Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Early this month, MPC Computers took an unusual step. At a time when so many companies offer technical support through third-party, often off-shore, facilities, MPC is moving its entire technical support operation in-house. All support duties will be handled by MPC employees working at the company’s Nampa, Idaho headquarters. “Thirty new employees will be on the premises and in training the first Monday of January,” says Jeff Fillmore, vice president of services and supply chain operations at MPC.

Currently, a portion of MPC’s technical support operation is handled by DecisionOne, a dedicated support company headquartered in a suburb of Philadelphia. But recently, when MPC asked for improvements in DecisionOne’s performance—how long it took support reps to answer each call, how often customers were satisfied with the help they received, and so on—the two companies reached an impasse.

“When I tried to hold them to certain metrics, they said they would have to raise our rates significantly or move our support off-shore,” Fillmore says. For MPC, neither was an attractive option, and the company decided that the best thing to do was to move everything in-house, where it was already supporting its leading corporate and government customers.

In responding to PC Magazine‘s latest service and reliability survey, many of our readers criticized major manufacturers like Dell, Gateway, and HP for moving their support operations overseas, a common method of cutting labor costs. On some occasions, they had trouble communicating with foreign technicians. “I’ve called Gateway tech support four times, and three of those times I got hold of someone with a thick accent, and I couldn’t understand what [the person was] saying,” Richard Broman, a 65-year-old retiree living in Cantonment, Florida, told PC Magazine during an interview this past summer.

In a move that may have resulted from such complaints, Dell recently shifted technical support operations for two of its corporate computer lines back to the States. Calls involving the company’s OptiPlex desktops and Latitude notebooks, previously routed to phones in Bangalore, India, will now be handled in Texas, Idaho, and Tennessee. Consumer and small business calls are still handled in India.

MPC has gone one step further, giving all its support reps the added advantage of working alongside the people who design and build the company’s products. “They’ll sit right next to all our product development, installation, engineering, and new product introduction groups,” says Fillmore. “People they can use in a pinch if a particularly difficult problem comes up.”

Is a trend developing away from out-sourced, off-shore technical support? Maybe not. According to a recent report from research firm IDC, 23 percent of IT services will be delivered from offshore centers by 2007, compared with only 5 percent this year. But some companies clearly see reasons to take a different path.