PDA

View Full Version : OT - A company giving up on India outsourcing



SGW
05-25-2011, 06:06 AM
From today's Portland, Maine, paper:

Boston-based Carbonite Inc., which sells online computer and file backup systems to consumers and businesses, will open a customer service center in Lewiston this summer. The opening will mark the company's entry into Maine.

...

He said the new jobs in Maine will replace jobs at Carbonite's customer service center in India, which opened in 2006. Carbonite decided to bring those jobs stateside because the center in India never matched the service levels at Carbonite's smaller call center in Boston.

"We worked for four years to get that same level of customer satisfaction in India, and we have never been able to do it," said Friend.

...

The jobs will pay three times as much as those in India. Friend called that investment an opportunity for the company's customer service division to shine. "While this is more expensive, I think it is good business for Carbonite," he said.

Prokop
05-25-2011, 06:20 AM
Quite understandable. I worked for AOL for long years and they outsourced a lot to India and it was an incredible PITA to work with them. Language level was just the start, technical ability, dedication and turnover was the real problem.

And we had indians on site who themselves had absolutely no illusions about the quality of work of the Bangalore center.

J Tiers
05-25-2011, 08:20 AM
My recent experience with Cisco technical assistance was certainly no recommendation for the India call center...... I solved my problem "in spite of" their "help".

Black_Moons
05-25-2011, 08:23 AM
Worst is the accent and the fact they don't even try to make themselfs understandable!

And the thing is.. I once had a phone call with someone with the WORST indian accent.. Yet I could understand EVERY single word they said! because they tryed thier very hardest to pronounce everything properly, at at a reasonable pace! So many people seem to just try and rush through english and hope that real english speakers don't notice they are not actualy speaking english -_-;

Alistair Hosie
05-25-2011, 08:36 AM
I don't wish to appear racist but we have many companies converting to India .When you telephone aol. for example they put you straight onto an Indian person.I cannot understand half of the words they say and it takes ages I find they become quite irritated with you when you ask the constantly to repeat themselves and it makes me feel bad whan my computer gives me problems and I need to phone them.I sometimes have to close down the conversation as politely as possible and wait till eventually at certain times we get someone from Ireland to talk to . Alistair

j king
05-25-2011, 09:24 AM
Alistair. My job has me travel 100%..We use a world travel to handle after hours travel needs. I cant use them because of my hearing lose and their high tone voices.I asked for a different person and they all sound the same to me..I gave up using them..Everytime I would hang up and try again I would be charged 15 dollars.After 45 dollars one nite I said thats it! I now use the computer ans muddle my way thru it.

derekm
05-25-2011, 09:43 AM
its not culture, language, race , just distance... its just so hard to transport knowledge in bulk and detail.
When you have a hard support problem to solve, it pays to be able to go round to the desk of the guy who designed/built/documented it and ask why, where, what and how.

Stick 12,000 miles in between an it becomes very slow and difficult to achieve the same.

Differences in culture and interpretation and use of language just make it even worse.

e.g. Randy is not a boys name but an emotional state
a Butt is something to shoot arrows at :)

Evan
05-25-2011, 09:56 AM
It is all about communication skills in the english language. Many of the Indian call centres do not have high enough standards for the ability of thier employees to converse in english. A further problem that is biting companies on the ass is that there are many telemarketing scammers operating that have strong accents that either are or sound like a Hindi accent. This is compounded by the fact that the employees of the Indian call centres are instructed to lie about their location.

lazlo
05-25-2011, 10:13 AM
The Indian call center folks I struggle with speak perfect, lightly British accented English. And they have hilarious pseudonyms like "Brian", "Eric" and "Sandy". :rolleyes:

But they have no training about the product or service they're supposed to be supporting -- you can hear them flipping pages in a book. The Western companies are simply paying bottom dollar for tech support. They use the Bangalore call centers as a filter for a much smaller, highly overworked technical support staff in their home country.

I don't know why the Western companies don't simply train them adequately -- there's an endless supply of young, highly educated Indians. But I guess that kills the profit motive...

Turnover is another huge problem -- in the Bangalore technology park, the Intel, Apple, IBM, AMD, HP, Motorola buildings are all on a circle, and the employees jump ship for the smallest pay increment.

derekm
05-25-2011, 10:54 AM
The Indian call center folks I struggle with speak perfect, lightly British accented English. And they have hilarious pseudonyms like "Brian", "Eric" and "Sandy". :rolleyes:

I don't know why the Western companies don't simply train them adequately --

you are assuming that the information has been written down and then converted into a training course...

I was involved in the outesourcing of S/W development to Bangalore in 2002.

It always takes more time to train someone remotely than one assumes and it always takes more management time , and its always done less perfectly than one assumes.

and then you find the "rest of of the iceberg" you are trying to move 1000's of miles away...

To succeeed never outsource unless you have everything really, really, really, really nailed down. But if you have done that why are you outsourcing?

Circlip
05-25-2011, 11:56 AM
Had a problem with good ole Sir Richards coms company this morning. Both TV and Broadband down, strangely, telephone still working. By pressing the buttons asked for in sequence, eventually got through to a "Live" person in the sub continent.

Gave her the options, It's either a numpty who's gone through the cable with a digger, or one at their end having yanked a plug out. How long before I'm reconnected? No, according to the error code displayed on the box, it needed a technician to come and sort it out. While we were talking, Broadband came back on line, seconds later, the telephone link failed and an auto message told me to try later.

Within twenty seconds, she rang me back and arranged a "Techy" visit, end of call. Bout five minutes later, the restart sequence was operating on the cable box and TV pictures resurfaced, two minutes later still, I get an automated call telling me the Tech. visit has been cancelled as a fault is being corrected but they will call back to make sure.

At no point in the above sequence was I asked for either a customer I/D number OR telephone number and yes, I know that there is call screening which ID's the caller, BUT, if the techkowledgy exists for someone thousands of miles away to call me back, why doesn't the same exist to inform them that some pillock in Virgin or wherever has knackered the system?

The annoying part is trying to communicate with someone who probably has three or four university degrees but none in the correct pronunciation or inteligibility of English. This is not restricted to India as a couple of years ago I had to call one of our national bodies to try to sort a problem. To say the young lady at the other end had an "Accent" is some what of an understatement. After various repeats, I eventually apologised and asked if somone could contact me, as I couldn't understand. Must be a keyword to racism, as the woman that rang back was Glaswegian with the heavyest Scottish accent imaginable.

As stated, it was a national body and Government departments are noted for being as bloody unhelpful as possible.

Regards Ian.

lazlo
05-25-2011, 01:00 PM
you are assuming that the information has been written down and then converted into a training course...

It always takes more time to train someone remotely

Ugh! Surely they can afford to fly you out to Bangalore for a week?!

Whenever we set up outsourced projects with my previous employer, we would fly out there as a team for a week and give them a brain-dump on what's going on, who owns what (project responsibilities), tools used, schedules, deadlines, what's expected, ...

I don't see how you could do that remotely.

Errol Groff
05-25-2011, 01:04 PM
I too have had my share of woe with Indian tech support. However a recent difficulty with my email had me talking to a young fellow at ATT tech support in the Phillipines. He was able to talk me through a very difficult sequence of keystrokes wich resolved my problem.

A most professional and enjoyable experience.

Errol Groff

RB211
05-25-2011, 02:13 PM
Try teaching an Indian kid to fly an airplane who is only doing it for a piece of paper.

tmbg
05-25-2011, 03:17 PM
oh lord, I've been in the pattern with some of those indian flight training students, sharing airspace with them is truly terrifying

Ryobiguy
05-25-2011, 03:49 PM
I don't know why the Western companies don't simply train them adequately -- there's an endless supply of young, highly educated Indians. But I guess that kills the profit motive...

If we were to train them adequately, they'd quit and find higher paying jobs. Turnover kills training, and at my job (software development) they have left and left and we keep having to retrain them. I think over there is somewhat like it was here in tech during the dot com boom, where there are tons of jobs and lots of churn as companies from all over the world are outsourcing there.
Edit: BTW I imagine you know Lazlo: education level alone doesn't make a good programmer.

Also, I heard that the culture is such that they view the software engineering as just a stepping stone to becoming a manager. To me that means they are wasting our time, doing something they obviously don't care about. I suppose that isn't different than over here, maybe I am just disgusted with people who don't have a love for what they're doing.

dhammer
05-25-2011, 04:39 PM
I buy all of my puter stuff from a local mom and pop computer store. Computers, printers, whatever..I buy from them. They advertise that "English is their first language". Any problems..need help, they fix it..no charge. These folks buy or use my services also..any problems, I fix it..no charge. I know I pay more in the beginning..it is worth every penny.

Alistair Hosie
05-25-2011, 04:50 PM
Better keeping these jobs in english speaking countries in the first place I really hate telephoning aol because I know I'll be there for an hour or more half of which I will be asking the operator to repeat themselves.I'ts also really embarrassing from the outset.At a certain time when indians go to be I assume we get calls diverted to ireland they have a strong accent too but I can understand them quite easily.A lot of people are very angry about it Alistair

JanvanSaane
05-25-2011, 05:17 PM
I asked if he could use the words "green" and "yellow" in a sentence so I could catch onto his dialect. He said sure, "The telephone goes green, green, green, I peak it up and say, yellow! Don't know where I heard that but thought it was funny. I wanted a scope a few years back, found one online at a decent price so I called, the guy that answered the 800 number sounded like osama bin laden,, I ordered the scope thru Midway. Jan

loose nut
05-25-2011, 06:22 PM
The jobs will pay three times as much as those in India. Friend called that investment an opportunity for the company's customer service division to shine. "While this is more expensive, I think it is good business for Carbonite," he said.

What, $1.50 a day

gr8life
05-25-2011, 11:44 PM
Last year I had a problem w/ a new HP computer, after hours on the phone w/ Dick & Jane in the land of curry I never got my problem solved, hired someone local.
I did write HP 2 letters and here is the last paragraph of the second.

As a closing note I saw a TV program about fast food restaurants and their remote order takers for the drive in windows located in another city. During an interview they asked the operator of the company if they would ever out source to another country. Answer NO. Reason command of the language. I guess hamburger customers get better service than computer customers and that is why they come back.

thanks
ed

Michael Moore
05-27-2011, 04:01 PM
Better keeping these jobs in english speaking countries in the first place

FWIW, I think that India is the largest country with English as an official language.

cheers,
Michael

The Artful Bodger
05-27-2011, 04:22 PM
FWIW, I think that India is the largest country with English as an official language.

cheers,
Michael


I suggest the English spoken in India is more intelligible than the 'English' spoken in much of the US.

jkilroy
05-27-2011, 07:30 PM
Oh yeah thats right, the fella's from down under are Soooooo easy to understand! :D

The Artful Bodger
05-27-2011, 08:18 PM
Oh yeah thats right, the fella's from down under are Soooooo easy to understand! :D


That is so true, I can go to India, Pakistan, Singapore, England, Scotland, even Australia and I can order food in a restaurant without any issues but just watch me trying not to starve in small-town USA.:rolleyes:

lakeside53
05-27-2011, 08:31 PM
yep.. That's how I felt 25 years ago! ;) Chicken fried steak? Where is the damn chicken? grits - you eat those?

saltmine
05-27-2011, 09:42 PM
I donno. When I needed Tech Support for a program in my computer, I called their help line. Luckily, I'd been there before, so I had my telephone headset on when I dialed the number. (If you don't, your arm will get plenty tired before you get anywhere with these people.)

I was shuffled through a bunch of automated answerers, and eventually ended up speaking with a guy who told me his name was "Chad" and asked me in a very thick East Indian accent "what problem I had was happening?"
Having been there before, I requested a different agent, and got a woman who seemed to speak in a heavily accented Middle Eastern dialect...
After a half-an-hour of asking them to repeat what they said, turn up the volume, and give me another person...I ended up hanging up on them, and went to their web-site. There, I got another Indian, but with a text box that I could read. We eventually solved my issue (2 hours and 45 minutes later)
I guess this is why some of these companies are moving their call centers back to the good 'ol USA...BTW, I recently found out that this company no longer markets or services their computer products in the US....I wonder why? Uh....you want fries with that?

Yow Ling
05-27-2011, 10:23 PM
Maybe the real problem is you guys dont like Indians Chinese or most non American speakers. These people arent as stupid as you portray them to be. Watch almost any reality tv from the good ol USA, you will find that the lift goes all the way to the basement.
So one company has reversed their decision to outsource, at least another 10 will have gone the other way since.

KiloBravo
05-28-2011, 05:00 AM
Maybe the real problem is you guys dont like Indians Chinese or most non American speakers. These people arent as stupid as you portray them to be. Watch almost any reality tv from the good ol USA, you will find that the lift goes all the way to the basement.
So one company has reversed their decision to outsource, at least another 10 will have gone the other way since.

Wow, 52 posts and already insulting everyone on the list :eek:

No one said anyone was stupid. I believe the bulk of the comments said they were not trained properly and their language skills were lacking.

and if you believe "Reality TV" depicts life in the US, I would say your lift is in the basement :)

Highpower
05-28-2011, 05:49 AM
That is so true, I can go to India, Pakistan, Singapore, England, Scotland, even Australia and I can order food in a restaurant without any issues but just watch me trying not to starve in small-town USA.:rolleyes:I had to spend a week in Palatine, Illinois for some training a few years ago. If you ever visit, you better bone up on your Spanish if you want to order a meal there. Unbelievable... :rolleyes:

Rustybolt
05-28-2011, 07:46 AM
and if you believe "Reality TV" depicts life in the US, I would say your lift is in the basement.


Unfortunately most of what people around the world believe about the U.S. is garnered from our television shows.
Hint: reality TV, isn't.
I suppose I could conclude a lot of things about the average Brit by watching BBC America. Or the tourists I've encountered in Florida.

Deus Machina
05-28-2011, 07:47 AM
Maybe the real problem is you guys dont like Indians Chinese or most non American speakers. These people arent as stupid as you portray them to be. Watch almost any reality tv from the good ol USA, you will find that the lift goes all the way to the basement.

The shrinking percentage of intelligent Americans feel exactly the same way about 'reality' TV. Don't judge us based on that, for the love of all that is holy.

And, no, it's not that we don't like non-English speakers. If they were 'stupid', they would have a job inserting Part A into Slot B, if that, not working a helpdesk. As mentioned, it's because we're frustrated at the lack of training and the complete inability to communicate when that is by far the largest part of your job description.

I'm in Florida, where it's gotten to the point that I often have to deal with outright hostility because I don't speak Spanish. I'm frustrated--I try to deal with Spanish, and get someone to help in the common occasion that I can't--but feel just fine letting the Puerto Rican mechanic change my tires when I get the problem translated, but I wouldn't test my horrible bland middle-of-America accent and utter lack of knowledge of the language by trying to explain to a cosmonaut how to repair a leaking airlock over the phone. I don't have the language skills, and only a vague idea on the procedure. And that involves duct tape.

For instance, I do have an Australian friend that helps me a little on a lot of my projects, and he's an incredibly bright guy. I value his input, we laugh and joke, and he is amazingly eloquent--because 99% of our interaction is in text. I've heard him give an overview of his garage-built smelter, that needed subtitles.

Then there's the insult of an obviously Indian-based call center, employing people who are obviously Indian, telling you "Hello, I am Charles from Texas." There's something about someone whose job is to help you, being encouraged or even instructed to lie directly to you.

And of companies started in America, housed in America, providing services mostly or solely to Americans, moving their tech support and manufacturing to countries they don't even offer their product in, until an American with an education and a decade of experience gets fired and finds they need a bachelor's degree to flip burgers.

It's frustration is all it is.

TRX
05-31-2011, 07:11 AM
But they have no training about the product or service they're supposed to be supporting -- you can hear them flipping pages in a book. The Western companies are simply paying bottom dollar for tech support.

That's because most companies put tech support in the "expenses" category, as a straight loss of money to the company. They make tech support hard to get to, and the experience bad enough to disincline customers to call back, with the idea that this saves them money.

These same companies will spend millions of dollars on advertising, facelifting their buildings, or refitting their lobbies... they forget that the "support contact" is possibly their only interaction with a customer. You can't see their trophy secretary, their landscaped grounds, or their corporate statements on the phone. In most cases, the support crew is the corporate "face" of the company to its customers... and it actively works to drive them away.


Of course, in many companies the sales department works similarly. If I have to make four calls to leave unanswered voicemail, and never even get a reply to email just to make a purchase, I start to wonder what it might be like if I had a problem instead of a desire to make a purchase. And I move on to the next company...

JoeLee
05-31-2011, 07:37 AM
To compound the issue of the heavy accent they use those cheap VOX head sets and the delay time between transmit and receive, it's like you start to talk and at the same time the person on the other end does and you get no where, very aggrevating.

JL....................

Mcgyver
05-31-2011, 07:57 AM
You can't see their trophy secretary, their landscaped grounds, or their corporate statements on the phone. In most cases, the support crew is the corporate "face" of the company to its customers... and it actively works to drive them away.


This is a key point. In business you're supposed to consider outsourcing if the activity isn't strategic; whether you do it or someone else it isn't core to the value of the service or product. That implies its something that you don't have special abilities at, that someone else can do it just as well - when you can characterize something that way its actually something that you should consider outsourcing.

...but it makes no sense for a business to decide that interacting with their customers is not strategic, that's its not a core activity or thinking someone else could do a better job. I suggest its a strategic error, more hubris that smart thinking. "Our product service is so good we don't need to interact with the customer." BS, no service product is that good or sustainable and the business is better with customer loyalty and a positive experience. Outsourcing customer interaction damages the brand and cuts you off from knowing what the market is thinking and new product ideas. As was mentioned, look at the ad spend.... but to save a few $$ lets isolate ourselves from market and customer. Dumb, imo.