Newspaper Ends “Horrible Experiment” With Offshore Customer Service

20 Nov

WHAT MAKES THIS extra interesting is that this is a Journal Register Co. paper. Be sure to read the comments on the Facebook page where the news was originally announced.

From “Michigan Newspaper Ends ‘Horrible Experiment’ With Offshore Customer Service,” Nov. 20, 2012.

For about two years now, Mount Pleasant (Mich.) Morning Sun readers with delivery complaints have been sent to a call center in the Dominican Republic — and often not getting satisfactory results.

“Language barrier was a huge problem,” editor Rick Mills tells me in an email.


Mills credits Journal Register CEO John Paton for trying the outsourcing, seeing that it didn’t work, and then going back to the old way.


And bear in mind that outsourcing and layoffs were written into the contract recently ratified by the Non-Newsroom Unit. From a July 27 post:

In order to reach agreement on the full contract, The Post continues to insist that any agreement must include the amount of savings from the circulation call centers that they can achieve by sending that work to Honduras. After months of trying to negotiate an agreement that would keep the call center work at the Post, but reduce costs enough to be competitive with a Central American call center, it has become clear that the math just will not work. So the union presented a proposal accepting the outsourcing of the call center work in exchange for additional compensation and benefits for those who will be displaced but will continue working until their job is eliminated, increased compensation for call center employees who are retained and a timeline for the transition of work to Honduras. Most of the details have been tentatively agreed to. The timeline and a few benefits issues are not yet resolved.

The outsourcing likely will result in the elimination of more than 30 local call center employees’ jobs, leaving two full-time employees and five part-time employees.

3 Responses to “Newspaper Ends “Horrible Experiment” With Offshore Customer Service”

  1. Laurie Faliano at 4:19 PM #

    Little consolation to the my 30 co-workers who lost their jobs. But I’m sure the Denver Post’s “outsourcing experment” will turn out similar. We are already experiencing language issues, multiple errors and customer outrage.

  2. Kathy Rudolph at 4:08 PM #

    Although no one in our Customer Service Center baked cookies for a subscriber many have gone out of their way by personally delivering a paper to a customer on their way home from work because they cared that much. It is such a shame that John Paton would not reconsider this act of out sourcing knowing full well that it will not be successful. That he thinks that little of our subscribers is truly a crime.

  3. Pamela at 4:00 PM #

    Glad to see him could figure that out.

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