5.06.2004

FatCow Shuns Trend Toward Offshoring theWhir.com (5/5)

with many big-name technology CEOs talking up the practice, arguing that the future competitiveness of US-based corporations depends on their ability to compete on the price of labor against foreign rivals.

But while that is certainly a concern, another tech CEO, Jackie Fewell of Albuquerque-based hosting firm FatCow Hosting (fatcow.com), recently weighed into the offshoring debate with an interesting and practical argument of her own - offshoring vital services such as customer contact will ultimately disadvantage a company by severing the most direct link management has to its customers.

"One of the most fundamental aspects of FatCow and its success is the high value we place on our interaction with our customers. The idea of turning that over and putting it in someone else's hands is incomprehensible to us," says Fewell.

More than fifty percent of sales at FatCow come from referrals, which suggests that customer service is one of the company's most effective branding irons. FatCow would have to spend more on other marketing areas to make up for the decline in sales through other channels, giving lie to the argument that offshoring always saves money.

"In the short term, outsourcing may cut operating costs and create revenue, but I'm not sure it ultimately produces the savings you're looking for," says Fewell. "In our business we get feedback from our customers on an hour to hour basis. To remove ourselves from that interaction would just be very unhealthy for us."

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