The Problem With Out Sourcing

During my time at San Francisco, CA for Elite Retreat, I experienced a lot of big problems with outsourcing… and surprisingly enough, none of it had to do with actually being in California. Out sourcing sucks for everyone that is losing a job as a result of it, but it also sucks for everyone using it… especially when you can’t even understand the person on the other line. In the end, companies outsource and save a few bucks, and the consumer will usually get screwed in the end. Here are a few issues I had with outsourcing over the past week.

Google Support
Just yesterday I talked about how I was sent an email from Google Support on how they appreciate me working with them and information on how to visit their headquarters… only to later find out I would immediately be asked to leave. What is the problem here? If my Google account manager was located within the United States or did some research, this would not have been a problem. I understand that Google is a worldwide company, but they should specialize in providing county specific responses. The response I got from Google on visiting their offices, was someone located in India.

US Airways Customer Support Hell Trap
Also mentioned in yesterday’s post was how I had to extend my flight plans. When I called US Airways to make the change to my account, they told me it would be a $100 transfer fee per ticket. The next day I was looking at my American Express statement and saw there were four charges from US Airways, two for $100 each, then another two for $468.50 each. I quickly called US Airways to find what these additional charges were. They said it was the result of changing over to a new flight in such a short time period. I (nor anyone else) would ever approve charges like this for one day extra to their travel plans.

Now, this is where the outsourcing problem comes in. I had a serious problem here and needed this to be fixed immediately as my flight was just a few hours away. My morning began in US Airways hell, calling multiple times and talking with someone from a different country and ascent every call. Every call was also a waste for the first several minutes, as I had to explain the situation to representatives just reading off of their procedure forms. I even tried talking with upper management and supervisors, but was then getting attitudes and still no help.

It wasn’t till my fourth try that I finally stopped calling them and had to step away for a minute. Frustrated, I had Reena call them and see who see would get this time in the game of who’s going to pickup this outsourced call?! Amazingly enough, Reena was able to talk with someone that redirected her to their supervisor (named Richard), who actually cared and spoke clear English. Everything was going smooth, and then the call went dead… the phone had died. I gave Reena my phone and she called back asking to be redirect to Richard, but was told it’s a cycle of representative from around the world and it could not be traced! Amazingly enough, after Reena was disconnected, Richard still was trying to make the change and remove these charges from the account. The representative that Reena was currently on the phone with saw the changes and let her know.

After all of the drama with US Airways outsourced support (besides Richard), I probably will never be use them again. I had to fly with US Airways this time only because I had a voucher to use, which was limited only to their company.

What’s the point of this post? Besides my rant on how outsourcing can really suck and screw over the support and relationship between customers and a company, it’s also to bring the situation to light and let others share their experiences as well. Outsourcing for products, fulfillment or labor is one thing, but person-to-person support really sucks. How has your experience over the years been with outsourced companies?

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  1. I had visited the google india office where people were telling that the support staff was being mostly shifted to India in two branches, not a good decision. Now how would they know about the schedule and things of the American people?

  2. I was thinking of outsourcing to New Jersey. The only problem is that I can never understand a word they say! Same thing with the Britts though. 😉


  3. Talk about failures in the systems of these companies… I used to have to deal with Dell support in India *alot* and would rather gouge out my eyes. Your experience is probably why the American based airlines are not ranked good compared to the rest of the airlines.

    In my own business today I use a slick program called sufaq which can handle the bulk of the customer support issues automatically. It’s not perfect but it takes care of the 80% time waster support issues.


  4. Zac – I feel for you. I'm in the same outsource hell, except with my phone company. I switched form one to another, and the other is pure crap. I can't speak to anyone that understands my issue. They hang-up on me, they can't fix any of the problems the worst part is that I can't speak to someone from their head-office!!! I get routed to their call center in India afterwhich everything goes down hill. Customer service? I don't think they know what it means.

  5. yea. Most customer service outsourcing centers are low quality. have you ever called the linsys customer support. It will make you bite your own arm!

  6. I used to work for a software company that was bitten by the outsource bug. The problem is that when a company gets too big, it's all about processes and numbers, and not about people. A senior manager will look at his spreadsheet and see that he (or she) can get 3 outsourced people for the price of one locally. This looks like a good deal. However, as this senior manager is locked away in the ivory towers, he has no idea if the quality of the service has gone down. He most likely doesn't care, as he's only looking to the next financial quarter, not the long term. I actually don't have a problem with outsourcing. However, a company has to decide what it's key purpose and mission are. If customer service is one of them, you DO NOT OUTSOURCE it. You must keep it inhouse for quality control. If you want to hire Indian engineers, than open up an office in India where you can at least install your own culture, as opposed to outsourcing it to a company that supports tennis balls, airlines, tax software, and god knows what else.

    Thanks for the post Zac!

    – Dave

  7. I guess the conservative thinking that the person who in charge should be in the place is right…

  8. I hate when I run into scenarios like that. It's too bad when a company throws their customers under the bus for a few bucks.

  9. I agree to above post to a certain extent. Basically outsourcing everything is a bad move, instead the strategy corporate should use is right-sourcing. Customer support, people telling directions on the phone, marketing, sales and all these jobs should be 100% local. Logic is obvious. Jobs like writing a program, providing back-end support etc can be done better and much cheaper if outsourced to India and other countries.

  10. Out sourcing can be deadly. I have had phone operators from India that I could not even understand. I like the French Menu option, that may be the way to go.

  11. Bell Canada outsources it internet tech support to India. The funny thing is that I called and the guy on the phone solved my problem in about one minute. That was the shocking part. Regarding US Airways I'd try to use Southwest or Jet Blue if I was flying inside the USA.

  12. Outsourcing is a tough call, but the reality often is that doing things here in the States is just not cost effective. Doing tech work, or getting content completed overseas is sometimes the ONLY way to secure a job, thus providing work for the actual company employees here in country. Nobody wins all the time.

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