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Hot off the Press - News & Commentary

Dell’s Corp customers get New Deal, Home users get New Delhi
Nov 26th, 2003

With all the boasting by Industry “analysts” in support of companies moving their tech support to “off-shore” suppliers, Dell has made a not-so-surprising about face! Dell is returning some technical-support jobs from India to the United States.

Dell and other computer companies have caught a lot of flak from their customers and the general public when they quietly stole out of the US. In particular, Dells devorted Corporate clients raised almighty Hell with the substandard support from Dells India Tech Service Support.

"We felt a little noise and angst from our customers, and we decided to make some changes," said Gary Cotshott, vice president of Dell's services division. "Sometimes, we move a little too far, too fast." Customers have complained that the Indian technical-support representatives are difficult to communicate with because of thick accents and scripted responses. English-speaking Indian workers are highly educated but earn a fraction of American salaries.

Tech support for corporate customers with Optiplex desktop and Latitude notebook computers will instead be handled from call centers in Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, Dell spokesman Jon Weisblatt said Monday.

Dell's reversal comes as many U.S. companies are rushing to outsource operations to India and other nations with low labor costs. It suggests the savings some achieved by moving jobs overseas may sometimes be outweighed by the cost of antagonizing loyal customers.

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It's unclear how many jobs the move might create in Round Rock, Texas, where Dell operates several call centers for tech support and sales.. Dell's other U.S. tech support call centers are in Nashville, Tenn., and Twin Falls, Idaho.

Home buyers still get New Delhi
While corporate IT staff members are happy with the return to Dell tech support with a Texas accent, home users are still getting the Po Boy from New Delhi . . . actually Bangalore, India. "would you like a Big Gulp with your replacement DVD drive?"

Corporate customers account for about 85 percent of Dell's business, with only 15 percent coming from the consumer market. Worldwide, Dell employs about 44,300 people. About 54 percent are abroad.

Among Dell customers dissatisfied with the company's use of overseas labor is Ronald Kronk, a Presbyterian minister in Rochester, Pa., who has spent the last four months trying to solve a problem that resulted in his being billed for two computers. The problem, he said, is that the Dell call center is in India.

"They're extremely polite, but I call it sponge listening — they just soak it in and say, `I can understand why you're angry,' but nothing happens," Kronk said.

He added: "Every time I see a Dell commercial on TV, I just cringe. They make it sound so easy and it's been a nightmare." We wondered that same thing when Dell's commercial showed American customer support centers and staff!



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