Compare Call Center Services in India vs. US-Based Call Centers
The idea of outsourcing call center services is hardly revolutionary; this is something many American businesses have been doing for decades.
However, more and more businesses are looking at the feasibility of utilizing U.S.-based call centers over the predominantly Indian-based facilities. The question then becomes, how do American call centers compare to those in India?
What Does an India-Based Call Center Offer?
One of the reasons so many companies chose to outsource their call centers to India in the first place is the fact that the workers in these facilities are highly qualified, receive excellent training, are IT literate, well-educated, and tech savvy. Not only that, India has the world's second largest English-speaking population (second to the United States', of course). In addition, the majority of these workers are college-educated yet still work for a fraction of the cost.
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With such a booming call center industry, India created a rich support network around it, with up-to-the-minute technology, ample training for all employees, and proven processes and procedures. They also expand their offerings, so that you find a single call center capable of performing both inbound and outbound call center services, providing tech support, disaster recovery services, and support chat and email services. What's more, even India's government supports this industry, offering substantial tax breaks and devoting significant resources to building supportive infrastructure.
U.S.-based organizations also appreciate the 12-hour time difference between the two countries, which allows them to offer their customers 24/7 service. The companies outsourcing to India-based call centers get this 24/7 service for around half the price they pay for U.S.-based call centers.
What Are the Advantages of a U.S.-Based Call Center?
Keeping your call center stateside has its own benefits. Topping the list is the improved comfort level American customers feel speaking to a "local." Even when caller and operator live in different states, they share a culture that is uniquely American.
One of the metrics used to rate call center operators is building rapport with the customer. No matter how well trained an Indian employee is, he or she does not share the same colloquialisms and perspectives as an American. That does not mean that one culture is superior to another, only that building that sense of rapport is easier between two people able to make idle chitchat about the weather, regional news, or recent holidays while the employee pulls up the customer's account information.
That sense of comfort extends to up- and cross-sell opportunities. Many people fear identity theft or worry about the privacy of their personal information. Logical or not, these fears often become amplified when callers speak to operators from a different country. In many instances, up- and cross-sell opportunities are lost with these customers.
U.S. Benefits Beyond Shared Culture
One of people's most frequent complaints regarding overseas call centers is the language barrier. Even though Indian operators speak fluent English, many callers complain that they either have difficulty understanding the call center employee or have trouble communicating their issue in a way the employee understands. These communication issues lead to dissatisfied customers and may even cause the customer to take his or her business elsewhere. You can also be sure that customer tells others about the experience. If nothing else, it uses more resources if customers need to call repeatedly to solve an issue, or spend 15 minutes on a call for an issue that could have been solved in three.
Overseas brands looking to expand their American presence often find that outsourcing their call center in America helps familiarize U.S. citizens with their brand. When stateside customers call and hear a familiar voice, they often feel a greater sense of trust in the "new" brand, facilitating its U.S. growth.
Finally, a U.S.-based call center is simply closer to the company outsourcing its customer service functions. If you need to conduct trainings or want to drop in to conduct a quality control check, it's both easier and cheaper to do so with a U.S.-based facility. This is especially powerful for organizations looking for a call center's employees to develop in-depth familiarity with their brand, products, and services.
The Bottom Line
If you choose to outsource your call center services but don't know whether you want to go to India or "buy American," you have pros and cons on both sides.
Answering the question of which option is better depends on your business's unique needs. If your main goal is saving money and you know your customers aren't going anywhere no matter who answers their calls, you'll probably prefer the lower prices in India. If your goal is building a rapport with customers and a reputation for keeping jobs in America, you might decide a U.S.-based call center is worth the extra cost.