I don't know who 'Exelior' is (though there's some chance their management skills are in line with their vocabulary skills) but I'm assuming that it's a company that 'trains' call centre staff for placement in large or start up call centres. The fact that AAPT (who announced this decision over a year ago from memory) are moving their Australian out sourced call centres to off shore outsourced call centres simply acknowledges the reality of manufacturing products or delivering services in a 'global economy'.
I don't know who the first Australian manufacturer was that did this but my father in law suggested it was Hanimex (who once made low cost cameras in Australia) in the 1970s but then shifted all manufacturing to an outsource manufacturer in a succession of SE Asian countries following skills availability and labour cost reductions. Certainly US manufaturers have been doing it for decades and Indian call centres employ hundreds of thousands of personnel providing call centres to US and European (and Australian) service companies including credit card issuers, banks, airlines, PC manufacturers, etc, etc.
As the article suggests, Telstra, Optus and TPG have already moved parts of their call centres to the Philippines and iiNet recently made an announcement that it was going to open a call centre in South Africa though it was unclear whether iiNet was planning to hire its own personnel or outsource that.
All of these companies (plus Exetel in its very minor way) make these decisions based on economic realities and, in Exetel's case, the difficulty of finding, and retaining, competent engineers (as opposed to script readers) to take and remain in call centre support roles for a realistic length of time.
I doubt that Telstra. Optus and TPG and now AAPT have done anything more than replace Australian script readers with Philippine script readers at a lower cost per script reader managed by foreign managers/organisations with no real knowledge of the companies for whom they provide services to. What iiNet intend is unclear.
Exetel haven't followed the 'offshore outsource' path but have recognised, after four years, the impossibility of building a sensibly skilled call centre irrespective of the cost due to the lack of desire by people who would be needed to staff such a facility not wishing to do that sort of work beyond their initial entry into the work force. Of course there are exceptions but not enough to staff a large call centre consistently.
We could get Australian graduate engineers to stay in a call centre position for three years (the time that is required to ensure true knowledge and skill is delivered to the customer consistently) by paying much more money (2 - 3 times what a call centre engineer currently gets paid). However if we did that then we would need to increase our prices to a point where customers wouldn't buy from us.
Or we could do what we plan to do which is to pay three times the going rate for a graduate engineer in a country that has lower wage structures than Australia has which makes such over payments possible. This is what we have done, planned to expand doing in the future.
In my, current, judgment it delivers the best possible scenario to Exetel's Australian customers, both in terms of the cost of their services and the quality of the support of those services, and avoids the 'bad English speaking script reader traps' of the vast majority of off shore outsourcing. It has worked well over the past years for Exetel in its trial form and I see no reason, at this stage, why it won't get better now we are expanding it to a 24 x 7 operation over the coming year.
All of the engineers we employ in Sri Lanka, or will employ in Sri Lanka, will be employed by Exetel with the same future career path opportunities that an Australian graduate engineer employed by us in Australia has or will have. In terms of remuneration a Sri Lankan engineer will be paid 2 - 3 times what other employers pay in Sri Lanka and that differential will be maintained throughout the time the engineer remains employed by Exetel.
In doing this sort of 'outsourcing' everyone wins:
1) The Sri Lankan engineers earn much more money than any other Sri Lankan employer will pay for their services for three years
2) The Australian customers will get more expert help than would otherwise be possible
3) The Australian customers will get longer support hours than would otherwise be possible
4) The Australian customers will get lower product/service prices than would otherwise be possible.
5) Exetel will become more cost/efficient which will give it a better chance of surviving to continue to deliver the lowest cost communications services in Australia
6) In terms of access to other personnel, training, systems resources or management an Exetel employee in Sri Lanka is the same, in every respect, as an Exetel employee in North Sydney, Canberra, Gosford, Mosman or Perth. Exetel continues to decentralise its personnel locations and it really makes no difference whether a customer call is answered from any particular geographic location.
If there's a fallacy in this planning then I am not aware of it.Our experience in developing this solution over the last 2+ years has allowed us to obtain detailed knowledge of the issues to be addressed and the best ways of addressing them and our gradual, but constantly, better understanding of the very different circumstances pertaining to operating a familiar business in a totally unfamiliar country is equally valuable.
I definitely don't believe that most of the current 'call centre outsourcing options' provide any real benefits to anyone (though I only have observational knowledge of that process) but I think the approach taken by Exetel is clearly very different and very clearly addresses the real issue - which is to provide BETTER customer service, by people who ENJOY their jobs more at LOWER costs.
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