My first real job in Calgary was working the Bank Of America account at an EDS call center. I was the beneficiary of outsourcing in that case. It's no small irony that the whole support center was packed up and moved to India about a year after I left. Today both of these American companies have been wiped out.
EDS was bought for a bargain by HP and no longer exists. Bank of America failed and would have been wiped out too if it wasn't bailed out by American taxpayers. Such are the trials and tribulations of a global economy. On a the balance we win.
When the job was there for me it was good. When it left it didn't matter because I was already a more skilled worker. I moved to Calgary for the jobs and so too the job was moved to Calgary. I didn't plan it this way and neither did the Bank Of America. What I learned, having lived it, is to trust the efficiency of the market. A central planner likes to believe they can arrange it all but they can't.
Its a bit strange to watch this faux scandal coming out of the CBC against RBC. They are both institutions that are backed by the government so the market isn't exactly free for either of them. We the consumer are still free to take our business where we please.
If you call a company and find out you are talking to India, first decide if you are satisfied with their service and take your business elsewhere if you are not pleased with the service. To base your satisfaction on simply jingoistic nationalism is a kind of bigotry.
It's my experience that business functions that can be sent overseas are usually functions that should be automated anyway. Which would you prefer, communicating through different time zones, cultures, and language issues after probably waiting on hold or pulling up an online report to tell you what you need know and gives you the tools to do something about it?
The market is chipping away at this problem even now and you help it work. Either the problems are so complicated that they need someone highly trained to handle them on the line, or your problem is so simple it can be automated.
Unskilled call centers are set up to handle those damned fangled computers with their missing "any" keys and disc player drink trays. They are the ones that can be sent to India or automated. What is the character of the company you are dealing with or investing in that chooses sweatshops in India to cut costs for you over an online system?
If you've seen kids playing with iPads (or cats playing fruit ninja), you'll know that people will begin to demand these "help yourself" type systems for training and basic troubleshooting. The market will eventually eliminate this problem if we back our demands with cash.
Demand progress with cash. It works.
There is no point getting up in arms about it. You win some, you lose some. To beat the competition you must provide a better product or service. This is what drives progress and innovation. Not using magic words like Social Justice, Progressive and Sustainable. All that has ever done is confuse people into acting against themselves. There is always some fool ready to give you their money if you say the magic words.
Let the sourcing sorcery continue and may the worlds best service find its way to all our lives.