April 23, 2009
Delta Pulls Call Center Operations out of India
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor
Companies tried many ways to hide the fact that they were routing to calls to India. For some, it was a matter of training their Indian call center agents to speak with an American accent. For others, it was giving their Indian agents an American name to use when on the phone.
But, no matter how many methods were deployed, customers still knew they were being diverted to a call center far removed from the company. And, no matter how much customer service a call center can guarantee, some just can’t get past the fact that jobs were shipped overseas.
Delta Air Lines has heard their fair share of complaints from customers unhappy about the transfer of calls and has decided to do something about it. According to MyCustomer.com, the airline has canceled its contract with offshore services provider Wipro (News - Alert) after negative customer feedback was received on a consistent basis about routing calls to India.
After U.S. air travel took a significant hit as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Delta moved its call center services to India. While the move was said to save the company $25 million a year, the backlash from customers was significant – despite the fact that India, like Iraq, had nothing to do with the horrific events of that day.
Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in the MyCustomer.com report: “Customer acceptance of call center representatives in other countries was low and our customers are not shy about letting us have that feedback.”
According to a spokesman quoted by The Boston Globe, Delta has hired roughly 4,500 call center workers in the United States after ending its outsourcing operations in India. Those call centers in operation in Jamaica and South Africa are expected to continue for now.
Delta is not the first big carrier to pull out of India. United Airlines made a similar move in February. It is not clear to Indian outsourcing organizations whether these moves are due to customer backlash or an effort for these companies to bring jobs back home to help stimulate the economy.
In reality, the airline has been hard-hit by these difficult economic times and cutbacks have been a priority. However, creating jobs within the United States can make a difference in the local economies in which these call centers are created and could have an impact on the overall picture.
This move is an example of a company that has heard its customers and responded to their voice. The U.S. needs jobs and companies need to keep their alliance to their customers.
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan