Technology, Lost Jobs, and Unhappy Customers

Posted October 24, 2011
By Clay Cerny

Last week, I was very busy helping customers, which makes me happy and grateful.  What makes me unhappy is bad telemarketing calls that interrupt me while I’m trying to understand what a customer needs.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve dealt with many professional telemarketers.  They understand when you’re with a customer and quickly offer to call you back.  Bad telemarketers and prerecorded calls don’t care.  They keep talking until irate customer like me hang up. 

They also cost American jobs.  Many telemarketing and customer service jobs have been off-shored to countries where workers are paid 19th century wages.  Over the weekend, I was dealing with a very pleasant off-shored customer service representative.  However, he could not understand what I was saying.  I had to spell my name and give my address twice in order to receive a refund.  Similarly, recorded telemarketing calls make prospective customers listen to the end of the message to press a “off the list.” key.  It’s a waste of time.

What if local workers were managing the phones?  I believe the customer would get a better experience, and the company trying to market its products or service its customers would be more like to keep customers happy.  So why do companies offshore and automate?  Bigger profits.  The old methods were profitable, but the low salary worker and the machine bring home even more margin.  What do they lose?  Customers.  What is their biggest cost?  American jobs.