NEW YORK CITY — Speaking at the Outsourcing Institute’s Wall Street Technology Conference held here earlier this month, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook said the company will move customer service support for Apple Music, the company’s new streaming music service, offshore because they are having trouble finding enough highly skilled English speakers in the United States.
In his keynote speech to the conference, Mr. Cook said Apple has been unsuccessful finding high levels of “fully functional English IT fluency” in English speakers in the United States and would move Apple Support for Apple Music to call centers in Liberia and Nigeria.
Apple unveiled Apple Music at its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8. The Cupertino, California-based company expects to dominate streaming music worldwide because of its extensive Apple Music library, over 30 million songs, and the Apple Music app’s compatibility across all Apple products and Android devices.
So far there have been tremendous global response and demand for Apple Music, according to Mr. Cook. He told the conference the overwhelming demand contributed to the company’s decision to outsource the call centers.
He blamed the company’s inability to find highly skilled English speakers on declining emphasis in “top-quality instructions” in American schools because of the “inept Common Core States Standards and people from a certain software corporation meddling in American education.”
Mr. Cook said: “These so-called state standards have tremendously diminished English skill level in our schools. It’s clear by now these systems don’t work and haven’t worked and won’t work. It’s time we admit that and move on to something that meets the rigorous English-speaking demands of the IT industry. Critical thinking skills testing and complex learning curricula don’t necessarily produce more highly skilled English speakers. Sometimes a complex multiple-choice test is ideal to meet workforce demands.”
In the speech, the Alabama native praised the early age, first grade, at which Nigerians and Liberians schools begin English-language instructions.
Mr. Cook said if the current gaps in highly skilled English speakers isn’t filled soon “The country may have to start importing highly skilled, more-qualified, English-speaking foreigners to fill many customer service positions, even at fast-food restaurants.”
Mr. Cook said plans are for Apple Support to open call centers in Yobe, Taraba, Adamawa, Chibok, and Gombe in Nigeria; and in Harbel, Tubmanburg, Suakoko, and Monrovia in Liberia.
Mr. Cook ended his speech on a positive note by highlighting results from focus groups that showed American consumers wouldn’t have concerns with customer service calls from speakers who have West Africa accents.
“And the good news is that findings from all of our many focus groups tell us that American consumers have grown accustomed to customer service from call centers in India, so they won’t have issues with our Africa-based call centers.”
Annis Minor-DeMinimus reports technology news.
Photo Source: Mark Mathosian/https://goo.gl/I2jyds