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August 2003


This month, the editors of Customer Inter@ction Solutions welcome to the Executive Roundtable Steve Brubaker, senior vice president of corporate affairs at InfoCision Management Corp. in Akron, Ohio.

CIS: What are your thoughts on the trend of outsourcing offshore? There are a variety of mixed opinions being expressed. Do you think that many companies are bringing their teleservices back to the U.S., and if so, which services and why?

Steve BrubakerSteve Brubaker: I feel that in most cases companies are making this decision solely because of the labor cost differential which ultimately discriminates against the American worker. I am in favor of promoting Congressional action to protect the jobs of American workers by implementing some form of tariff which would level the playing field for American companies. This is not a new form of action by our government. We have seen many industries over the years protected in this manner.

CIS: What advice do you have for call centers that need to quickly build their inbound services to make up for the potential loss of outbound services? Is there any advice about technologies, hiring new agents and management concerns you can offer?

Steve Brubaker: This is not as easy as it sounds. There are significant technological and infrastructure requirements that many companies like ours are investing heavily in to achieve a diversified balance in our lines of business. We are not going to walk away from the outbound marketplace but understand we will need to adapt our operational strategies should the regulatory schemes ultimately go into effect as they are currently proposed.

CIS: On a scale of 1 to 10, how misunderstood is the teleservices industry by members of Congress, the FTC and the FCC? Do they really believe teleservices is all about selling aluminum siding during dinner time?

Steve Brubaker: We are very misunderstood. That is why the action the American Teleservices Association is taking is so important. We must state who we are more clearly. We are call center employees and we are 6 million strong here in America. Let's be proud of that fact. Every family in America certainly knows someone in the industry whose livelihood depends on call centers. If people look at this issue reasonably, most will agree they don't mind phone calls from organizations they support or companies they normally do business with. People generally don't want calls from groups they have no interest in. That is why a 'one-size-fits-all' national list will not work effectively. Consumers need to retain the right to choose which calls they want and which calls they don't want. But let's face the facts. When I need new aluminum siding for my house, I welcome a call from a company that offers me an excellent product at a competitive price. That is why telemarketing works!

CIS: Who are the teleservices industry's allies in the Federal Government? We have a few, right?

Steve Brubaker: Of course. Unfortunately they have not been very comfortable standing up publicly for us. And some of those who have taken a stand took a bath in the press. We need to be more united as an industry to be able to provide a larger representation to our politicians so they know we represent six million voters.

CIS: Do you agree with the assertion that the teleservices industry needs to do a better job of policing itself to prevent even harsher restrictions in the future?

Steve Brubaker: I have heard this argument but really think the government should have also done a better job of enforcing the TCPA and TSR all along. There have been very few actual enforcements for infractions to the company-specific do-not-call lists. Those companies like ours who have spent heavily on compliance efforts over the years are now penalized because of a few bad apples.

[ Return To The August 2003 Table Of Contents ]

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