No big surprise: Outsourcing causes bad customer service.

An article today on CNN.com titled "A Penny Saved, A Customer Spurned" talks about the hidden cost of outsourcing - it causes customers to change to another vendor.

Having dealt with a number of outsourced call centers, I wholeheartedly agree. Over the telephone, good communication skills are absolutely vital. While I'm sure there are a number of very intelligent non-native english speakers across the globe, I've yet to run into one at a foreign call center. When you really think about it, what qualified intelligent person wants to work in a call center?

So what you get is the Indian/Asian version of a $10-$15 an hour worker in the US. The difference being that their English isn't at the same level at all, and there is a great cultural divide. Most of the time, it's like talking to a robot - they just keep reading from a script. In fact, I've had better customer service from some of the robotic systems with voice recognition.

Companies spend an enormous amount of time, money and effort searching for new customers. They compete fiercely to get the contract. But then they throw it all away to save a few dollars on the administration end? It just doesn't make sense. Customer retention should be a MAJOR priority. Especially as the world becomes more global and competitive.