There: Overseas call centers go to great lengths to help their staffs
Joseph McCafferty, CFO Magazine | posted November 03, 2004
It's no secret that American companies outsource call centers to
lower-cost locales. But customers often have no idea whether they
are speaking with an operator in Baltimore or Bangalore. That's
because overseas call centers go to great lengths to help their
staffs sound American, teaching them American accents and colloquialisms
like "OK" and "no problem."
David Butler, of the University of Southern Mississippi, says
operators also learn the names of U.S. sports teams and use American-sounding
names. "They are trying to connect with callers," he
are also trying to avoid hang-ups. A survey by BenchmarkPortal
Inc. found that 65 percent of American consumers would change
their buying behavior if they learned a company was using an offshore
call center. So it's not surprising, says Butler, that some operators
are taught to lie and say they are located in a U.S. city if asked.
nothing inherently wrong with accent neutralization. It helps
communication," says Don Van Doren, president of consultancy
Vanguard Communications. "But when it gets deceptive, it
can be damaging. You don't want conversations to start from a
position of mistrust."