Saturday, April 18, 2009

Delta Air Lines And United Air Lines Place Patriotism Ahead Of Profits, Repatriate Call Center Jobs From India To The United States

Not all American corporations are greedy like AIG and General Motors. Some have decided to place patriotism ahead of profits, even during hard times.

The latest to do so is Delta Air Lines. Chief Executive Richard Anderson announced late on Thursday April 16th, 2009, that the company is in the process of repatriating its customer call centers from India to the United States after years of complaints from customers who prefer to speak to Americans. Difficulty understanding the call center agents in India was a concern among some customers over the years. Local story from the Deseret News; national story from Bloomberg.

"The customer acceptance of call centers in foreign countries is low, and our customers are not shy about letting us have that feedback," Anderson said.

The decision may entail some sacrifice, since Delta's traffic tumbled in March, although Delta wouldn't do it if it would result in a significant drop in profits. Delta first began outsourcing reservations work to India in 2002, later claiming that the decision had saved them $25 million per year. But foreign call centers in Jamaica and South Africa will remain operational for the time being, although Anderson indicated that staffing at those locations likely will be reduced in the future as the global financial crisis cuts call volume.

United Air Lines is following suit. A United spokeswoman said that some of their call center work has also been repatriated from India to the United States, although some reservation calls are still forwarded there. United also has call center operations in Chicago, Detroit and Hawaii.

Ironically, MSNBC earlier reported that Delta and United were the lowest-ranked legacy carriers in a 2008 quality survey (the 60-page survey can be read HERE).

These carriers are showing patriotism during hard times. Being American corporations, they understand that you cut foreign jobs first before cutting American jobs. Now it's time for us to make their patriotism pay off for them. If I need to fly, I will be contacting both Delta and United FIRST, and offering them the FIRST opportunity to get my custom. I suggest all Americans follow suit. We've been hollering about outsourcing; now that two companies are discontinuing it, we need to consider rewarding them for their patriotism.

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