Rahul Sood, a principal with Tech Strategy Partners, tackles some of the aches and pains of offshore tech support in this freely available issue of Managing Offshore. “When Offshore Support Needs Help” lists four reasons why initial cost projections can miss the mark in this aspect of outsourcing.
1. “…the investment required to seed offshore capability is usually higher than anticipated.” Mr. Sood says new support teams can require up to 18 months to be able to handle the full load of support for complex products. Along the same lines, support center in India, which have horrible working hours in catering to American customers, have high turnover — 20% to 30%. That makes it tougher for the overseas team to get up to speed.
2. “…the savings cannot be fully realized due to the need to maintain some local support capability.” Segments of your customer base may not be able to use offshore support, which means you need to maintain dual support operations.
3. “…higher wage inflation in the offshore destinations than in the U.S.” You may see salaries increase 1.5 times in the time it takes to get offshore operations fully functional.
4. “…Web-based support—an area which has attracted significant attention from product vendors—complicates the task of offshore reps.” As the Web becomes a more popular and better used source of basic tech support, the tech support reps are left dealing with the toughest questions, which just plain take longer to resolve.
Mr. Sood suggests some specific criteria for segmenting what in your product line is best suited for offshore tech support. For that advice, I suggest you read the article. You’ll find it on page 34 of the newsletter.