Category Archives: Popular Posts

In China, hot girls were hired to motivate programmers

Categories: Management, Motivation, Popular Posts, Software Development | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do you motivate a stubborn programmer?
My experience with programmers is that very few of them care even slightly about the experience of the people who will one day use their programs. The commenting in the code for other programmers to read is not even that clear in many instances. Most programmers just want to be left alone to do their work the way they want, how they want and when they want. Deadlines are almost never honored, and instructions are almost always taken lightly. Very few programmers were even motivated by money. I offered large amounts of money to many programming companies who politely declined stating that I was, “Not a good fit.” I told them that I am giving you money to do programming work and you are a programming company — how am I not a good fit? The managers at programming companies are as impossible to motivate as the programmers. So, what is the secret?

The Chinese are masters of innovation.
The Chinese have always been an innovative people from thousands of years ago. When they had a problem with the Mongols, they built the longest wall in human history. They even innovated a way to deal with all of the dead bodies of the workers by burying them in the wall! The Chinese created gun powder, many forms of martial arts, gardening, and even new aspects of semantic internet searches. A few years ago I predicted that if anyone could master the art of dominating the computer programming industry, it would be the Chinese. I was right, but not in a way that I expected.

Hiring beautiful cheerleaders to motivate programmers works!
Specialists who understand the importance of building a healthy corporate culture understand that you need positive upbeat people to build a motivated and fun work environment. Cliffbar, Google and Starbucks actively embrace this principle. A few years ago, I had the thought that call centers in Manila and Central America should hire good looking girls to interact with their workers to add a good feeling to their day. Call centers are apparently very stubborn about improving the grueling conditions of their work. But, the Chinese are not. It is commonplace in Chinese companies (and restaurants) for the workers to all get together and share a meal. Eating is an integral part of the Chinese culture, and communal eating is just as much. Eating together makes people feel good and feel more connected. But, I am happy that the Chinese implemented “my” idea of having lovely ladies improve the grueling conditions of the work day. Why not look forward to coming to work? Your wife might not like it, but at least you’ll show up for work and give it your all.

Productivity is up
The programmers in China, India and other countries are mostly male and very anti-social. Programming is a bit like mechanics intellectually. Guys like fixing things while women just want to be listened to which is why guys dominate programming. But, having these ladies around seems to get the guys to produce better. Men tend to be more motivated in general if there is a woman who is appreciative of what they do according to “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. It seems that the Chinese managers must have read that book or have an understanding of the concept. The easiest way to get a guy to stop trying is to have a woman who doesn’t give him any appreciation.

What do these ladies actually do?
The programming cheerleaders buy breakfast for the programmers so they have the energy to do a long day of work. They also chat with the programmers which is very valuable since most of the programmers lack the ability to interact with the opposite gender, or even with their own gender, and probably also with dogs and cats as well (insufficient data for the last claim.) The ladies must be talented and smooth (and probably patient) at interacting with the socially handicapped. In a sense, they are like therapists or psychiatrists in a very pedantic way.

What do the wives of the programmers think about this?
I can imagine that someone’s wife might not want their husband regularly hanging around with beautiful women at work. It is bad enough that your husband works with women, but beautiful women who give them a ton of attention? But, maybe this is what men need. I go through my day getting absolutely no attention from women other than my housemates. Imagine how much better I would feel if I was paid some positive attention by someone in their twenties or thirties who was female and voluptuous. This problem is my fault for living in Los Angeles. Women here are relentlessly unfriendly. But, the minute I cross the border into New Mexico, I get tons of positive attention from everyone! Maybe I should be living there!

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Is it safe for women to take cabs in India?

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

I keep reading more on this topic. Apparently, I am not the only one concerned with women’s safety. They are not concerned with my safety though — but, that’s another issue.

A fleet of pink cabs!
A new cab service in India has opened with pink cabs that are designated for women. I thought of a similar idea years ago that was for pink rickshaws. The vehicles would be driven by women, and the stops would have security, and the vehicles would be pink in my idea too. I thought of this first by the way!

Pepper spray & panic buttons
This cab company with the pink fleet offers pepper spray and panic buttons. One woman in India was raped by an Uber driver recently, and this is a huge reason why women need to take precautions. But, over the last few decades in India, women have not been safe, and taking more precautions seems like the best step to take.

Taking a photo of the cab
I read another article where a woman says that you should not get into a vehicle unless you take a photo of it with your mobile phone and perhaps send it to someone for safe keeping. Once in a while, drivers will take you to an undisclosed location and rob you. It doesn’t happen that often, but women, and foreigners need to be vigilant.

Registered cabs from airports are safer
As a foreigner, I don’t know which cabs to take in India. I normally take rickshaws and deal with their tricks and bad manners. I have a few tricks too which they don’t like which include getting out of the rickshaw when they try to bill me for a 20 minute stop at a gas station. But, airports normally offer the possibility of getting in a registered cab, and you can inform your friends or family what the cab number is just in case.

Martial arts are a good idea!
Indian women are not known for their acumen at violent sports. Neither are the guys for that matter. But, ladies who I know in India are routinely harrassed in parks, and by rickshaw drivers. It is a serious problem. In addition to pepper spray, women need to know how to defend themselves from a headlock, grabbing, or an oncoming bully. If enough women know how to defend themselves, the bullies will be afraid of everyone! Having a good command of Karate or Tai Quan Do is an excellent idea. Long ago I heard a story of a short Chinese lady who was attacked by three huge thugs in New York City. After about 2 seconds, the thugs lay lifeless on the ground. This tiny lady took them all out in the blink of an eye because she was a deadly martial arts master. In addition to Veena & Tabla lessons, some Kung Fu might not be a bad idea.

Plain clothes protectors
Conditions are so bad for ladies in India that they need separate cars on trains, and separate cabs, just to avoid being molested. Additionally, the government doesn’t provide clean places for ladies to go to the bathroom in public which is a huge problem. But, what if there were unmarked guards who roam around parks, railway stations, and roads to protect women from harrassment and other dangers. So many men go around India bothering women, that after a few months, these guards could arrest tens of thousands of these troublemaking rowdy gundas!

It is not safe for women to take cabs in India, or even go for a walk in the park, or down the street. However, women need to go to work, go shopping and get around. So, taking the right precautions makes sense. And I wish you luck. Just remember — use your newly found Karate skills on the bad guys, not on me!

Six Problems That Only Individuals Working In A BPO Industry Would Understand

Categories: BPO, Call Center, India, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Six Problems That Only Individuals Working In A BPO Industry Would Understand
Anyone who has been working in a call centre, or has already worked there knows that there is no other psychological trauma quite like it, say for example hooked up on a phone call that would never end for the majority of your life, and is been subjected to the worst kinds of humanity.

Time is everything in a BPO Industry. We come across situations where you would have military walking in, your breaks being monitored, strict call length control, monitoring toilet breaks, etc. with each and everything being controlled and monitored. Welcome to the world of robots. Given below are some of the trials and tribulations one would have been experiencing in a call centre and lucky are the ones who escaped from it.

Being shouted at the entire day: You know what could make your clients angry for the things you are about to say. And things like it would take two weeks, or you do not have an account with us, or I would have to transfer your call, or my boiler has not been working and it’s definitely your fault. These are things that would sound like a red rag to a bull. So if you are lucky enough you would be getting a response like this I know it’s not your fault but before things go worse….and is something that’s unlikely to happen.

Being asked to work overtime: Each and every one of us have been doing this. We would have to work overtime in order to pull the given targets. We cannot let our customers down and would require someone who could answer their calls.

Taking up calls that you cannot deal with:These kind of things continue to happen a lot in the BPO Industry and is something that is never funny. Weeping people come forward and tell you their story whereas screaming customers would claim that they are going to come commit suicide with sexually inappropriate comments. And when such things happen you would here need to remember that you would have to wrap up the calls in 2 minutes or else would be fired.

Having to come up at 8.30 and starting your computer: You have been told that you need to be at your desk by sharp 8:30 am and it’s already 9.30. And it’s obvious that certain programme that you would need at your job would take half an hour of time to load. And off course you would not be paid for your extra half an hour then why would you choose to work for an extra hour.

Not wanting to be a part of clients call during day off: Do not try of contacting your customer success team during weekends, it would never ever happen. So try and use whats up, gmail, Viber, and Facebook instead.

Getting Back Home and Noticing That Your Friends Have Been On Facebook The Entire Day: Most of the times we come across situations where we did not have much work to do. And you could just read articles online with a limited access to internet like the fact of the day been written by your manager and your weekly column where your CEO would be describing the holiday he would be going on.
Author Bio:

Abhishek Jain has over 10 years of experience within the BPO Industry and Finance and Accounting outsourcing services. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Services India delivers and manages various offshore/onsite projects in various technologies and domains


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If you invested in training your BPO employees, what types of skills would you teach them

Categories: BPO, Outsourcing Articles, Popular Posts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The mistake that BPO companies make is that they think that their employees are there to do a particular job. This is wrong. They are there to deliver results that contribute to revenue. What am I talking about? I’m not making sense here.

Which matters more? Teamwork or hard-skills?
Let’s say that a software development company needs to get work done. So, naturally they hire some software developers. This is their first mistake. Someone who is merely a software developer or programmer is not qualified to work at a BPO. Why? Because at a BPO you work as a team in some way or the other, so you need to hire someone who is good not only at programming, but also at teamwork. India is an authoritarian culture. You keep your mouth shut and do as you are told. This type of culture doesn’t foster teamwork. Japanese culture is all about team work, but I haven’t lived there and can’t explain what they do.

So, how do you train your employees?
If you want to have a really amazing company, you need to train your people in all types of ways. They need to be good at their core skills. They need to be able to communicate, stay organized, work with others, and get things done on time. I believe that the majority of the training for a programmer would be to put them through a lot of diverse programming tasks with a very seasoned teacher watching over them. Many programmers are good at doing the tasks they do repetitively, but fall short the minute you give them a difficult task.

How do you teach communication?
Most programmers in India cannot talk to clients. This is usually not a problem because clients want to talk to the PM, not the programmer. But, what if you get a client like me who wants to know what type of person he is working with. I have endured countless buffoons, and want someone smart. This means I have to talk to them. Mastering the art of oral communication is not easy, and your BPO is probably not equipped to teach it either. Additionally, clear written communication is another key element in software development. Most programmers refuse to get back to people as a matter of policy, so what do you do with them?

In short, you need to train your employees in all types of ways. Whether you should give them a lower salary in the beginning when you are doing more training is up to you. Or, you could make them prove themselves before you give them much training. But, after enduring the incompetent behavior of dozens of outsourcing houses, I strongly recommend that you invest 10-20% of an employees time in some type of training and evaluation program. The training should be continuous and not stop , although it could intensify at particular points in their employment.

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Is your outsourcing job just a job?

Categories: Outsourcing Articles, Popular Posts | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I must have called close to a thousand outsourcing companies over the last two months. I called call centers, medical billing companies, programming houses, data entry facilities and more. When I call them, I can tell whose job is just a job and whose job is a passion that really matters. I want to hire people who are devoted to their work.

One way to see how devoted people are is to call them after hours. If someone answers their phone at 7pm or after, they might be more devoted to their job than someone who leaves promptly at 5pm. See who works on the weekends. Many people are not willing to. Keep in mind that just because someone puts in that extra effort doesn’t guarantee they are the right fit for you, but it helps and is a plus!

Another thing to look for is managers who answer their own phone. Many managers who are serious have a phone line that they generally answer. Others have a secretary transfer calls to them. There are also managers who are completely impossible to reach who you have to schedule an appointment with. If you are doing a serious time sensitive project with someone, you need to be able to reach them.

As a parting thought, it would be so much nicer if more people would take their jobs more seriously. If you could get through to people on the first attempt rather than chasing them around town, life would be so much easier. If managers hired the right workers, you wouldn’t have to shop around so much and fire people so often. The world would be a much better place!

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Judge a book by its cover; Judge a company by its office

A programming company that charges $25,000 per week?

Categories: Popular Posts, Software Development | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

OMG! I can’t believe they charge so much. Why is this?

I interviewed a company in Florida. They seemed like the best programming company in the world. They assign you a team of four members, and they will prepare the specifications ahead of time of what they are going to do for you. Then, they will work for a week or more and get your huge project done with a bang.

My worry was that if they needed me in the middle of the project and I was not available, what would happen? At $4000 a day, if there is any small problem with the server, you are out $500 per hour while you wait for solutions. What if, what if. I think that if I were a larger company, and knew these guys better, the arrangement might make great sense. I asked if there was any other way to proceed, but they said that was their business model. It is an interesting business model, but scary for me.

When hiring programmers, be aware that there are many programmers out there with different levels of expertise, caution, care, and styles of getting work done. You need to find someone who works on your speed and who gets along well with you. Personally, I prefer to do between two and fifteen hours of programming per week. That way I can be involved in the process and make sure everything goes right. But, your style might be completely different. Good luck, and start saving up for your $25,000 week today!

Judge a book by its cover; Judge a company by its office

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

My new interest in life is something completely different from my previous interests. I used to like languages, animals, nature, trees, and hiking. Now, I want to be an expert at judging a company by its “cover.” I learned that a quick visit to someone’s office can tell you a lot about the quality of their work.

What I learned is that a good service provider is generally a good communicator. When you drop into someone’s office, the first thing you should do is make small talk. Yes, you can do this over the phone too, but you see the person’s demeanor and mannerisms much better up front. If a person communicates using good English, and thorough explanations, they could be considered to be a sophisticated person. My best service providers all fall into the category of sophisticated.

One of the problems I have faced in judging people based on their communication faculties are that the people I interact with are not native speakers. I deal with people around the world on a daily basis. Americans speak English well. If they make a small grammatical error, or don’t communicate ideas clearly, that is a very clear clue that they are not too sharp. With foreigners it is much harder to tell. Their English is never that great, so you can’t judge them based on grammar. If you find that you can communicate with them and that they are making an effort to communicate clearly, that is very important. Many people live in the USA for years and feel that learning English and interacting with Americans is something to avoid — avoid those types!

The next thing you can see is how much thought someone put into their decor. If you walk into a place that is bare bones with no artwork and no plants, the quality of the service might be pretty bare bones as well. Even my chiropractor understands that bare bones need to be covered with at least something — maybe a ligament or muscle tissue. Then, there are other folks whose office looks like they put some work into it. Some people have magazines in the waiting room.

I know this blog is supposed to be about outsourcing, but the examples I am going to use here are about medical offices. Just pretend the my chiropractor’s place is really a BPO or KPO outfit.

I went to a spa that had a waiting room with zen pillows, a large plant with leaves draping down, and a very nice Asian looking desk. It was very comfy, but also made me feel relaxed. The treatment rooms had expensive carpet, sliding Japanese paper & wood doors, a towel with three carefully placed massage stones, and more! The rooms were just the right size too. Most clinics try to have as small rooms as possible so they can squeeze in as many patients as possible. This place did it right! The minute I walked in the door, their attention to detail was impressed upon me, and I knew my spa treatment would be high quality. I was right. I judged a spa by its cover, and uncovered a winner.

I went to another spa that had a huge sign saying “Grand Opening.” I later learned they had been there for over a year. Maybe it is time to lose the sign? Their waiting room had a plant and some cheap looking chairs. It was small and uncomfortable. The people working there were uptight and not smooth in any way although very nice once they got to know me. The spa treatment seemed liked the person had never been trained. It was the worst I have ever had and the least expensive. It was so bad, that they should be paying me for my time spent instead of the other way around. In any case, if I had been smarter, I would have known that the treatment would be as horrible as their waiting room.

But, my rule is not fool-proof. My chiropractor has a very plain waiting room. It is the right size and the chairs and okay. Nothing fancy, but comfy. He has magazines and a nice staff of ladies. Nothing fancy, but they do a good job. He is the best chiropractor I have ever used and I drive over an hour to visit him every two months. If an office is average, the service could be good or bad. Average offices are not an indication of quality. But, really good ones or really bad ones are a very clear indication!

Vampire Programmers from Transylvania!

Categories: Popular on Google+, Popular Posts, Software Development | Tagged | Leave a comment

Vampire Web Developers in Transylvania? Beware of Signing Contracts–in Blood

It was early evening as I arrived for the meeting. Twilight, that mysterious time between day… and night.

I was in Transylvania, as they now spell it, an area of Romania, for a meeting with a web developer. The outsourcing firm was called “Count Source,” and the CEO had assured me “After you meet with me, your life will never be the same.” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As I walked up to the large wooden door in the dark stone building set back from the road at the end of a long driveway, I had the odd feeling I was being watched. I shrugged, stood at the door, and knocked. Count Dracula? Count Source Outsource? I laughed to myself. Why worry?

“Good evening,” said the strange man who opened the door. He was dressed vaguely like a butler. “I am Ambrogio. Mr. Strigoi is in the office. Have a seat. He is just finishing up a session.” At that moment, a piercing scream came from the next room: “MY CODE!!! What will happen to–” Silence.

“Would you like some…wine?” Ambrogio asked.

“No thank you. I have an appointment with Vlad Strigoi,” I said, suddenly uncomfortable. I looked around the room. “If this is a bad time I can–”

“Oh no,” said Ambrogio. I couldn’t remember where I had heard that name. “He will be with you in just a moment. We have been expecting you,” he said, smiling in a strange, sad way. He walked slowly toward the ‘office’ where the scream had come from…somewhere down a long, shadowy hall.

I looked around the room. I realized it was not only quiet but dark, lit with a few electrified candelabras on antique tables. Dark wood. The air smelled musty. This was more like a parlor, an ancient sitting room, than the waiting area of a modern hi-tech office. In fact–it looked nothing like the brochure I had seen online!

In a moment, a dark figure dressed in black walked hurriedly down the hall towards me. The first thing I noticed were his eyes: gleaming, electric, hypnotic. I was already sure this was the developer for me…

“So pleased to meet you, Mr. Montbel,” he said smoothly, barely whispering. “Won’t you come in?”

“Thank you. That’s Belmont,” I replied, but added, “Yes…Montbel…also a lovely name… I want to give you the codes to my site at once,” I murmured– not even sure why I was saying this.

Imagine the rest. In a moment, I had given a stranger the codes to my website–and all my personal information. As if I were in a trance… dazzled by the sample websites and figures and company information I was being shown. But–there was no company! No employees: only a man named Strigoi…in a room that smelled strangely like–blood. I could almost taste it, metalic and salty. And there he stood, with those swirling, penetrating dark eyes– holding out a pen for me to sign–a 200 page contract–just to get 100 hours of initial programming done! And as he gazed at me, he came ever closer…closer.

Suddenly, just as I was about to sign and give Strigoi a $10,000 retainer– I awoke from my daze, put down the red pen–and ran from the house. Suddenly I remembered: Transylvania meant “the land beyond the forest,” and Ambrogio meant “the undead” or “immortal.” Strigoi– was the name of an ancient clan–of vampires!

If you are beguiled by a sales pitch and a smile, then persuaded to sign a contract just to speak with the company about its services, or to be able to give them a test project, or do a few hours of programming–beware: it may cost you–more than you planned for or really want to spend!

(1) Programmers from Transylvania prefer to sign their contracts — in blood!
(2) An outsourcing company in Transylvania was called, “Count Source”
(3) After you meet with them, your life will never be the same: Outsourcing to Transylvania

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Which countries are the best to outsource particular tasks to?

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

When you boil it down, is it about the individual company, its boss or its workers? Or is it more about the available labor pool in that particular country, and its cultural tendencies? The answer is that it is a little of both. Each country has different attributes. Thank god the world has so many countries, because to get anything done you need them. Can you imagine Danish pastries made by Americans? Or French Croissants made by Germans? What about Chinese food made by Koreans? It just doesn’t taste the same.

IT Outsourcing / Software Development Outsourcing
There are several countries that are good for this type of work. Keep in mind that the market can change abruptly if a single large company like Google decides to hire or fire in mass! Americans are the smartest at programming. We invented the computer and the internet in my state of residence here in California. But, due to market conditions, people are far too busy to be able to get anything done in a reasonable timeframe. Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and India are my best picks for getting outsourced software work done. These countries need more hours to do the same work that an American could do in fewer hours. But, at least they HAVE those hours. The

Europeans are reputed to be more careful about following directions than Indians, but there are companies (if you search hard enough) who are very nitpicky as well. If you plan on visiting these companies, the weather is nicer in India, especially during the winter. Shop around and test these guys out.

Call Center Outsourcing
India has a reputation of being big in this business. But, the sad reality is that they lack the social graces to maintain a client base. The Philippines, Kenya, South Africa, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and other Central American destinations are now popular picks for outsourced call center work. They have better accents, more graceful social skills, and the prices are reasonable as well. Indians might have an edge at technical support since they are stronger at IT tasks as a culture in India. India might be a good destination for Telemarketing since they are more aggressive than Filipinos. Once again, shop around and compare. Pick your agents by hand as well.

Data Entry Outsourcing
India leads the pack in this type of work, but I have not found so many companies that seem meticulous enough to do data entry outsourcing. I have no recommendations here other than to be careful.

Medical Transcription & Billing
It might be a better idea to find a US based provider that has staff members throughout the world. This practice is already commonplace. So, you can get the price benefits of outsourcing — without outsourcing, at least not outsourcing yourself! There are a few good medical transcription companies in India an the Philippines who I spoke to who gave a good impression so far in these industries.

Web Design
India once again has many Web Design companies with charismatic bosses who communicate well. Prices are low as well. But, don’t overlook Argentina. Please understand that the Argentinians culturally are great artists, and their web designers are no exception. My staff learned that they lack a business mentality in South America. The work is good, but quotas, schedules, deadlines, websites that actually have phone numbers, and other “being businesslike” characteristics are lacking down there! No country has it all, but the South Americans have great art skills and the warmest personalities in any hemisphere. Worth a try!

Accounting, Finance & Legal
India, in particular Delhi has many companies with very educated people engaged in Accounting outsourcing Finance outsourcing as well as LPO or Legal Process Outsourcing. Please keep in mind that the LPO companies cannot do all of the tasks that an American law firm can do, but they can do many support tasks at 30% of cost while you sleep.

(1) Finding the right country to outsource to is a combination of culture & cost effectiveness.

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Outsourcing: Why Everyone is Doing it. One Bizarre Example

Categories: Of Interest, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Outsourcing: Why Everyone is Doing it. One Bizarre Example

One U.S. software developer who makes a six-figure income recently admitted–when he was caught–that he outsources his work to a software developer in China and spends his time relaxing and browsing various websites. The cost? A mere 20% of his salary.

Also, please note: it is entirely possible to get comparable if not superior work from an IT company in India or China. Cost is not the only factor.

This case demonstrates why companies outsource–and how tired and discouraged even successful Americans are with work. Many people assume that outsourcing is the cruel scheme of big business in the U.S. or that the government is at fault for promoting outsourcing to IT companies in India or China. But in this case, the developer had a great reputation and paying work–but chose to jeopardize his position by outsourcing to an IT company in China. In short, he did not want to work or was not able to take the stress that came with the job.

U.S. companies, fueled by Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, point out that, in 2013, there are 120,000 new IT jobs created for people with computer science degrees, by only a little over 50,000 new college graduates qualified to fill these jobs…which invariably get filled by workers from foreign countries with temporary visas. Outsourcing to IT companies in India and elsewhere will continue as long as American companies find there are not enough qualified American workers to do the job.

In our experience, for example, many high-end software developers in California outsource their work to IT companies in India, and have a variety of explanations of how their work gets done and where. According to, the global outsourcing industry was a 1.6 trillion dollar success story in 2007. The Wall Street Journal, as quoted by, confirmed that the largest corporations, including “General Electric, Caterpillar, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Chevron, Cisco, Intel, Stanley Works, Merck, United Technologies, and Oracle…cut their workforces by 2.9 million people over the last decade while hiring 2.4 million people overseas.” These figures do not include thousands of jobs outsourced to IT companies in India or China by smaller firms across the U.S.

In addition to IT companies, Call Centers in India and Data Entry in India are getting a huge share of the global outsourcing market. Recently, Call Centers in the Philippines and South Africa are also popular outsourcing destinations.

(1) There are 120,000 new IT jobs every year, but only 50,000 new people to fill those jobs
(2) There is a growing shortage of programmers in the USA, and outsourcing fills the gap
(3) Programmer outsources work to China for 20% of salary!
Next: Outsourcing bedsores he developed from lying around
(4) Only 50,000 U.S. grads qualified to fill 120,000 IT jobs for compu-sci majors. Foreigers w/temporary visas love IT!
(5) Global outsourcing industry raked in $1.6 trillion in 2007! That’s almost enough to pay someone else 2 do the raking
(6) Big U.S. companies have given the boot to 2.9 million & hired 2.4 million overseas! The boot wasn’t even made in US.
(7) India BPO’s are getting a huge share of the global outsourcing market. Forget India ink. We’re talking India Inc.
(8) Programmer outsources work to China for 20% of salary! Next: Outsourcing free time with family driving him crazy!

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Call Centers in India: Is an English Accent Important? Just do Your Job

Categories: Call Center, Popular Posts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Necessity–or Prejudice?

Do you feel you are somehow getting better service when someone at a call center in India speaks with an English Accent? Is it better to speak with someone who speaks perfect clear English but who is not energetic or helpful? Which person gets your respect and trust? These questions actually go right to the heart of our attitudes and beliefs about customer service.

Americans are notorious for complaining about companies who use callers from call centers in India because they are hard to understand, do not understand the other person’s accent, and do not inspire confidence. The conventional wisdom is that if you are calling native English speakers, your call center will do better if you have callers who speak with an English or American accent. Call centers in India that call people in the U.S. generally do better when they hire native English speakers. This is what the mainstream media generally reports.

It is possible, though, that Americans have become suspicious of foreigners and just aren’t willing to compromise on what they want. They feel uncomfortable with accents and immediately remember their jobs are being taken away be “these people.” According to a 2011 Q&A session with professor Steven Neuberg in Scientific American, “People who are foreign to us are more likely to pose certain kinds of threats” and are not seen as having our interests at heart. They are more likely “to take more than their fair share” and to cheat us. Currently, the Better Business Bureau and many other organizations that are reputable and influential have blogs that include consumer comments on “foreign” accents. The FTC itself has a website blog “Fraud Affects 25 million people” that includes many consumer comments demonstrating suspicion about foreigners. If foreigners are cool– should we condone such comments? If outsourcing is going to work–shouldn’t we be extra careful about what we say and publish? The spin on foreign accents always seems negative, never positive.


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English is The Cat’s Pajamas

That expression, by the way, is an English slang expression meaning “the top” or “the best.” Just how important is your accent?

According to most surveys, neutral English accents are preferred; people do not mind talking with someone from a call center in the Philippines, for example, because that person can speak clear English. That is a major reason why call centers in the Philippines are getting so much work lately: native English speakers want to interact with those who speak English.

Listen to the Information, Not the Accent

However– what if you are a highly motivated and reliable worker at a call center in India and you do not speak perfect English? A call center manager who employs callers in various parts of the globe told us that if your Indian accent is not particularly heavy–but you understand the person’s questions, can explain everything clearly, and make a good impression–you can do just as well as native English speakers if you just do your job.

Doing your job at a call center in India means conveying the message, getting a positive response from the person at the other end of the line, maybe making a sale or giving good advice about a product, and not having that person hang up on you or complain. If the person has gotten good information, he or she will not feel the caller with a foreign accent has been dishonest or unreliable in any way.

Just Do Your Job

If you are able to convince the person you are calling that you understand what is being said, and if you can respond in an upbeat manner with good suggestions or comments, you may do just fine.

I would rather hear from someone at a call center in India who is positive and smart than someone who sounds lazy and stupid but speaks perfect English. I don’t care what the person’s name is if I can understand what is being said and I get some good information. I am not worried that this person will take jobs away from the U.S, because that person is a human being who is trying his or her best…and where the jobs go is beyond my control. The success of the conversation depends only on whether the person is doing the job.

If you work at a call center in India, you owe it to yourself to try to speak clearly and give the very best information you can. Be natural and helpful, and don’t worry about the person on the other end of the phone. Just do your job!

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(1) Is it more important to have an English accent or to just speak clearly and do your job?
(2) Many Indians think a UK accent is the way to get ahead. Being helpful counts more!