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This $6000 Pro Printer may soon be supported from overseas
Epson to shut down its Canadian call centers in favor of moving them to the Phillipines

Epson America Inc. will be the next company to join the likes of IBM, HP and Dell in outsourcing its tech support and call centers to the Philippines.

Epson has decided to move its customer call center in Richmond Hill, Ontario to a to a third-party call centre provider. The changeover will begin immediately and is expected to take about six months to complete.

All consumer-grade products appear to be affected by the move. The Customer Relations department is also expected to be hit with changes.

“As a result of this move, 300 full-time, part-time and contract positions in Canada will be affected over the next six months,” Epson said in a statement to DailyTech. “All employees impacted by the restructuring will be offered comprehensive severance and benefits packages in addition to personal and career counseling.”

Many companies are outsourcing its call centers in an effort to reduce costs. The Philippines have become a recent popular choice for reasons such as its large, English-speaking population.

“The service level provided by the North American customer call centre has been excellent,” the Epson statement explained. “However, as part of its ongoing review of operations to continue providing the highest quality service while also remaining cost competitive, Epson identified a third-party provider that is better equipped to handle increased customer calls with more efficient processes.”

Moves such as this one continue to help make the foreign outsourcing industry hot.

According to a Philippines Government-sponsored study, Projections for 2006 peg a 52 percent increase in outsourcing revenues, with investments in the industry surging by 42 percent. By 2010, up to 1.2 million people would be employed in the sector, up dramatically from the 233,000 people at present.

It is estimated that business process outsourcing will bring $3.8 billion in revenues to the Philippines this year, nearly quadrupling revenues from 2001.

“Outsourcing is a sector with much dynamism,” said Philippines Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri. “Companies are also getting more creative to respond to industry demand.”

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By breethon on 11/1/2006 5:59:18 PM , Rating: 3
We should make a point by not buying anything Epson from here on out (atleast until they return their call centers). I am so sick of talking to foreigners whose accent is so thick you can't understand them. Try calling M$ to reinstall XP sometime and you will know what I mean. If people stop buying their crap, then there will be no savings to ship jobs over seas. I will never understand why companies have to have Billions in profits, yet can't pay their workers (who are the backbone/heartbeat of the business) what they are due. RIDICULOUS!

RE: Outsourcing.....
By vhx500 on 11/1/2006 6:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
the sky was still found to be blue, and water was also found wet.

Seriously, what company doesn't offshore/outsource anymore? If you want to boycott Epson, go ahead. But be consistent; how about you stop using MS Software altogether and get a Mac? Oh, wait, Apple outsources their support too. You may also want to dump your PC since most of the parts come from China, and all that cheap Chinese labor is stealing American jobs! And the list goes on and on...

Face it. Offshoring/outsourcing is a fact of life.

RE: Outsourcing.....
By breethon on 11/2/2006 6:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
I was mad at the time I posted my original message....and admit that you are right.

Atleast use some of the $$ the companies are saving and hire some english tutors or something then. Obviously if you need support, not being able to understand the "TECH" is going to make it all the more difficult.

RE: Outsourcing.....
By Kuroyama on 11/5/2006 1:58:00 PM , Rating: 2
People from India are often quite hard to understand, even many of those living in the US, but I have yet to meet a Filipino who I had trouble understanding. Now, I'm sure that once Epson and others skim off the best English speakers then we'll start getting Tech support from people with bad English, but I suspect that a Tagalog accent may not be so bad as the accents that come from some Indian languages (or from French).

RE: Outsourcing.....
By Ringold on 11/1/2006 11:12:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yep. Dirty capitalists!

Let's instead adopt socialism, and pay American's more than twice what these other people will do the job for, and pass that cost on to customers.

Woops! Wait a second. There goes profitability! That's okay, we can just issue stock! Oh wait, nobody will buy our stock any more, since we don't make profit. We would have profit margins with our price increases at our old sales volumes, but with the higher prices, we're selling half as much; low-cost Chinese producers are killing us with fire sales. Well, thats okay! We'll have to lay off some employees. That'll fix it. Oh, Darn! Now those employees aren't buying our widgets anymore because, whodathunkit, because they're unemployed they can't afford widgets! And the Chinese widget makers are still undercutting us! Okay, we'll slash costs and issue bonds to cover debt until we figure out something to do. What? Whats that you say? Because our socialist practices have destroyed our profitability the bond market either wants huge interest rates or wont fund us at all?

Well, we have a good fight everybody, but time to cut wages to be competitive again. Oh noes! A pesky labor union won't let us! They're striking! And whats this; our top management has been lured to our chief competitor?! There's nothing left to do.. We've raided our pension fund, no capital left, products can't be price competitive.. Time to shutter the factories..

And so ends the socialist attempt to resist the forces of capitalism, with the destruction of the company in the face of competition.

RE: Outsourcing.....
By Xavian on 11/2/2006 8:56:34 AM , Rating: 2
Strange that Europe are Capitalistic-socialists, how on earth do they cope with socialism [/sarcasm]

Socialism is not the death of profits and capitalism in general, its the sheer greed that comes with capitalism that will end up being the downfall of it. Remember, must earn more profits! go go go!

The fact is, outsourcing is a natural extension of capitalism that the US loves so much, now you complain that your jobs are being lost because of it? you can have it only one way or the other.

RE: Outsourcing.....
By Schrag4 on 11/2/2006 11:30:10 AM , Rating: 2
So let me get this straight. Capitalism will fail because of greed? Somehow that seems like an oxy-moron to me. Besides, if some large corporation dies because of its greed, capitalism simply ensures that the void that's left will be filled sufficiently. If you ask me, socialism is much more negatively affected by greed.

Anyway, my only beef with Epson may be whether or not they can maintain the quality of their support service while cutting costs. If so, more power to them. Wanting a company to have less profit just so they can resist any kind of change is basically asking them to become extinct. If you own an Epson and you really want any kind of tech support in the future, you should praise them for striving to stay profitable.

Profit does not equal evil. If your employer didn't have profit, you wouldn't have a job. Do you want your employer's profits to increase? Duh....

RE: Outsourcing.....
By Ringold on 11/2/2006 8:27:32 PM , Rating: 2
Europe copes with it by having noticeably lower average GDP growth rates than the US, and compared to Hong Kong (most capitalist economy in existence) practically no growth. And higher unemployment. And even higher still 'hidden' unemployment (those not counted as unemployed because they're not actively seeking employment -- because they're enjoying benefits too much -- up to 30% unemployment in Sweden adjusted for that according to its own government). Besides, not all "americans" are complaining about it, just "misled", "uneducated" or "ill informed" who don't have a feel for history or how things work are complaining about it.

I agree with Schrag; if service level is unaffected, or only slightly impacted but comes with a lower price point (or possibly holds the current price in the face of inflation for a while), then no complaints. Those that lost their job will find employment, or acquire new skills to get better employment. Such is life.

RE: Outsourcing.....
By Kuroyama on 11/5/2006 2:20:45 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone who compares to Hong Kong, Singapore or Luxembourg is either clueless or else intentionally trying to deceive others. These are nation states who function largely as very efficient middlemen for finance and/or trade, and the tricks that keep their economies going will not work for even a mid-sized country. If you want to justify yourself then please look for a country larger than Rhode Island, there are quite a few such countries in the world.

just "misled", "uneducated" or "ill informed" who don't have a feel for history

That is a pretty strong statement. While I have no problem with Epson outsourcing their call center to the Philipines, the general gist of your comments sound to me like that of someone who is also "misled, uneducated and ill informed". Saying "Hong Kong good, Sweden bad" is so cliched it sounds only slightly more informed than those who think "Chavez good, Bush evil".

RE: Outsourcing.....
By chris44 on 11/9/2006 12:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
what about the tech reps who can't understand the customers?
you complain about foreign accents, but forget that it is just as difficult to understand someone who lives in, say Alabama than India
get over it!
that's the way the world works
hundreds of people are out of job in Canada (the article only said the call center was closing, but earlier this year the Cdn offices and warehouses all closed as well)
and hundreds will get valuable training and employment in the Phillipines

Outsource my purchase
By kleinwl on 11/1/2006 2:19:14 PM , Rating: 3
Part of the value of my purchase is the value that Epsion offers in end user support. As this has been significantly reduced, Epsion will understand that I may decide to "outsource" my printer service to a lower cost provider. After all printers are a commodity, I'm sure it doesn't matter to Epsion if I purchase from them or a lower cost provider.

RE: Outsource my purchase
By MrDiSante on 11/1/2006 2:40:26 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. If or when I call tech support I expect to speak to a representative who aside from being qualified for the position and knowing something about printers a) speaks English that I can understand b) understands English. With my experience in outsourced tech support so far this has not been the case.

RE: Outsource my purchase
By bisoy on 11/1/2006 7:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
English is the medium of instruction in the Philippines, and every Filipino is well verse in Uncle Sam’s language. I was born and educated in the Philippines, but for as long as I can remember I’ve always been taught in English, studied American books, sang American tunes, listen to English radios, watch American movies and even watch American TV shows.

You’ll never find a more American country in Asia as than Philippines (well once upon a time we were a colony of the USA).

RE: Outsource my purchase
By bisoy on 11/1/2006 7:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
*well versed*

How about an edit feature is that too much to ask?

RE: Outsource my purchase
By TomZ on 11/1/2006 2:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
So who are you going to buy instead? Are there any major printer manufacturers still paying U.S. wages for technical support? I think in reality you won't be effective in boycotting foreign support because there are no real choices.

RE: Outsource my purchase
By feelingshorter on 11/1/2006 5:16:23 PM , Rating: 1
Your right and OP's logic is wrong because the AVERAGE person don't have issues with support. If the product is good, then you wont need it. Most people can figure out how to work a printer and most will never call the support in the lifetime of a printer. Not only that, most overseas tech support work just as good. Getting a BFG 6600gt RMAed was pleasant and they even knew how to trouble shoot your computer. I quickly said i did it all and he understood and done. Who is to imply that overseas support is worse? Maby their accents but they are going to be trained well, and since its a "high end" job in their country, they are extreme polite! If they aren't polite, they are easily replaced. Arent so easily replaceable in Canada without $.

RE: Outsource my purchase
By msva124 on 11/1/2006 8:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
Ever called Amazon?

RE: Outsource my purchase
By hubajube on 11/2/2006 12:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
Your right and OP's logic is wrong because the AVERAGE person don't have issues with support.
The average person is the one calling tech support not us geeks. Those are the people I hear complaining the loudest about overseas tech support. I don't call them and will never call them so could care less. Most people (the average person, call them Joe SixPack or J6P) barely know how to turn on the printer let alone figure out any possible problems with the equipment. Your geek friends don't count as average people.

RE: Outsource my purchase
By chris44 on 11/9/2006 12:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't you first trying getting the company name correct!
it's EPSON
and all they care is that you keep buying their ink and paper
they make all their $$ off ink, not the sale of printers or service
and i'm sure they will continue to offer authorized servicers in the States for in warranty products just as they have in the past

the title is wrong
By thejez on 11/1/2006 3:25:24 PM , Rating: 1
The title of this article is wrong... last time i checked Canada wasn't a part of the U.S.

RE: the title is wrong
By Knish on 11/1/2006 3:29:07 PM , Rating: 2
The tech support offices for the US are in canada.

RE: the title is wrong
By Aikouka on 11/1/2006 3:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
But the Canadian service center handled US tech support. Therefore, the title of the article is correct :).

RE: the title is wrong
By mellondust on 11/1/2006 4:09:22 PM , Rating: 1
North America and the United States are not the same thing. The U.S. and Canada would be considered countries in North America. You know, North America, South America, Central America. The title is right and I would guess it is for Canadian support as well.

“Outsourcing is a sector with much dynamism”
By jskirwin on 11/1/2006 4:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
Part of the problem with offshoring isn't language: it's culture.

There's more to a language than words. There are shared assumptions, implied meanings and culturally-specific references that cannot be learned easily abroad. This can cause some frustration when attempting to understand the speaker.

Take for example the quote above. I had to read it a few times before I understood it as:

Outsourcing is a dynamic sector.

At least, I think that's what he meant.

Is such a problem irrelevant when issuing commands like "Open the access panel on the back," or "Check the plug. Is it seated firmly in the wall?"

However I find that when I need help, I really do appreciate talking to someone who understands me. A few weeks ago I spoke to a Seagate tech - in Oklahoma. That was a pretty good experience.

By msva124 on 11/1/2006 8:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
I know what you mean. Dealing with outsourced customer service reps can be really frustrating, especially over email. Unfortunately none of the few remaining companies have really seized on this as an opportunity to promote their customer service.

By TomZ on 11/2/2006 3:40:26 PM , Rating: 2
Part of the problem with offshoring isn't language: it's culture.

In the case of call centers, I disagree. In my view, the problem is the failure to set up proper quality systems, and to provide proper training. After all, does anyone care if someone speaks a different English accent at they do, as long as they are helpful and knowledgeable? And conversely, a person who knows nothing and speaks perfect English is of no use either.

In terms of the quality systems, what I mean by that is that there is a system in place to assure quality of the support that is provided.

By hans007 on 11/1/2006 2:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
most people speak english in the philippines though. its one of the national languages. filipino tech support generally is better than indian.

By Deaks2 on 11/1/2006 3:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
Note to self, continue to press 2 for service and support in French. Thank god that way I can be assured I'll get a competant and probably local tech...

Epson should go down for this
By Dfere on 11/2/2006 9:05:20 AM , Rating: 2
Because it took them years to move to a lower cost supplier. Even Yahoo has outsourced tech support to India years ago. A lot of accounting and Law firms were there years ago. I had an Epson a few years ago, I must have financed this fiscal irresponsiblity. Fire mgt! They cost me a dollar or two more on the price!

By Soviet Robot on 11/6/2006 2:36:17 AM , Rating: 2
All of HP's tech support is outsourced to India, yet they're still very much successful in the printer industry.

By bababubu on 11/9/2006 10:28:59 AM , Rating: 2
It is not only about the language, culture or training. I called such support and I got a rep in India. The connection and sound quality was awful, very distorted, I had to hang up because I couldn't understand anything. Epson also needs to wake up and realize this because thay have no idea what they're getting into.

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