by Patrick McConahy

If you want to cut costs, India ‘s the place to outsource customer-service call centers and administrative and accounting processes, right? Well, that may not always be the case. A recent report from a market research firm, Gartner, Inc., estimates that India could lose almost half of its market share from U.S. companies in 2007. One of the primary reasons for this is the emergence of other countries, such as the Philippines , Malaysia , Poland , Hungary , and Vietnam , that are ready and willing to accept offshore business process outsourcing ( BPO ).

Another significant reason for the decline of India ‘s dominance is unhappy customers. Several obstacles must be overcome in order to ensure successful outsourcing from India . The first of these problems is the time difference. For example, at 8 AM EST on Monday, it is approximately 7 PM Tuesday night in New Delhi . This doesn’t present much of a problem if you don’t need to hear back from your firm for the next two days, but if you need an immediate response, it is very unlikely that you would hear back that same business day. Then there’s the language barrier. For places like call centers or help desks, communication problems can create an extremely aggravating time for your customers. How do you think your customers would perceive your company if when they needed help they weren’t able to get it? Basically it all comes down to the age-old question of what is more important, quantity or quality?

Call Center in Mumbai, India

There is no denying that it is cheaper to outsource to India , but do the savings outweigh the potential aggravation of dealing with all the obstacles above? As a business professional, that’s a decision that you and only you are able to make.

Computer giant Dell, Inc., has decided to take the quality approach by bringing jobs back to the U.S. from recently opened call centers in India . Since 2005 Dell has built two call centers on a 60-acre site along the Oklahoma River . Both buildings can house up to 1,000 employees. One of the buildings is completely full and the other has about 400 employees working out of it.

I think it is clear that routine tasks such as data analysis and very basic administrative work can be outsourced. However, when it comes to pleasing your customers, shouldn’t you be doing all that you can to make things right? The bottom line is, before you think about your bottom line, think about what is best for your company.