AT&T stops outsourcing

Written by Brett Thomas

September 25, 2006 | 18:21

Tags: #customer-service

Companies: #att #dell

This story is not so much important on its own as it is for its possible influence:

Have you ever called a technical support line for your phone provider, computer manufacturer, or other piece of technological importance only to have the other end of the line be barely able to understand you, much less diagnose your problems? It's more than a small problem - outsourcing has not only affected countless jobs in many countries, it's also been proven to reduce accurate service, and leaves customers often feeling shortchanged.

Now, one of the world's largest and oldest corporations, AT&T, has decided to fight its growing customer-service issues by stopping its outsourcing. Instead, the company will start up a new unionized shop in the US for its customer service. The positions will pay over $30,000 USD and have benefits. By offering a living-wage salary and benefits, AT&T hopes to attract qualified people and greatly improve its customer satisfaction.

The big question that this raises is, will others follow? Outsourcing has previously been argued to be an important cost-reduction strategy for companies across the globe in the world's richest nations Including the US, UK, and Japan), where labour is expensive. Clearly, a goliath like AT&T choosing to pursue different means illustrates that this supposed cost reduction must be in fact costing the company more money.

Could this signal a change in corporate strategies worldwide? Will we start seeing more local (or at least regional) support staff again as a corporate priority? Let us know your thoughts in our forums.
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