In May, USA TODAY posted a column entitled, "When Customer Service is Lost in Translation," which recapped readers' experiences in calling U.S.-based travel companies and being transferred to call centers overseas. Addressing this dicey topic triggered a new wave of responses from readers, nearly all of them with strongly held opinions about the off-shoring of customer service.

It seems clear that American travelers will be interacting with foreign call centers for some time to come, though there are mixed opinions on whether this trend is accelerating or not. A travel trade publication recently noted that several travel heavyweights?including American Express, Delta Air Lines and Expedia?have reversed earlier decisions by returning call center work that had been off-shored back to the U.S. Yet the same article asserted "a backlash against off-shore customer servicing may be waning."

Delta, however, asserts it is not part of a movement to end customer service outsourcing overseas. "It's an effective cost reduction solution for us," says Betsy Talton, a spokeswoman for Delta, who advises the airline has call center partnerships in India, Jamaica and South Africa. So is Delta reducing its dependence on foreign call centers? "We haven't pulled back, no," says Talton. "It's more valid to say we're always monitoring our customer care programs." She adds that Delta monitors foreign call centers in the same manner it monitors domestic call centers, and says, "We hold them to the same high standards."

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