Lost in the translation?

Filed in by Lizetta Staplefoote | December 15, 2008 6:05 am

To reduce labor costs, many businesses are relocating customer support operations to places like India, China, or Eastern Europe. The move may trim corporate bottom lines but customers often pay the price in the form of communication disasters and potential security issues. Trying to communicate regarding mission critical activities with someone who lacks a firm grasp on the English language can be maddening. With offices located on the other side of the world, distance and lack of control over day to day operations may prolong the identification of problems and leave holes in security. For example:
• Dell made the decision[1] to transfer customer support overseas, they saved money but immediately felt the ire of customers who had difficulty communicating their issues and getting resolution from reps whose primary language is not English. They promptly moved their support activities back to the U.S.
• After moving customer support overseas[2], a skateboard manufacturer quickly found the terminology in their demographic changed so rapidly that the foreign reps could not keep up. While they spoke English, the reps could not effectively support customers because they did not understand the nuances and slang of the language.
• As of July 2008 India, a major outsourcing location, had no comprehensive privacy law[3] relating to securing private data. So, if your private information is compromised by an Indian company, it may result in the loss of a contract but not legal penalties.
The Mailtrust Support Team spans secure offices in Texas and Virginia. We know that the most important part of support is communication. So, when you are choosing a partner for outsourcing vital parts of your business, look beyond price. Be sure you investigate who is going to answer the phone when you need help or you may find yourself lost in the translation.

Endnotes:
  1. Dell made the decision: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001_3-5182611.html
  2. After moving customer support overseas: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A03E5D7103DF93BA35751C1A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all
  3. no comprehensive privacy law: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62043470,00.htm

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