An Easy Call to Make

Doing business overseas may not seem like an attractive proposition right now, but companies have no qualms about using offshore call centers, according to Forrester Research Inc.’s third report in its CRM Status series, “Consultants and Offshore Satisfy Users.” Of the 111 large North American firms surveyed, nearly a fourth plan to outsource their call center operations this year, a 50% jump in the number of companies that report outsourcing those activities in 2002. Although only 12.6% of the respondents expect to move their call centers offshore in 2003, 90% of the businesses that already use foreign facilities plan to boost their usage. The researchers caution that for U.S. merchants considering offshore outsourcing, the best option is to begin with e-mail and then go on to Web chat and phone, because the latter two service channels are becoming more expensive to staff overseas and difficult to monitor for quality.

“Over the next 15 years, 3.3 million jobs will move offshore to lower-cost regions like India, the Philippines, and China,” notes the Forrester report. “While many of the initial efforts focus on cost reductions, most firms using overseas providers are pleased with the quality levels.” For more information, visit www.forrester.com.

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