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A few words about outsourcing/offshoring…

I just spent a goodly amount of time talking to 3 layers of helpful, polite (and probably outsourced offshore) support people at a major high-tech company that charges a lot of money for its products. One of these products gave me an error containing the terms “failed catastrophically” and advised me to call support or reinstall the product. :-) Indeed.

I called support, since reinstallation would be vastly time-consuming and potentially error prone. Since I have done technical support at several high-tech companies myself, I found the knowledge base article discovered by the third person to be the most useful source of help.

However –

1) the outsourced support person used Windows and did not know Mac and could not tell me the location of files to FTP to them

2) the knowledge base article used backslashes for directories and “right-click” in its support section for MacOS X, so that the help article was obviously written by someone unfamiliar with the Mac (btw, Mac-using customers are some of the strongest supporters of this company).

If the officers of companies (of which I am one) believe (and I do not) that outsourcing is a good way to provide short-term financial gains, many of them are probably right.

If the officers of companies believe that outsourcing is a long-term sustainable model that American customers and workers will buy into, they are most probably wrong.

There is an old expression that “you get what you pay for,” and I think that it applies to outsourcing and offshoring. Unfortunately for customers, many companies have overestimated how much expense they can cut.

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