Your Call Is Important to Us

Your Call Is Important to Us is the title of a new blog topic by the Montreal Gazette tech reporter Roberto Rocha. When we hear those words, so often we are in for a disappointing experience. The latest post would seem to be in that vein since it deals with “Outsourcing Call Centers“.

The post covers short interviews with Ellen Roseman, a consumer affairs columnist for the Toronto Star, and Troy Crandall, a telecom analyst for brokerage MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier. As might be expected, both are critical.

Ellen Roseman recounts the following:

I get a lot of complaints from Bell Sympatico customers, and of all Bell divisions, it?s the most outsourced to India. Also, Bell doesn?t take calls after business hours, while other Internet providers have 24-hour service. You?d think going to India would allow them more time zone coverage.

Troy Crandall talks in a similar way:

But with call centres it?s different. Sometimes they are very out of touch with the products they?re dealing with. There may also be a language or accent issue. It depends on the people you hire. It should be evaluated to make sure outsourcers have people with the right language qualifications.

Scottrade avoids such criticisms through its Real People Strategy.

Scottrade does not have a customer service department. All of its 1,700 employees are customer service representatives. For example, there is no IVR system for customer calls. Every call to the 800 number gets routed to the local branch nearest to the caller. Branch employees handle the calls themselves.

That seems an extreme solution that few other companies will adopt. Modern technology for IVR (intelligent voice response) would seem to provide the most effective compromise. Good caller experiences can be delivered at much lower costs.

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