Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Korean Work Ethic is Based on Impatience

Categories: Of Interest | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Korean Work ethic is based on impatience

I remember a year ago my Korean friend read me some sociological findings on Koreans. Their most distinguishing characteristic was impatience. Some say that patience is a virtue, but when you are doing business and have deadlines, you might enjoy working with Koreans. They have expectations of themselves that might be higher than what you expect from others! I have gotten tired of the American work ethic which seems to be based on broken promises and negligence. It is only the old-school Americans who believe in hard work and integrity in my experience. If you have deadlines to meet, find someone who is accurate and in more of a hurry that you.

Korea has demonstrated an uncanny ability to do things faster. Take ship building for example. They build huge ships in pieces and put them together on floating devices — seamlessly and very quickly. Their process is very innovative, and extremely reliable too. Koreans are leading the world in electronics too these days. If Koreans were doing typical outsourcing work like Data Entry, Call Center Management, or IT Outsourcing, I assure you that the rest of you guys would be out of business.

As with many Asian cultures, communication skills are rarely outstanding with Koreans, but my personal experience has been that the work gets done correctly and quickly even with some communication issues.

My Korean friend’s joke about Koreans is that when they microwave their instant noodles they stand next to the microwave counting the seconds so they can get their noodles fast. They will start stirring the noodles fresh out of the microwave instead of letting them sit for a while (like you should). Such impatience is a global anomaly, but great if you are hiring them to do work that involves deadlines! I’m going to talk some Koreans I know into going into typical outsourcing businesses. Maybe they can clean up the industry! We’ll see!

You might also like:

How do big companies get big? It is not an accident!
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/08/20/how-do-big-companies-get-big-it-is-not-an-accident/

What is your management style?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2012/02/02/what-is-your-management-style/

Business Names Ending in “Solution” Sound Funny

Categories: Humor | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

India is filled with funny sounding outsourcing business names. TEX Solution, Indotech Solution, etc. Only one solution? Most companies who wish to hire you will need solution(s) to more than one problem. I suggest that you go to the consonant store and buy a consonant! Buy an “s”.

“May I purchase an s?”
“Sorry, we’re all out of s’s”
“No wonder Indian companies typically don’t have an ‘s’ at the end of the word solution”
“No, that’s not it. Many of them lack grammatical competency”

The next thing is your phone number
9199335235
That is very hard to read. It is much classier and harder to make a dialing mistake if you break the number up.
(91) 9335-5235 or 939-335-5235 would be a more American system of breaking the number up. Two sets of three numbers separated with hyphens with a final set of four digits.

What do you put in the language field?
english, hindi, gujrati

Why not put
English, Hindi, Gujarati
Spell everything as well as you can and capitalize proper nouns please! Remember, if American companies are looking over your profile, they will not like it if they see grammar errors!

Good luck renaming your outsourcing company names.
In the mean time.
I have to go.
I have an interview with Jake from J Solution.

You might also like:

Nursery rhyme music is not appropriate for when you are on hold
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/10/06/nursery-rhyme-music-is-not-appropriate-for-when-you-are-on-hold/

An American teaches Indian companies to be more American
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/09/23/an-american-teaches-indian-cos-to-be-more-american/

Writing Job Application Bios: The Right Way vs. The Wrong Way

Categories: India | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I see that there are three types of job applicants in India: There are the formal types who write a long bio that includes everything. Their i’s are dotted and their t’s are all crossed. Then, there are those who include some pertinent information, decent grammar, but don’t say that much. Then, there are the broken English types who write one or two lines.

If you are looking for a job, you need to stop saying, “Please give me a chance”. That is verbiage for someone who knows that they don’t deserve the job, but want a chance anyway, because PERHAPS later on they will figure out what they are doing. You are being a liability. If you want a job, be an ASSET, or go back to take more training classes so you will have better skills.

Here are some before and after clips of job application forms that I have seen. The after was written by me.

Example:
Before: Dear Sir, i want job doing data etney from home. i want make money on internet
My phhone number 9855555533

After: To whom it may concern at YZX company. My name is Rakesh Subrahmanian. I have six months of data entry experience working at Joe’s Data Entry in Secundrabad, AP, and would love the opportunity to assist you with data related tasks, or anything else that you need accomplished. I am available to start immediately. My related skills include:

Form Filling
Medical Data Entry
Online Forms
Data Cleansing (verification of spelling and formatting of previously filled out entries)
Data Scrubbing
Data Waxing (no such thing — I just added it for comic effect)

I can be reached at (022) 4444-3333

—————————–

Analysis
Please notice how the “before” example has “entry” spelled wrong. How on earth can someone possibly even consider hiring you for a meticulous job like data entry or data cleansing when your writing is littered with spelling errors? Your “I” should be capitalized since it is a proper noun. The fact that YOU want to make money is of no concern to the employer — skip that. THEY want to make money, and want you to help them make money. If you are a refined worker who gets a lot of work done, then they can use you to make money. If you are an incompetent slob, then they will lose money on you. Lastly, phone is misspelled, and the phone number is all in a big jumble. Most Indians write their number without hyphens or spaces, however, it is NOT professional and is VERY hard to read. In fact, it is ten times as likely to make an expensive dialing mistake if the number is all jumbled together.

Please note that in the “after” example, the person introduces themselves, and then tells exactly HOW MUCH experience he has and then specifies WHERE he got his experience. Nothing is left to the imagination here. Rakesh never begs for a job, however, he indicates enthusiasm for HELPING someone else with what he knows about, or whatever THEY want. Rakesh is thinking about others, and not about what he personally needs — smart! Then, Rakesh makes a quick list of SPECIFIC types of data related tasks which he is well versed in, and even makes a small joke just to lighten the mood. Be careful with jokes as they can backfire. But, a well placed joke that accompanies some thorough information might make you stand out as an applicant and be remembered. Last, please notice that the phone number is nearly laid out in a very easy to read and professional looking format.

You might also like:

Find audio transcriptionists!
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2011/05/21/find-audio-transcriptionists-on-123outsource-net/

How to find a data entry job!
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2011/05/14/how-to-find-a-data-entry-job/

A Chiropractor Stops Outsourcing Medical Transcription

Categories: Medical Transcriptions | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

I just got adjusted a few days ago. It felt good. My Chiropractor is the best. I have been his loyal patient for more than a decade. I get electric stimuli, a double treatment of ultra-sound, and an adjustment for only $40. I should offer them more since they are the best in town despite their out of the way location that takes me over an hour to reach!

But, during my last adjustment, we had a chat about Medical Transcription Outsourcing — his least favorite topic.

–Crack–
Me: “That was a loud one… so, I found some good software outsourcing companies who actually communicate effectively for a change”
Chiropractor: “I stopped outsourcing a while ago. I had a Filipino Medical Transcription company doing my dictations. They included verbiage I was yelling to my secretary during the dictation like — ‘close the door please’. I can’t believe that didn’t have the brains to know that was not part of the dictation. I can’t use these guys anymore. They are clueless”
Me: “I guess it was not worth the savings”
Chiropractor: “They were charging me $5 to do it wrong when I only get $10 from the insurance companies and American companies charge me $20 to give me a headache.”
Me: “That sounds really bad. I’m sorry to hear that.
–Snap–
Chiropractor: “Your neck is really bad, what have you been doing?”
Me: “I’m stuck at a computer all day and all night”
Chiropractor: “You need to go back to your old massage therapist, your adjustments were easier a few years ago”
Me: “So, what do you do now about your dictations?”
Chiropractor: “I trained one of my girls here how to do it. She does a perfect job and can do FOUR per hour with hardly any mistakes. With the outsourced Medical Transcription services I had to pay them to do it wrong, and then spend three hours a week fixing their mistakes manually. It probably would have been easier to just type it myself”
Me: “I wish there was a way to analyze quality control for these types of services. The good Medical Transcription services are typically owned by larger corporations and cater exclusively to in-house jobs”
Chiropractor: “Turn on your side — you are probably right!”

I’m learning that the way to do business is to find in-house solutions to your business needs. You are more in control of quality and timeliness of output if you hire your own people. But, if you hire smaller companies, learn to master the art of screening them. There are good outsourcing companies out there. You just need to know how to weed out the bad Medical Transcription Outsourcing companies, and handle the good ones.

You might also like:

Medical Transcriptions: a trip through a city
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2012/02/28/medical-transcriptions-a-trip-through-a-city/

Medical transcriptions and errors
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2010/12/10/medical-transcriptions-and-errors/

Is finding an outsourcing partner like an arranged marriage?

Categories: Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding the perfect outsourcing partner is like finding a mate: you need to find someone who absolutely gels with you in so many ways. Americans dream of finding the perfect mate, and I’ll bet some actually expect to find the perfect outsourcing partner right away, too. Good luck!

A good relationship (although maybe not the perfect one) can be developed if you take the time to get to know each other. Just because the company has a few good references does not mean they will be good for you. Unless you have taken the time to get to know your outsourcing partner and really have common standards and goals, the relationship will be little more than an arranged marriage. Whoever your point of contact is–your project manager?–will be The One.

Here are 5 tips to evaluate and develop your relationship:

1) Since you are thousands of miles away, you need to have communication by phone, skype, and email. Talk about a variety of topics to determine how that person thinks and whether he or she really wants to do business with you at all. Be sure to talk for at least 15-20 minutes because it will take at least that long to find out what that person really thinks. Then, ask that person three to five ‘test questions’ and have the person answer these on the phone or skype— on the spot. These could be situational questions that you feel strongly about—how you handle a difference of opinion, how do you tell if you can trust someone…even how you choose a girlfriend or a mate. Be sure the person can give examples. You should not feel hesitant to ask questions. These questions will help you see if you have values in common or if that person has a point of view you feel comfortable with. Listen to the person’s answers and see if they appeal to you. If you have any doubts at the beginning…proceed with caution!

2) Based on what you have heard so far, do you have similar cultural and personal values? Cultural values can be discussed or referred to in initial conversations (above), but personal values are probably more important. For example, do you believe that you have to lie sometimes in business? What lies are acceptable? If you have to complete an important job and you become ill, how do you handle it? If you are late on a deadline and have a phone conference with the client, how do you deal with this/ what will you say? Are results more important than how the job gets done–and does that gel with your own way of working? Answers to questions like this may actually tell you something revealing about the other person and his or her policies. Listen carefully. Your future depends on it.

3) What is quality? What constitutes a quality product in your industry? Have the person tell you. If it is a call center—how will you know the callers do a great job? What specific things do they do that demonstrate “quality”? If your contact has a vague idea of quality or cannot speak well, this will tell you something about how profitable it will be to work with this company. Does the person just refer you to a link on the company website? The more details and examples the person can give you, the better chance he or she really has a good team and will be a great outsourcing partner. If the person is obviously reading from a script or says “I will need to think about this and call you back,” that is not a good sign.

4) No contract will test out your relationship as well as an actual test assignment. It will answer questions like “Do you follow directions?” and “How much do you get done in a certain amount of time?” If you are in sync with your partner, you will both get through the test assignment and will learn enough about each other to move on to the next stage–or to back off. A small, well-designed, paid test assignment—before you even sign a contract—before the “marriage”—will tell you how this company functions in a relationship. This will also test what they said in the answers to the other questions (above). You will find out whether the person / company knows how to do what they say and how cooperative they are. If they make a mistake, will they offer to correct it for free? If they did not understand the directions and did not ask—will they take responsibility or will they say “The directions weren’t that clear…” Shouldn’t they have asked?

5) Finally, to find a good outsourcing partner (outsourcing company), you may be better off finding a ‘matchmaker’, a friend or family member who can introduce you to qualified candidates and help you screen them—rather than trying to find that perfect match on your own. Talk to people you know who have outsourced or who know you well, and rely on their advice. When marriages are arranged, they are arranged by family or even a professional matchmaker. Ask your matchmaker friend a lot of questions and he or she will help you define what you are looking for. Do not just grab an outsourcing company from the internet—or you may end up in a relationship you do not want, and this may make you hesitant to seek the right outsourcing partner in the future.

You might also like:

How does culture determine what is public or private information?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/05/05/how-does-culture-determine-what-is-private-or-public-information/

India — a culture of begging
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/01/16/india-a-culture-of-begging/

5 Reasons Indians Are Less Stressed Than Americans

Categories: India | Tagged | Leave a comment

People in India generally experience less stress than people in the United States. There are five main reasons why this is true.

(1) First of all, Indian culture centers around the family. In India, the divorce rate is negligible, a little over 1%. There is a small percentage of single-parent families due to death caused by accidents or illness, for example, but the extended family is almost always there. The family unit in India provides stability and predictability in everyday life. In the U.S., life often seems to be based on short-term relationships, and the culture supports this; marriages and relationships generally do not necessarily last, and this creates more problems and more stress. The family is still the center of life in India, and although people in the IT sector switch jobs as often as people in America switch girlfriends, the family maintains its stability. The security of having a rock-solid family is a definite plus.

(2) In addition, people in India live a simple lifestyle. They do not consume as much as Americans, but spend their money on necessities. They typically eat at home, and do not go out or buy luxuries. They may rent a video or two every week, but generally they can live cheaply. Their expenses are low unless they want to have a car or
an apartment or home in an expensive part of town.
Indians typically have fewer bills and a tendency to save rather than spend. This lifestyle may seem boring–but it also contributes less stress for workers.

(3) Most Indians are vegetarians, but those who eat meat eat relatively small quantities compared to their U.S. counterparts. Also, the type of meat is usually chicken and lamb: many people feel that pork and beef cause stress and aggression, and those meats are rarely eaten in India for religious reasons. The cuisine of Christians is an anomaly in India because they consume all meats; Kerala and Goa are states in India that are roughly 80% Christian. Finally, Indians typically use their hands more in eating, and many people claim the food actually tastes better this way, too. In fact, it may be therapeutic to use your hands more, just as many Westerners find that having a picnic or doing gardening by hand is therapeutic. In any case, Indians have a simpler, more stress-free diet than their American counterparts.

(4) Although not all people in India actively practice spirituality, their cultural mindset is spiritual: they have an attitude of surrender towards life. The average Indian has a level of surrender that exceeds even that of the most highly evolved spiritual or religious devotee in America–and surrender is considered to be a key spiritual attribute in Christianity, Islam, and Eastern spirituality. The tragedies of life can be overcome by family, simplicity, and faith. Indians take life as it comes, and misfortune and death are part of life. This attitude of surrender creates less stress in daily life.

Of course, spirituality is based on a belief in a higher power. In India, there are many gods, and it is commonly accepted that belief in a higher power relieves stress. Americans seem to have a much weaker reliance on God in daily life; you may say you believe in God, but if you don’t put your reliance on God moment to moment, you nullify most of the positive effects of your belief. Which god is the best god to pray to in order to relieve stress? Visit you local Hindu temple to find out!

(5) Finally, Indians have lower expectations and a sense of destiny that helps them deal with life. Their idea of karma is less stressful than our Western idea of cause and effect; they believe that karma is pre-set and they do not stress as much about their future. Indians feel they are not in control of their life; Americans tend to feel that their long-term success or failure depends on their actions. Indians generally believe that their destiny has been predetermined–so why worry? They believe they are not in the driver’s seat; Americans tend to push and shove to get into the driver’s seat in life. On the other hand, a complete lack of assertiveness leads to lower productivity in the workforce. There are many who are so complacent that they are little more than human wet noodles (broth not included!)

Final Thought:

What does stress really mean? Another system of thought, Kabbalah, says that stress simply means that a lot of things are happening in a very limited time…and you have to do a lot to get ahead. Not enough stress means you are not doing much with your life…

So how much stress do you really need?

You might also like:

Are callers in India more sincere?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/09/18/are-callers-in-india-more-sincere/

How does culture determine what is private or public information?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/05/05/how-does-culture-determine-what-is-private-or-public-information/

Social Media Optimization: Checking the effectiveness of each of your campaigns

Categories: Analytics, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media Optimization: Checking the effectiveness of each of your campaigns

It is a bit baffling these days with so many social media campaigns. Which ones should you use, and which ones do you understand? New ones come out every month too which adds to the complexity. Some are better for targeting younger folks, while Facebook is great for the 40-60 year old age segment. There are several analytics you need to understand when comparing social media venues.

(1) What is the cost of growing a particular campaign?
Do you spend three times the effort growing your Twitter campaign as your Facebook profile? Is your Stumbleupon or your Google+ a little faster to grow? Pay attention to how much effort goes into growing each type of campaign. On the other hand, if you really like a particular campaign, you will enjoy growing it which is another factor to consider.

(2) What types of results do you get after spending “x” amount of hours?
If you spend 100 hours on Twitter (did you count the hours?), how much gain did you get in your SEO? Can you measure that?

(3) What types of results did you get with $100 of pay-per-click on various mediums?
You can see how many clicks you got, and if there were any conversions that lead to traffic to your sales area in your site or actual purchases.

(4) How do you judge the quality of a click?
Not all clicks are created equal. Some lead to new followers, while others lead to sales. There are endless metrics you can use to compare click quality. If you are just starting out with a new network you can looks at: (a) How long each visitor spent on your site in seconds, (b) How many pages the average new visitor spent on your site. I learned that Facebook was better for one of my blogs while Twitter was better for another. So, there is no right answer. There are only answers that are right for specific situations. Also, consider which particular blog article you are promoting. Each different article will get different analytics, so get at least 40 clicks before you compare. Most new visitors will only skim your articles. Only a few will really read. The point here is to find out what percentage of your new followers will do some serious reading and clicking around.

(5) Sometimes the posts that did well on one network will do well on others
I noticed that some of the posts I had which did well on Google did well on Stumbleupon. We’ll see how that pans out in the long run. It is a little early to tell.

Good luck!

You might also like:

Active vs. dormant followers on Twitter
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/09/27/active-vs-dormant-followers-on-twitter/

The Google algorithm has some serious issues
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/08/04/the-google-algorithm-has-some-serous-issues/

Rates for Office Space around the world compared

Categories: Of Interest | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Here is some 2010 data for yearly office space rates per square foot.
Please keep in mind that Class A office space in prime parts of town can often be more than double what space would cost in less expensive parts of town.

Hong Kong 161
London 130 (West End)
Tokyo 101
London 62 (Docklands)
Mumbai 60
Delhi 59
Singapore 59
New York 42 (Midtown)
Los Angeles 39
Madrid 37

I thought it would be fun to compare these rates to rates in the American South and Midwest. So, we took three sample cities and compared them. It seems that America could compete well in outsourcing simply because the infrastructure is better here, labor is more skilled, and office space is a bargain if you are in the right part of the country.

Koreatown Los Angeles 20-24
Rates are a lot cheaper in Koreatown than downtown. Koreatown is on Wilshire Blvd with access to buslines and even the subway making it almost as convenient as downtown. Parking rates are about $110 per month per spot in Koreatown as well making it a bargain for a commercial center in Los Angeles. So, what is the disadvantage? Offices are older, and not kept up as well as in downtown. Offices in Koreatown for lease would seldom be Class A. There are other parts of Los Angeles such as Commerce and other suburbs that have even better bargains on office space!

Little Rock, AR. 12
We read through the classifieds and found that office space here ranged from $7 psf to around $17 on a yearly basis. If you compare that to Los Angeles, that is less than half the price for Class A office space.

Oklahoma City, OK 11
Rates ranged from around $9 psf yearly to $12 ($11 average) making Oklahoma City a great place to go if you need a large office space at a good rate.

Indianapolis, IN 9
Rates Ranged from $5 psf to $15 yearly averaging about $9 psf for the advertisements we saw. This is the least expensive place we have seen to get an office. Some people think that India is less expensive than America, but one square foot in Mumbai will cost you what seven square feet will cost you in Indianapolis. If you think that India is a bargain — think again!

You might also like:

How the US can survive as a nation
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/10/11/how-the-u-s-can-survive-as-a-nation/

Small talk, Indians and attracting US clients
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/07/01/small-talk-indians-and-attracting-us-clients/

Bringing Jobs Back to America: How ‘Bout the South Ya’ll?

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why do people outsource anyway? Approximately 46% of companies that outsource say they do it in order to save money. For example, in the Philippines, you can get a call center to do a 3-minute outbound call for about $12 an hour; in India, it will cost you about the same once you add in set up charges and find a place where you will have competent and intelligent English-speaking callers; in the Caribbean, it will cost you $15; in South Africa, it will cost between $11 and $16 per hour. But will outsourcing solve your problem if you depend on quality and callers you can trust?

Many firms actually outsource because, in some industries, American companies are too busy to take on new clients or give enough time to clients…and the combination of high prices, inflated American egos, slipshod workmanship, and bad attitudes is too much to palate. Has outsourcing solved these problems? Are workers in other countries more humble, more careful, more diligent, or more polished? Finally, some CEOs may outsource because they have an affinity for the culture (it might be their country of origin, they might have lived there for a time, or they might belong to a religious group that has a presence there) and may choose to give work to that country. For whatever reason, according to one source, outsourcing grew by more than 40% between 2001 and 2009. More than 2 million jobs were outsourced by the U.S. in 2011 alone (a conservative number); however, the numbers are deceptive, and do not include jobs in companies that actually built factories, offices, and call centers in other countries. In that same year, 2011, 53% of U.S. manufacturing companies, 43% of U.S. IT companies, and at least 15% of call centers had “a large portion” (75%?) of their work done outside the U.S. Add to that reports that show, for instance, that Russia’s income from taking on IT outsourcing doubles every year, and we now have an idea of the volume of jobs being outsourced by the U.S.

The reality of outsourcing, however, is that communication is never as good as it might be. Americans have higher standards for communication than other cultures, and it is like driving 40 miles an hour into a brick wall when you discover how low or non-existent the communication standards are compared to yours…or you find out that your “senior programmer” has only six months’ experience…or when, every time you call to find out “what’s going on,” you are put on hold and then the phone disconnects while you are on hold…or when you generally discover how incompetent, inexperienced and slow are the “excellent” staff who have been randomly assigned to your project.
Many U.S. companies that have tried outsourcing in the past few years are now looking for alternatives: in the end, they found that they did not save money but lost money because of jobs not completed or not done according to high work standards. Even though this may have been simply a result of not getting to know the company well enough or not finding the right fit, many companies in the U.S. are now wondering where to find competent, affordable help. Look no further, ya’ll: just mosey on down south of the Mason-Dixon line. In the U.S., the good ole South may be the place to do business.

In our experience, Southerners have an easy manner and a politeness that goes a long way. They try to make you feel comfortable, and will try to come up with solutions that work for everyone. Second, in the IT industry, for example, they have a great work ethic, and take pride in doing a great job. In the South, because the cost of utilities is less and wages are lower than in other parts of the country, “insourcing” is worth looking into. Office space in some parts of the South is as low as $1 a square foot, so companies can afford to work in an office and have a professional staff on board… whereas on the West Coast, for instance, where office space can be $5 a square foot for a modest office, many IT companies have virtual offices or a loosely monitored team of “experts” who claim to have known each other for over a decade but never meet in the office to collaborate and don’t really work for the company. IT developers, for example, are often independent contractors who are not interested in “your dumb project” and are not held to any standards. In this type of company, the business manager is at the mercy of the programmer and really has little control over which clients are accepted and whether or not work gets done or even started at all.

But it’s not like that in the South, ya’ll. It is not hard to find real offices with real employees, a manager who tries to get things done fast…but is likely to be good-natured and may want to go at a slightly more relaxed pace just to get to know you and find out what you really want. Statistically, not only is the price of office space less per square foot in the South, but the cost of labor is less. Although it is still more expensive than outsourcing to India, the superior communication and effort are well worth the difference. Doing business with the most expensive companies in India costs only a bit less than doing business with the South–but the communication and productivity will be a lot better in the U.S.–not to mention the time-zone factor. If you compare the least expensive parts of India to the least expensive part of the U.S. (the South), the U.S. comes out on top. If you look at the relative costs of doing business with India and California, the cost of doing business in the South may be the perfect solution.

For example, South Carolina is among 10 states with the lowest cost of labor in the U.S.–yet is ranked among the top 10 states in terms of business environment. Compare these rates, for example: India, $30 an hour (IT) for a senior developer…but the work often seems to take double the time; $75 an hour (IT) for a senior developer in the South…while in CA, you may pay $150 an hour for roughly the same quality developers. If you are talking about call centers, in Charleston, SC, for example, it is possible to find a call center that will do outbound calls for $25 an hour and will create extremely flexible terms. This is not only less than NY or CA prices ($35-45 an hour for the same number of calls and information), but is better quality–and a better deal, call for call–than call centers overseas that will cost you approximately $15 an hour.

Why? Because it’s not just about the rate they quote you. One of the first things you will find out is that some companies will not guarantee that they will “penetrate” the entire list for this money, and it seems that the level of commitment and feedback on the part of the callers is not as great at that of their U.S. counterparts in the South. In addition, many Americans have been turned off by calls from overseas call centers, particularly when Americans need the caller to inform or explain or reassure. In fact, although there is as of yet no official law requiring foreign call centers to forward calls to a representative in the U.S. if asked, many U.S. citizens have made this request and many companies have a policy of transferring calls to U.S. operators when asked to. And these requests have become more and more frequent in the past few years. Americans are also uncomfortable with the loss of call center jobs to foreign countries. Looking at these issues, many companies have chosen to insource calls to places like the U.S. South.

In 2013, many U.S. companies are already discovering the virtues of “insourcing” and are bringing call center work back to the U.S. Wages of call center employees in many other countries go up as much as 15 or 20% a year; this plus communication issues, security/ privacy issues, poor workforce training, and time-zone issues have made many companies reconsider outsourcing to India or other overseas destinations. According to one report, in 2013, given all the hidden costs of obtaining competent callers, it is about 15% cheaper to use a call center in the South than one overseas. At one point in the last few years, 30% of call center jobs in the U.S. were sent overseas, but now, in 2013, only about 10-12% of calls are made by call centers outside the U.S., according to one source.
These and other factors make the South worth exploring if you want to “insource” to a U.S. company that can take over a portion of your IT or call center workload.

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What type of salesperson to avoid in outsourcing

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Semi-Popular | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I have learned that there is only one reason to talk to a salesperson when hiring an outsourcing company. That is to ask them 10 questions, so you can compare their answers to the technical manager to check for consistency. Most companies are dishonest, while others are just uncoordinated. I check for both when hiring. I just got off the phone with a salesperson who refused to answer most of my questions. He referred me immediately to the technical manager — he didn’t get any point deductions for integrity or accuracy reasons! Smart!

So, talk to salespeople as little as possible as a rule. But…

There is a rule of thumb when talking to salespeople. In my experience, the salespeople who were too slick, and too good at sales had teams who did NOT deliver the best results. On the other hand, those who had clunky sales people who had trouble giving answers to easy questions, also didn’t deliver well. Those who gave nonsense sounding answers turned out to be a nightmare. I also didn’t have good luck with very solid sounding corporate types who worked for a very reputable company. I talked to one guy who sounded smart, but who spoke in a sloppy way who delivered poorly as well. So, now we know who to avoid — so who do we NOT avoid?

Look for a point of contact who is a salesman who is not “salesman-ny” or “salesman-ish”. Basically, they should not come across as being too much of a salesperson. They should be more of a technical person who gives intelligent answers to your questions without using any psychological techniques to woo you into a contract. Find someone who is straight who is not too slick. A salesperson who is 70% technically oriented and 30% sales oriented is your guy (or gal).

Once you get more experience talking to people who do outsourcing, and seeing what type of results they deliver, this will become natural. Unfortunately, less than 10% of outsourcing companies out there are worth dealing with. You really need to find ways to learn how they deliver. If their website isn’t that nice, they probably don’t do nice work. A website is proof of a company’s finished work. If they don’t do good work for themselves, they will not do good work for you. If a company can not afford a good salesperson, they probably can not afford good service providers either. Learn to be shrewd. Your success in business depends on it!

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A 20 minute office visit reveals the character of a company!

Categories: Hiring & Firing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A 20 minute office visit can reveal the character of an outsourcing company in a lot of detail!

I love to learn what great business people do. Maybe if I follow in their foot steps, I will achieve greatness myself. Being successful is hard. There are so many things you need to do, and reading books about what Donald Trump does will only give you a small (but valuable) piece of the puzzle.

Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger subscribe to the idea of visiting people’s offices or manufacturing plants to get a feeling of what the company is like. You look around; You see if the place is neatly maintained; You see how the workers look; Do they look happy and hard working or do they look downtrodden and resentful? Do they look intelligent? Do they have a healthy vibration? Do they look like they do drugs? You can learn a lot from a two minute walk-around. You can even ask quick questions to random people to see if they are communicative or smart!

Another very important fact that I have learned recently is that outsourcing companies worldwide tend to be deceitful about the actual size of their company. They will claim to have more employees than they really have. If you visit someone’s office, you see who is actually there. Many times when I want to visit someone’s office, they meet me in a shared office in a conference room. Then, they tell me that that is their second office, and that they are in their normal office on some other days of the week. This type of nonsense reveals that they lied to you and do not have a real office. I noticed that one “business owner’s” name was not even on the list of companies in suite 300 where his alleged office was.

During interviews, it is important to ask questions that do NOT lead to the interviewee telling you what you want to hear. You want to know what they are like, not what they think you want to hear. Ask questions where they can not “hide” their true nature. An office visit is yet another way to find out how people really are. In my experience, I have seen all types of office environments from all ends of the spectrum.

I visited one social media company where everyone was filled with energy and spark. They were very intelligent and fun to visit. I visited another company where people seemed very dull and unkept. I saw one environment where everyone was busy, but when you ask staff members simple questions, they are unable to answer. It took one girl three weeks to email me and tell me that she had no answer to my question. Other office visits revealed that the outsourcing business owner had no office, and that they were leasing a shared office by the hour, and that they had no actual staff. Their staff was subcontracted and picked and chose which jobs they would accept. My worst office visit revealed an employee who was clearly a DRUG ADDICT. I never would have found out if I hadn’t visited their office.

Another fact to remember is that even if you don’t visit a person’s office, you can tell them that you are going to. Their answers will get a lot more honest about what their office is like if they think you are actually going to come. Office visits reveal reality. You see through everyone’s lies when you are actually there in person. Forget about all of this working remotely nonsense. Yes, work remotely, but visit someone’s office BEFORE you work remotely. It is common sense.

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