Dell to open new India call center

PC giant will add third India-based customer contact center later this month; center will start with 300 employees.

John G. Spooner Staff Writer, CNET News.com
John Spooner
covers the PC market, chips and automotive technology.
John G. Spooner
3 min read
Dell plans to open a third customer contact center in India later this month.

The contact center, like two others Dell is already operating in India, will handle telephone calls from consumers in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

The new facility, located in Mohali near the Chandigarh metropolitan area in India's Punjab province, will have 300 Dell employees at first, company spokesman David Frink said.

"If we're going to develop markets, we certainly ought to develop their people as part of the process."
--Kevin Rollins, CEO, Dell

The center is being opened to support Dell's huge growth of late. The company is now the world's largest PC maker over Hewlett-Packard. But Dell has experienced growing pains in the recent past, causing some customers to criticize its service and support.

The company's India operation has, at times, been at the center of those accusations by both consumers and businesses, with each sometimes complaining of lackluster service. Dell responded by taking measures such as rerouting some tech support calls from businesses to its U.S. support technicians. Company executives also have said Dell invested in more training for its India staff. As a result, Dell's support has recently received better marks from businesses. Executives say its India service also has improved.

Dell, along with other large companies, has been chided for hiring numerous employees overseas, making the move to open a new call center in India a potentially controversial one for the PC maker. But the company's top executive has ="5440604">shot back at those charges by pointing out that it also has added numerous jobs in the United States.

Kevin Rollins, Dell's CEO, said he feels it's important for Dell offices and factories to be located close its customers for logistical reasons. The cost of moving a PC around is much higher than the cost of building it, he has said.

But Rollins also feels strongly about raising the standard of living in the emerging markets Dell enters by providing good jobs to locals.

"If we're going to develop markets, we certainly ought to develop their people as part of the process," he said at an appearance in Boston last November. "Our model is to get close to the customer. It's not offshoring to go to India. It's going where the customers are."

Dell's employee roster has risen by about 9,200 to around 55,200 employees, with the majority of those people, about 30,600, located outside of the United States, according to the company's latest annual report. The figures reflect international growth--a major engine for Dell's overall growth. But the Round Rock, Texas, PC maker also has established several new facilities near customers in the United States of late.

Its next PC factory, for one, will be located in North Carolina. Dell recently broke ground for the plant, which it expects to begin turning out desktop PCs in September and to employ about 1,500 people within five years.

The company also has opened a call center in Oklahoma City, along with a distribution center in Westchester, Ohio. In addition, it has added customer contact centers in Edmonton, Alberta, and in San Salvador, El Salvador, within the last year.