Even companies like American Apparel, a company that promotes their brand as, “made in America” have considered call center outsourcing. In fact, outsourcing call center services is the direction that many U.S. companies have taken, and one that many can actually afford. It is a trend that continues to grow and one of the strongest arguments made in support of this trend is that it enhances many aspects of customer service, a vital component of any business. The strongest argument against it however, continues to resurface at every political election.
Outsourcing U.S. jobs is a topic that continues to evoke negative feelings each time the president or a presidential hopeful mentions it in a campaign speech. And now that members of Congress are starting to push for the US.Call Center and Consumer Protection Act, the possibility of a threat to U.S. call center outsourcing could be a real prospect.
The bill is said to protect U.S. jobs by barring companies that outsource overseas from government grants or loans, “discouraging” companies from accepting tax cuts only to later outsource their call centers, and granting U.S. consumers the option to speak with an American representative at their request. It seems to me that there is something lacking in this proposal: incentive. The bill offers barriers, but does not address how keeping call centers in the U.S. will sustain the growth of a company over the alternative.
When President Obama gave his State of the Union address earlier this year, “in sourcing” was at the center of his campaign. However, businessmen from India and the Philippines, the two countries that maintain the majority of U.S. call centers, remained unmoved. In their opinion, outsourcing call centers was far too lucrative for the global economy to be threatened by patriotic sentiment. And the notion that anti-outsourcing was nothing but a campaign strategy was backed by Obama’s latest ad that accused Romney of being a fan of outsourcing. Naturally, Romney rejected this accusation, attesting to the fact that regardless of one’s political party, outsourcing gets a bad rep around electoral events.
But is it really un- American? America runs on consumerism, and this is a country that demands that good customer service comes with it. Call centers have improved customer service in many industries, including take out dining. Although it is easy for some people to express their disdain for learning that their hotel was booked by a call center agent in Guadalajara who was unfamiliar with the hotel, perhaps they should stop to consider whether it would be worse if they were unable to reach someone at whatever hour they decided to call. If American consumers were to make a genuine claim against call center outsourcing, then they would be hypocritical to buy cheaper goods that are often manufactured overseas as well.
Call centers have shown to improve many economies, and certainly not the least of which is in the Philippines. Sometimes these countries will open call centers in the U.S., such is the case with an Indian-based company that recently opened a call center in South Carolina. Wilton Career Center in Maine welcomed the prospect of companies opening call centers in their communities to assist with the unemployment rate; however it is not often that you hear stories such as these.
More often than not, it is reported that American companies, such as Cincinnati Bell (News - Alert) turn to outsourcing as the only viable to staying afloat. Also, if there was little cost differentia between opening call centers in the U.S. as opposed to overseas, then many more companies probably would be able to afford to keep their call centers on American soil.
Edited by Jamie Epstein