Call Center Training: How Call Center Jobs are Returning to the US
In the 1980s and 1990s, nearly 600,000 call center jobs left the U.S. and headed to the greener pastures and lower wages in countries like India and the Philippines. Today, however, the tide is turning with many of those call center positions returning to the United States. The turnaround is being touted as a win for our economy, for American workers and for American consumers.
As captured in this ABC News report, it seemed to make financial sense to outsource call center jobs 10-20 years ago, but not today. For one thing, foreign call center agents often had to learn to speak English in order to communicate with customers, an interesting spin on call center training.
And, though they took on American-sounding names like Betty and Mike, these foreign-born service agents had a hard time connecting with and relating to the customers who called. The American customer truly felt those 8,000 miles between himself and the service agent.
Add to the social disconnect the fact that the questions call centers handle today differ greatly from those of 20 years ago. Today, many questions that were once routed through the call center can be easily answered online where language and culture is not a barrier.
Call centers today field more complicated questions requiring more expertise and greater interpersonal connection. Customers needing this level of service are often frustrated when the foreign agent lacks the proper call center training and cannot meet their need and multiple calls must be made. All of which is proving to be a boon for American workers because U.S. call centers become less costly than outsourced centers if they can problem-solve in less time with fewer calls required.
The ability to connect with the customer at the call center is key since many businesses now make as many as one quarter of all sales over the phone. If the call center agent can provide top notch support and make a connection with the customer, he/she can earn the right to sell to them while they have them on the phone.
The right to sell is what makes the U.S. call center salary ($20,000 - $40,000/year) worth sacrificing the foreign agent who earns around 10 percent of the U.S. agent’s salary. Call center managers are working hard to bring home 100,000 jobs through smart operations, stringent call center training and superior customer service.
RCCSP is a company which provides that kind of high performance call center training. In addition to a full menu of call center training and support services, the company offers a 5-day Boot Camp which can guide call centers in creating solid service level agreements with customers, using scorecards to rate call center performance (where snags occur and how to prevent them) and strategies for staff retention.
Call centers are becoming more and more specialized and the level of customer service needs to match the demand. Companies like RCCSP can ensure that the U.S. call center is ready for a new wave of jobs headed this way.
Edited by Tammy Wolf