Space Ramblings

Outsourcing and the Death of Customer Service

There’s an inevitable outcome to cost cutting prices on one hand and raising executive compensation on the other, the middle gets squeezed and that means cutting costs some more. Even while Netflix has managed to beat Blockbuster, the established market leader, in part by focusing on customer service, more and more companies are trashing their customer service through outsourcing. Outsourcing brings on board call centers that are little more than waiting rooms where customers call, receive no useful answers and then get processed out the other end in under the targeted allotment of 15 minutes.

This isn’t a complete break with the reality of what customer service used to be, but it is an end point, a point at which calling customer service or technical support no longer makes any sense because the people on the other end are Indians with poor English skills working from a script who don’t understand your problem, may not even understand your language and couldn’t care less because it’s 1 AM over there and they’re waiting to get done so they can go party.

Companies who outsource customer service might as well simply terminate customer service. Outsourced customer service can occasionally help people whose problems fit within a simple script but mostly frustrate and annoy customers. It’s better for a company to put its cards on the table the way that ING Direct has and simply explain that maintaining their prices requires the end of any effective customer service. After all it doesn’t really make a difference anymore.

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