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Dell To Move Some Support Centers Back To US

Dell To Move Some Support Centers Back To US

by , 12:00 PM EST, November 25th, 2003

Eh? What's that you say?

Even if you don't work in the Information Technology (IT) business you likely know that many companies have been moving some of their IT services, like call-center help, engineering, and design offshore to save money. Businesses like Dell, who offer around the clock customer support, reduced operating costs by setting up shop in other countries, like India where there is a large, well educated pool of workers willing to do the same job as their US counterparts for a fraction of the pay. While such moves may enhance a company's bottom line, they don't necessarily make everyone smile; least of whom are those US workers who have lost jobs to off-shore workers.

The Associated Press has released a story that says that Dell is moving some of it calls centers, currently based in Bangalore, India, back to the US. The reason? Corporate customers are having trouble understanding the India-accented call center help. From the article Dell to Stop Using Indian Call Center for Corporate Customers:

Some US customers have complained that the Indian technical-support representatives are difficult to communicate with because of thick accents and scripted responses.

Tech support for corporate customers with Optiplex desktop and Latitude notebook computers will instead be handled from call centers in Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, Dell spokesman Jon Weisblatt said Monday.

Calls from some home PC owners will continue to be handled by the technical support center in Bangalore, India, and Weisblatt said Dell has no plans to scale back the operation there.

"Customers weren't satisfied with the level of support they were receiving, so we're moving some calls around to make sure they don't feel that way anymore," Weisblatt said. He would not discuss the nature of the dissatisfaction with the call center in Bangalore.

Stop by the Associated Press affiliate, The Seattle Times, for more information.

In a related story: CNN is reporting that offshore sites for tech services will double in the coming year. From the CNN article US to double offshore tech services?:

US technology services market will double its usage of low-cost countries next year, but much of the work will still be captured by US providers as they beef up their operations abroad, market research firm IDC said. The offshore spending component of the U.S. technology services market will rise to 10 percent of the total spending, or $16.3 billion, in 2003. IDC also expects offshore spending to more than quadruple to $46 billion, or 23 percent of the total, by 2007. Indeed, much of the U.S. services market growth, projected by IDC to be 6.1 percent a year, will ultimately be delivered by workers in countries such as India, China and Russia. In contrast, work being done domestically will increase merely 3 percent in the next four years.

Get the full story at

The Mac Observer Spin:

While there is little reason for those who've lost jobs to offshore workers to rejoice, they may find a bit of poetic justice in this story. Globalization, it seems, cannot bridge many cultural and social gaps, and customer service relies heavily on both. Some jobs just can't be handled offshore; a notion the Dell has become aware of.

IT jobs that don't require interacting with the public, like engineering, may still wind up offshore, however, as more and more companies try to find ways to cut costs. It is a trend that may not abate for some time.

What we find interesting too is that Dell's non-business customers still have to put up with heavily accented call center support, and it is likely that home users are the group of people who could benefit most from support without a language barrier: Many home users are not technically inclined, so they are already at a disadvantage when they make a call for support. Home consumers are likely frustrated when they call, and trying to explain a problem to someone who may not completely understand you, or you, him, can only add to the frustration.

It will be interesting to see how Apple deals with the cost of providing support as it moves further into the corporate arena. So far, Apple has resisted the trend of moving its support offshore.

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