Consumer Choices Drive Outsourcing

North American businesses are increasingly outsourcing work to cheaper labour markets overseas. Many businesses don’t really like to do this, and consumers are now shouting about lost jobs and increased unemployment. But we only have ourselves to blame.

My parents own a small local company. They do their work in-house. They, and myself have had recent experiences that illustrate one of the big reasons why I think more and more businesses are outsourcing overseas. Consumers will sacrifice significant quality and customer service- just to gain marginal savings on cost. Basically, we aren’t willing to pay for quality and service. We are nickel and dimeing the businesses that serve us- often to the point where they have little choice but to outsource.

My father deals on a frequent basis with customers whom he has dealt with on a long term basis. Customers he has bent over backwards for- whom he often sends free gifts on holidays, tell him he lost a bid on a job to a competitor over a matter of just a few dollars. I can see his frustration when he wonders what’s a few dollars compared to all the little extras that his company tries to do for it’s customers.

As a web developer, I also see first hand how quickly people are willing to entrust their website to their “neighbour’s pool boy” just to save slightly on price. They seem unaware- or don’t care- that their website is now in the hands of a possibly inexperienced student or hobbyist who might not be around a few years from now when they need updates. They don’t care about quality or customer service, only price.

In the development industry there is a strong move toward outsourcing programming work overseas. I don’t do this- but many shops do and I can understand why. If consumers are not willing to reward companies for good quality and good customer service- then companies will stop going the extra mile. They will outsource more and more in order to meet consumer demand for cheaper and cheaper products and services. Meaning more and more local jobs will be lost.

We get what we pay for- or rather- we don’t get what we refuse to pay for.