Saturday, July 25, 2020

In the Absense of Good It Must be Outsourced

Twenty years ago as a local reporter, I listened as each level of government and private sector business made the case for outsourcing its low level jobs  In my mind there was no substitute for the lady at the front desk or the bottom level jack-of-all-trades that knew more about the company than the person with the big title and matching paycheck.  
 
Now two decades later, I am sad to report that everything I feared during those early discussion of cost-cutting and grand promises has come to pass.  More inefficient and costly than ever before, outsourcing has become a tangled web of push button menus and perky voices that speak from scripts and follow a questionable problem-solving path. 
 
The image here was 'borrowed" from a company website Outsourcing Insights.  The website was chosen totally at random and with no prior experience on my part.  And while I may not think much of the practice of 'outsourcing', the use of this symbol in no way indicates that the business is anything but professional. Illustrating the complexity of the outsourcing model better that I could do in a 1000 words or less, the image shows two computer users bridging some type of communication gap with multiple tools and people. 
 
My question has always been - How does involving more people in off-site locations who know nothing about you as a customer save time and money? Perhaps it works for the business but as a customer, I can't quite agree with the philosophy. 

Outsource was a natural offspring of the computer age that was necessary to support a world population that has tripled since the 1950s.  It wasn't about making something better, it was about creating work for all those people who were willing to work for low wages and benefits. 

Tell me again why the single income household is a bad idea.  Certainly, I wanted to do something with my life besides dust and do dishes but it seems like we could have come up with something better than spending countless hours on a phone talking to a person who is simply looking at a computer screen and trying to find an answer to a problem he/she has never even experienced. 

As we get a break from the pandemic over the summer, it will be interesting to see if customer service and call centers will become even more dysfunctional or whether they will actually become helpful. 

As much as I hope, customer service improves, I think it will take more than a few months of forced online shopping to do the trick. 😉


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