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ziggy (25)

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Journal of ziggy (25)

Tuesday February 01, 2005
09:42 PM

Tech Support

[ #22978 ]
Tonight, my sister-in-law called for some help with her network configuration. Her primary goal was, in her words, to avoid calling Elbonia. (Yep. I'm now tier 2 tech support.)

Now, I know who I'm dealing with, and I understand the sentiment she is expressing. It's not the oversimplified, knee-jerk jingoistic lament that all tech jobs will eventually all move offshore where everyone works for 1/10th the cost and does 3x the work. It's about the frustration of dealing with outsourced, offshore tech support: hard to understand accents (on both sides of the line), inability to actually fix anything, and wasting all that time on the phone when there is no resolution at the end of it all.

Outsourcing call centers can work, but only when both people understand each other and there is an acceptable resolution at the end of the call. But this is most emphatically not the general experience today with tech support call centers in Lower Elbonia.

So, why are all of these call centers moving offshore? Because they save money. Why do they save money? Not because the Elbonians staff costs less, but because they train customers to stop calling tech support.

Sneaky. Very sneaky.

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  • To put it in Joel Spolsky's words: never outsource your core competence. If your core competence is graphical effects in a game, don't license a 3D engine from someone else. And if you have customers, don't outsource your customer support.
    • Software companies don't have customers, they have users. You know the old joke about the two industries that have "users": software and illicit drugs.

      Seriously? The addiction model of business is frighteningly prevalent in what we do.

      Destroy capitalism. kthxbye.