do what their most efficient work is.
However, grandstanding American politicians with a less than robust grasp of or concern for economics are threatening to force American companies to establish call centers here in America, instead of allowing them to be outsourced to where the work can be done more efficiently.
They’re proposing to make companies that have call centers overseas ineligible for grants and guaranteed loans from the federal government. It also proposes a $10,000 a day penalty on US call centers that fail to report its relocation to an offshore location within 60 days to the Labor Department.
Philippine news sources are reporting that a bill if passed by the U.S .Congress would “discourage American companies from outsourcing call center operations.”
Obviously this would have a huge impact in The Philippines, where much of the economy is based on call center outsourcing, known as the business process outsourcing industry (BPO), specifically accepting call center outsourcing from the United States.
Deputy Philippine presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told ABS (News - Alert)-CBN news she has not yet read a draft of the proposed measure in US Congress.
American call center outsourcing advocates note that such protectionist moves would increase the cost of customer service in the United States, costs which would get passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services.
You can understand the Filipino point of view -- “Hey, we can do that for less than it would cost to have it done in America. Why can’t we do it for you?” Good question. It’s not like repatriating call center jobs is going to magically cure unemployment in America.
Also under the bill, call center operators will be required to identify their location and callers will also be allowed to choose an operator who is based in the US.
There seems to be no provision in the bill for call center operators to explain to customers how much more expensive the call would be for the company and customers to have the call handled by America-based agents.
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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Jamie Epstein