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Online Extra: An Offshore Connection for Small Biz

Call centers are beginning to pitch their services beyond the big leagues. But be aware of hidden costs and PR risks

By Karen E. Klein

Offshore call centers have emerged as an option even for small companies, with the potential for major cost savings. Problem is, they can also be a turnoff for customers. Controversy over sending American jobs overseas erupted during last year's Presidential campaign, leaving nearly all the companies that hire overseas call centers so touchy about the practice that most refuse to discuss it publicly.