In the past few weeks I have been highlighting the fact that the industry is rapidly changing. Some of this change is inevitable and worthwhile, but some changes may prove to undermine the health of the industry as a whole.
One of the most common changes described as being bad for the industry is usually referenced by one word: "India." For some, this has become a shorthand term for off-shoring, and it is usually used as a negative or pejorative term. However, we need to be clear that "India" isn't the problem.
To be sure, there are some serious risks that are taken with any offshored search, but the cold, hard, fact is that offshore searchers are not going anywhere for one simple reason: many clients want searches to be done as cheaply as possible and the risks of offshoring searches have been deemed acceptable.
In essence, local expertise has been devalued, and in cases where it would be valued, the searcher's skills are unverifiable. Those two things create the real problem. If the skill of the searcher cannot be reliably ascertained, why should the client pay more for the search simply because of where the computer and searcher are located?
Rather than speak about the problems with offshore searches, we would be better served to spend that energy demonstrating, in concrete terms, what makes local expertise so valuable. Once that is done, we then need to be able to demonstrate that such expertise can be reliably obtained.
So, here are some questions that may help move the discussion along:
- What stories can you share that demonstrate how local knowledge made the difference in one of your searches?
- How has your local knowledge tangibly helped your clients?
- Besides language, what are the unique problems associated with not having local expertise in your State / County?
Next week: The importance of compelling stories to making the case for local expertise