ATA backs proposed anti-offshoring bill

Tuesday, 07 April, 2009

The ATA, Australia’s peak body for the Contact Centre industry, has given its in-principle support to Senator Steve Fielding’s proposed anti-offshoring bill, and has reaffirmed its commitment to Australian contact centre operations.

The Family First Party will introduce the legislation, entitled the 'Keeping Jobs From Going Offshore Bill', in the next parliamentary sitting. The Bill will seek to stop the offshoring of contact centre jobs, as well as to make it harder for offshore operations to access the private information of Australian consumers.

Michael Meredith, CEO of the ATA, believes that this legislation will greatly benefit the local contact centre industry and ensure Australia maintains its reputation in the region as a location of customer contact excellence.

“As the peak body for the Australian contact centre industry, we welcome all real and practical efforts to ensure Australian customer contact centre jobs are preserved,” said Meredith. “Given the current economic crisis, there is enormous value to be gained by harnessing the knowledge, sophistication and experience of local operations, especially for customer interactions. We welcome Senator Fielding’s announcement, and naturally we look forward to seeing the details of the proposed Bill as they become available and providing our input to its development.”

The ATA believes that with strong support from Australian business and the government, the Australian customer contact industry can continue to grow and flourish. The ATA believes the Australian contact centre industry has many advantages over its offshore counterparts and the ATA has seen over the last 20 years of its association an ever-growing professionalism and adherence to agreed industry standards.

“We’ve witnessed a blow-back effect in the last few years, with many organisations relocating their customer service back to Australia,” explained  Meredith. “In fact, the ACCS Annual Report 2009 has revealed that of those organisations planning to outsource contact centre functions, 60% intend to remain within Australia while only 10% are choosing to move offshore.”

“The shift back onshore is because of our high standards in training, infrastructure, process and performance. On top of this, Australian contact centre agents are equipped with cultural and local understanding, allowing them to develop improved customer relationships.”

The ATA will be lobbying both Senator Fielding and the federal government over the following weeks to make certain that the proposed Bill ensures that any organisations utilising offshore contact centres be accredited to the Australian Contact Centre Standards and Accreditation program, and adheres to all elements of the Standards in order to maintain both quality and continuity of customer service.

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