Call center outsourcing to India has received more than its fair share of attention from the media and the American public.
But the fervor for outsourcing customer service to India is most intense in the business community as more and more companies explore the possibility of transferring their customer service requirements to offshore providers.
India-based call centers offer several distinct advantages over in-house customer service departments. Although reduced cost is the most widely know benefit, companies that outsource to India also gain the ability to budget more accurately and to easily adjust their call center resources based on seasonal variations.
However, there are also certain challenges that need to be addressed before you can begin outsourcing your customer service to India. Some challenges are obvious while others are far from intuitive.
- Talent restrictions. Among offshore customer service outsourcing locales, India has a reputation for providing talented call center staff. But don't expect the same range of talent that is available when you employ customer service reps in the U.S., especially when it comes to staffing middle management positions.
- Longer training. A shallow middle management talent pool means that you will need to invest more time in training managers and acclimating them to your corporate climate. However, even entry-level call center workers require a longer training period because in addition to learning fundamental customer service skills, they need to learn how to bridge cultural gaps.
- Attrition & recruitment. India-based customer service providers experience fairly high attrition rates, particularly during the first 120 days of employment. Recruitment is constant and you'll want to make sure your provider is recruiting the right people to minimize turnover.
- Cultural hurdles. Customer service workers in India often find it difficult to adapt to cultural nuances of American customers. Language is an issue, but call center workers also need to be trained to understand the perspectives and concerns of U.S. consumers.
- Telecom connectivity. The technology involved with offshore customer service outsourcing has improved significantly. Although telecom systems are standardized, you may still encounter glitches in your partnership with an India-based outsourcing provider.