Call Center Hiring Featured Article
Bringing Jobs Back to the US
October 12, 2010
By Rob Duncan, Chief Operating Officer, Alpine Access
Last week, legislation was introduced to the House of Representatives, requiring companies to disclose when their customer service calls are routed to overseas call centers. According to a press release by Congressman Tim Bishop, motivations behind this bill (H.R. 6309) include preserving domestic call centers, addressing privacy concerns and bringing work back to America. “Given proper information, most Americans would prefer that their dollars help keep their neighbor in a good job,” said Congressman Bishop. This bill is the latest in a recent flurry of government activity aimed at supporting the US call center industry and stimulating related job growth. The topic has experienced elevated levels of attention recently due to the economic climate and pending political elections.
In a time when 14.8 million workers remain unemployed, according to the US Dept. of Labor, it is understandable that government officials are honing in on initiatives to aid industries with the potential to employ more Americans. Based on the latest figures from market research firm, Datamonitor, there are an estimated 243,000 offshore agents currently handling calls from U.S. consumers. Imagine, if just a quarter of these overseas jobs were to be brought back onshore? It would create tens of thousands of jobs across the nation.
Demand for onshore and homeshore services has begun to increase in the past few years. Companies are rethinking their initial offshoring decisions because of unrealized cost savings, poor service quality and customer frustration. In fact, according to CFI Group’s 2010 Contact Center Satisfaction Index, customers who perceived their calls were handled offshore were 27 percent less satisfied than those who believed they reached a US worker. This customer backlash has forced companies to realize that providing high quality customer service is the best way to improve long-term profitability. However, while the business community has already begun to bring call center jobs back to the United States. on their own accord, it is often a slow process – too slow for some government officials.
Over the past few years, multiple bills have been introduced at the local, state and federal levels to bring overseas call center jobs back to the United States. My company, Alpine Access, has not lobbied for any anti-offshoring legislation and we do not officially endorse or oppose any of the proposals. However, with an employment base of more than two million workers, the US call center industry, including companies like Alpine Access that only hire US workers, would likely benefit from the passage of these bills.
Historically, proposed legislation has come in two forms: (1) attaching a stigma to offshore work by requiring companies to inform callers where their call is being handled and (2) mandating that certain call types or service functions be performed in a specific, domestic region or state. Recently, there’s been an uptick in a third form of legislation that takes more of a “carrot” approach, providing financial incentives and rewards to companies that hire and employ US call center workers.
Examples of location-disclosure legislation include:
Examples of location-specific legislation include:
Examples of incentive or “carrot” type of legislation include:
Rob Duncan is COO of Alpine Access, Inc., a Denver, Colorado-based provider of contact center services using exclusively home-based customer service and sales employees.Duncan can be reached at 303-279-0585.
Edited by Jaclyn Allard
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