When I landed in Barbados to take a look at hiring a local call center, the last thing on my mind was whether I would be displacing American workers in favor of Caribbean workers. My job at the time required me to find the best contact center provider at the best price. Period. Like so many before me and after me, I was on a mission to provide better value for my company and I would go just about anywhere to deliver on that objective.(More on “my story” in future posts.)
That’s the part that I find missing in the great, renewed debate about “offshoring US jobs.” There is understandable angst about US jobs going overseas, but when we look at the functions of a contact center we’re ultimately talking about how to make the sponsoring client stronger. Whether Verizon, Delta Airlines or multiple other Fortune 2000 firms, these organizations are in business to service shareholders with an overriding goal of producing profits and creating products that engender long-term value. Yes they are American companies, but each operates in intensely competitive industries that require creative approaches to meet customer requirements, grow market share and craft and roll-out innovative services.
When customer service executives representing US companies show up in MoBay’s tax-free zone, in the streets of San Juan, or down in Bridgetown, their focus is on extending and reinforcing the relationship customers have with their brand. It’s not a question of jobs, it’s a question of providing globalized tools to meet the global market conditions of the 21st century.
There are obviously undercurrents of prejudice and protectionist hostilities running through this debate. Bob Evans, senior VP and Global CIO at US-based TechWeb shares some candid remarks on the incredibly important role global partnerships and collaborations deliver back to US firms in a post sent out today.
In the reactionary tones of the outsourcing hysteria, it will be interesting to see if there are new classifications in the works to portray friendly neighbors like Puerto Rico as more pleasing to do outsouring business with rather than a Jamaica or Dominican Republic? Our suggestion is to stick to rational facts – examine hard data and hard dollars in your evaluation of potential partners. The emotion of the day will eventually subside, but will business leaders see through the current discord with enough dispassionate clarity to make sound judgements?