Word Warriors Public Speaking Club

Friday, September 5, 2008

Where has all the customer service gone?

If you are a consumer or even a small business owner, you buy products from many different companies, either at a physical store location or online. Most companies are all about making the biggest profit they can without raising their prices to an unreasonable amount if at all possible. The easiest way for most to provide their shareholders with the biggest profit is to outsource to other countries.

I know that I am not the first person to deal with other countries customer service skills but why would you outsource to other countries when it degrades your connection with the client? I saw an advertisement while looking through last months issue of Website Magazine for a company in Panama who you can outsource your customer service representation needs. The cost for their service: $10 an hour, no social security, no medicare, no workers compensation. For $240 a day, you can have someone in another country who has no clue what the customs and courtesies are in America answer your phones and save your shareholders money but at what cost?

Some of you may be like me and are fed up with calling for assistance for a product and getting someone with a thick accent. When you outsource to other countries, you put your shareholders first and your customers second. Outsourcing may save you money but it also takes away American jobs and makes your customers angry. Your repeat customers will look elsewhere for their products and you will eventually lose business.

Here is a foamy cartoon that satirizes outsourcing of a computer companies technical support:

If you have a business and you are hiring customer service representatives in another country, you are shortchanging your customers. There are many jobs that require people to speak where you can understand them and customer service is one of them. You wouldn't hire someone with a thick, barely understood accent to do a keynote address or to conduct a lecture so why would you do it to your customers?

Outsourcing is just wrong and the government should place restrictions on these countries who are reaching across our borders and stealing our jobs out from under us. Stopping the outsourcing of American jobs starts with the small business owner and ends with big business following suit.

I hear people complaining in my small town of Yucca Valley about Super Wal-Mart moving in and how it is going to cause a lot of small business owners to close their doors. I have one suggestion for those small business owners, "Stop blaming your unsuccessful navigation of the business market on your competitors." I have been to many small businesses in the area where I live and their customer service skills are deplorable.

Has everyone forgot about the customer? It seems that most businesses have forgotten who pays their bills and personally, I prefer to go with businesses that don't neglect the consumer and add a personal touch to their business. That is why I don't believe for a minute that these small business owners will be put out of business by big box stores. Whether customer service is shipped overseas to India, Panama or Russia, there is one thing to remember, your skills in dealing with your customers coupled with all the usual business stuff is usually what makes or breaks your business.

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