December 21, 2004 11:24 AM PST

'Homeshoring' to trump offshoring?

The next customer service agent you get on the phone may well be sitting in slippers and a bathrobe.

A report released Tuesday from research firm IDC says a number of companies are turning to a new method to meet call center challenges: getting workers to handle calls from their homes.

So-called homeshoring or homesourcing in certain situations can boost productivity while cutting costs, according to researcher IDC. The practice also can avoid a potential pitfall of sending such work overseas, IDC suggested: foreign agents less familiar with U.S. customers.

"There are currently upwards of 100,000 home-based phone representatives in the United States," IDC said. "Compared with traditional outsourcing and offshor(ing), companies utilizing home-based agents can access highly skilled representatives that are closely attuned to the U.S. market at very reasonable cost."

The report may give some comfort to those concerned that the offshore phenomenon is undercutting U.S. workers. Research firm Forrester has predicted that more than 3 million U.S. service jobs will go offshore by 2015. But the scope and impact of offshoring is not certain.

Not all offshore deals are ideal. After receiving customer complaints, Dell stopped sending U.S. technical support calls for two of its corporate computer lines to a Bangalore, India, call center in 2003.

IDC said companies are turning to homeshoring in response to call center challenges such as the need for superior agent quality, frequent turnover and the seasonal nature of the business. Alpine Access, Aspect Communications, IntelliCare, West, WillowCSN and Working Solutions are companies with "home-based sourcing methods and strategies," IDC said.

A number of companies in the technology industry are giving more workers flexibility in the way they do their jobs, including the option of working from home. There are challenges involved in telecommuting arrangements, including data security risks. Also, home workers can feel alienated. But homeshoring can help both agents and companies, IDC said.

"Accessing high-quality agents is not limited to those within commuting distance, and agents can be contacted when needed instead of occupying call centers during periods of very little call activity," IDC said.

33 comments

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Earthlink service is great. There tech support sucks.
I was ambivalent about outsourcing as a whole. I figured who'd want to fight for a job paying little to hear other people's gripes? Than I ran into Earthlink's outsourced tech support.

Earthlink's service is fast and great, AS LONG AS YOU DON'T NEED TECH SUPPORT. If you're unlucky enough to have to call tech support (in India), you would be better off just cancelling your service and go with another vendor. That's what I did.

If the line goes dead, India tech support will follow a set script: shut down your modems and pc and reboot. As if you were to stupid to have done this already. Than they ask you to change all your Windows settings to a "default" setting. This is even though you had installed nothing since the last time the line was working. And after they had killed your Windows settings, they want you to re-install the modem software. As if you had actually been using that to begin with.

And repeated requests for them to just tell the REAL tech folks in the US to check the lines gets you the "stupid blank stare look" that you can "see" over a phone line. It's that bad.

I wander how many other companies lost business due to Indian tech "support".
Posted by (75 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I launched a call center 2 months ago...
I launched one for the company I was running. The call center was in Toronto. I've never done this, but what I learned is that even with the idea of saving money, you should allways at all cost have Americans speaking to Americans.... Even the Canadians weren't up to task. They can not converse with Americans as you'd think. This idea of givng CSR voip phones is a good one, and one I hope my company embraces.
Posted by saleen351 (36 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What happened?
I read your comments about homeshoring and that you hoped your company would embrace the idea. Does your company have any homeshoring opportunities, or do you know any other companies that do?

Thanks
Posted by tjm307 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Homeshoring
I would love a job working from home. I have a BA in Public Relations, but live in a very small town out in the middle of California. I have to live here to look after my mother. HELP ME!!!
Posted by NStaley (1 comment )
Link Flag
outsourcing to home-shoring
I have read lots of articles on outsourcing to remote home-shoring individuals. I think it is great! No more having to deal with people that don't understand Americans; no more straining to try to understand their broken English. No loss of American jobs to outsiders. One problem though - with all the articles out there about home-shoring, I can't find any info on how to apply for a job doing it. Anybody know how I could apply for this type of work, or anyone need an employee?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
homeshoring
I would also love to be contacted by those organizations that "homeshore". I believe that it is a perfect opportunity for me and would love to learn more about potential opportunities.
Posted by AAAhl14 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Homeshoring available jobs
I am very interested working from my home. How do I go about finding companies who are hiring?
June Burnside
Posted by Pruddygirl (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Work at home (I LOVE IT!!)
please visist my website..

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.freewebs.com/workathome4real/" target="_newWindow">http://www.freewebs.com/workathome4real/</a>

Thanks,
ASK'uNique
Posted by askunique (4 comments )
Link Flag
Homeshoring to trump offshoring
I would very much like to know where i could locate employment for disabled persons at a virtual call center. this sounds very interesting.
Posted by dwitherow (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
How can I find the employment opportunities?
Your article sounds very interesting. I was wondering if you had additional information on where to find homeshoring employment opportunities.
Posted by tjm307 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
work at home
I would also like to know how to get started working at home doing Bookkeeping/customer care/data entry
Posted by Genlady (1 comment )
Link Flag
HOMESHORING
How can I find the opportunities with homeshoring?
Posted by jakenny1k (4 comments )
Link Flag
HOMESHORING
How can I find the opportunities with homeshoring?
Posted by jakenny1k (4 comments )
Link Flag
Virtual Staffing - Work at home services.
There is a company called virtual staffing service and they specialize in only legitimate telecommuting positions. You will not have to go through a list of jobs, they will find one for you and have you working usually within the same week!

I started about 3 months ago and im a mother of 3 I just thought i would let you know if you are looking for something long term and legit. You can visit them at www.virtualstaffingservice.com
Posted by Blackinfinity2004 (3 comments )
Link Flag
I work from HOME
Hi Tammie,
I replied above your post but not sure if you got a chance to review it. I live in Georgia and I actually work for two companies from the comfort of my home (kid you not!) I was hired by a third but just didn't have the time to complete the training because of the two jobs I already have. Working from home is the best thing that ever happened to me and my family (and to be honest I didn't believe that these types of opportunities were available, but they are). Please feel free to visit my website for more info. Feel free to email me too.
peoplewhoworkathome@yahoo.com
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.freewebs.com/workathome4real/" target="_newWindow">http://www.freewebs.com/workathome4real/</a>

ASK'uNique
Posted by askunique (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
work from home
Mrs. Norton-I don't know if my last reply reached you. How would I get additional information on working from home??Can you share this information?
Posted by jakenny1k (4 comments )
Link Flag
work from home
Mrs. Norton-I don't know if my last reply reached you. How would I get additional information on working from home??Can you share this information?
Posted by jakenny1k (4 comments )
Link Flag
Virtual Staffing Home Employment
There is a company called virtual staffing service and they specialize in only legitimate telecommuting positions. You will not have to go through a list of jobs, they will find one for you and have you working usually within the same week!

I started about 3 months ago and im a mother of 3 I just thought i would let you know if you are looking for something long term and legit. You can visit them at www.virtualstaffingservice.com
Posted by Blackinfinity2004 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Homeshoring employment
I am trying to get some information about homeshoring employment. I would like to know who to contact about getting a job homeshoring.

Judy
Posted by Judy Henson (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Homeshoring employment
Check it out this new site that is in beta - insourceme.com

Looks like you can post an ad describing what you can do and when you can do it for free.
Posted by jeezbrian (1 comment )
Link Flag
Desperatly neededing Work from home employment
I CURRENT WORK AT A VERY LARGE MORTGAGE COMPANY NOW , BUT DESPERATLY NEEDING AN EMPLOYMENT OFFER TO WORK FROM HOME , I DO MORTGAGES NOW, PRIOR I WORK IN CLL CNTER FOR CREDIT CARDS, I HAVE MY OWN HOME OFFICE, FAX SCANNER, PRINTER, CAN DO CALLS OVER THE I AM VERY EXPERIENCED AGENT, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE I AM HAVING THE DARNEST TIME TO FIND EMPLOYMENT FROM HOME I DONT WANT TO PAY FEES TO WORK,,,,,,, SOS, HELP HELP DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANT SUGGESTIONS FOR ANY COMPANIES THAT HIRE EXPEREICED, PROFESS IONAL, PEOPLE

THANKS A MILLION!!!!![/b]
Posted by mignon04 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Desperatly neededing Work from home employment
I CURRENT WORK AT A VERY LARGE MORTGAGE COMPANY NOW , BUT DESPERATLY NEEDING AN EMPLOYMENT OFFER TO WORK FROM HOME , I DO MORTGAGES NOW, PRIOR I WORK IN CLL CNTER FOR CREDIT CARDS, I HAVE MY OWN HOME OFFICE, FAX SCANNER, PRINTER, CAN DO CALLS OVER THE I AM VERY EXPERIENCED AGENT, BUT IT SEEMS LIKE I AM HAVING THE DARNEST TIME TO FIND EMPLOYMENT FROM HOME I DONT WANT TO PAY FEES TO WORK,,,,,,, SOS, HELP HELP DOES ANYBODY HAVE ANT SUGGESTIONS FOR ANY COMPANIES THAT HIRE EXPEREICED, PROFESS IONAL, PEOPLE

THANKS A MILLION!!!!![/b]mignon04@yahoo.com
Posted by mignon04 (2 comments )
Link Flag
usefull Tips
Please also take a look
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blog.elzahaby.com/2006/07/03/to-freelance-or-not-.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://blog.elzahaby.com/2006/07/03/to-freelance-or-not-.aspx</a>
also
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blog.elzahaby.com" target="_newWindow">http://blog.elzahaby.com</a>
Posted by Zahaby (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I think another alternative to this is companies in cosmopolitan cities around the world that attract English speaking people (for reasons other than a job). These people are there for whatever reasons, but also need a job. For instance, I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have met so many people from around the world that work in their own language. For instance, 5ca (www.5ca.com) is run by people from the Netherlands but located here in Bs As. Their workstaff comprises of Argentines (obviously) but also people from the U.S., U.K., Holland, France, Germany, Russia, etc. They are cheaper than homeshored companies, but you still get a native speaker.
Posted by rdeering83 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, I agree. Outsourcing companies seem to be setting up everywhere in Buenos Aires. Its a great opportunity for people like myself who live here and are looking for work. Here is a link to another article that outlines the advantages and why companies are continuing to set up down here. Take a look at it, http://www.creative-outsourcing.com/outsourcing-of-creative-work-is-to-argentina-what-outsourcing-of-programming-is-to-india-and-outsour.html
Posted by jkelly1897 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am from Nairobi, Kenya. I have a typing bureau in Nirobi and i would like to source for it typing jobs from the internet? How is that possible?
Posted by wanjiru2009 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Latin America, Argentina in particular is increasingly becoming the new hub for outsourcing companies. With a well educated population, highly developed telecoms infrastructure, low incomes, close proximity to the US and similar times zones, it has so much to offer. Outsourcing to Argentina for example has its benefits over homeshoring. www.5ca.com
Posted by jkelly1897 (2 comments )
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