November 24, 2003

Dell brings some tech-support back home

Author: Joe Barr

The Austin American-Statesman reported on Friday that Dell intends to return most of its tech support to the homeland. According to that report and others, home consumers' calls to Dell tech support will still be routed to India but calls for assistance from corporate customers will once more be handled in the U.S.As we reported last month, many longtime Dell customers have been angered by the poor response times as well as poor support offered by tech support based in India. In that story, we predicted that customers might revolt, saying, " remains to be seen if customers will stick with Dell (or anyone else) when the service and quality they expect gets cut. Outsourced or not, short-term savings or not, horrible tech support is not going to prove beneficial to Dell in the long term."

It appears that Dell has been hearing the same sort of complaints that we did. Both language and knowledge seemed to be problems for these customers. This action by Dell shows they are listening.

The American-Statesman story quotes Dell vice-president of Dell's services division Gary Cotshott as saying, "We felt a little noise and angst from our customers, and we decided to make some changes." The story also asserts that, for the most part, in spite of the backlash like that reported in our story, companies are continuing to send jobs overseas.

The Dell move reverses a trend begun at the company when the bottom began to fall out of the tech market three years ago, and tech support calls were shifted to less expensive labor markets. It remains to be seen if this move is a temporary reversal or the start of a new trend. But in any case, while home consumers will still suffer from the poor level of tech support resulting from the language and knowledge problems in India, business customers can rejoice that the hardware side of the PC cost equation is not a monopoly. If it were, there would have been no such reversal, no matter how loud the squeals of complaint.


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