sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Indian Call Centers

I've had a lot of experience calling banks, tech companies, the phone company, etc. and getting somebody who calls himself Bob or Oscar - with a (red dot) Indian accent. I'm largely dissatisfied with the service. I realize that whatever company would prefer to pay an Indian less to screw up my account and explain it to me in broken English than paying an American (likely an immigrant from Somalia or Mexico) to explain it to me in broken English.

Yesterday I called Bank of America to discuss a matter. In this case I reached Oscar in Bombay/Mumbai who took it upon himself to argue with me. I was holding B of A documents in my hand, cited the documents, and he argued that I couldn't believe my lying eyes.

So, I hung up on Oscar, documents in hand, and went to a regional B of A office, irate. They acknowledged an error and fixed it in three minutes. It's not the first time. 

Time Warner Cable did the same thing to me two weeks ago by routing my trouble call to somewhere in India, where I met Sally on the phone. Sally argued with me that the router I had was of the highest quality. I agreed, but the fact that it didn't work was the problem. Sally argued that it did work. I asked for a supervisor. I forget his name but he kept up the refrain that it worked, even though it didn't. About two hours later they transferred me to a guy in Texas. He was familiar with the problem and said that they'd been replacing hundreds of them because they were defective. He express mailed me a new one and I shipped the old one back. That took about two minutes.

When I receive an unsolicited call and there's an Indian accent on the other end, I am polite but explain that I don't buy things from India. They like to argue with me that they are not from India but are selling something on BEHALF of another company. Same/same, I am polite and then I hang up.

I have no gripe with Indian people. I've been widely published in Indian Defense Journals and have worked with RAW, the national intelligence agency in India. I have good friends who are Indian. But the call center types ANNOY ME.

From what I hear, the Indians are paying too well now and they are in turn sub-contracting to Filipino call centers who pay their employees on the order of $10/day...and you KNOW where that's going.

22 comments:

  1. When you get one of those on the phone the desire to kill comes quickly. I usually just say something about their mother and hang uo. Then call the company and try to get a local call.

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    1. It's difficult to get a local number. They forward calls to India anyway - and will soon be forwarding to the Philippines.

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  2. Push one if you want to read my comment in English ;)

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    1. I keep punching "1" and it speaks Spanish to me.

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  3. I don't have anything towards outsourcing, but I've felt that it might be due to lower costs, but it essentially doesn't serve the purpose. anywhere.
    Even domestic divides in such cases are showing the same signs. we being in central india, when directed to a call centre in south india, face language and pronunciation issues.

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    1. It will be worse when they route you through the Philippines to get a simple answer.

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  4. The Indian Army room at RMA Sandhurst is worth a visit. Call centers? Not so much...

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    1. Same with the Imperial War Museum.

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  5. Oh I feel your pain. I can't be doing with this sort of inefficiency and palaver. Get me a real person, face to face so I can win the war. However, a lot of banks and establishments over here have, or are, stopping Indian call centres 'cos we don't care for it and will take our money elsewhere. I'm surprised at our allies for not kicking off about this as they do about other things like the price of fuel or cars or suchlike that we just accept.

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    1. There is a lot of pushback but it's not organized enough. One of the campaign promises being swatted about by candidates is that US jobs for US issues like call centers, need to come back to the US. However, I don't know how Odin feels about it. I would ask him, but it requires that I sacrifice an entire sheep and burn it. I have a large back yard BBQ but it is not sufficient for an entire sheep. Yes, I could build a pyre, but somebody will call the fire department and then I'll be in trouble.

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    2. There'd be no issues with your Muslim neighbors - so long as it not a pig.

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    3. Did the Vikings sacrifice a pig to Odin? I don't recall that. A sheep, a goat, chaining a maiden to your burning boat as they commit your remains to the deep. I need to cast the runes, but I like the idea of roasting a pig. I'm positive that Odin likes bacon.

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  6. Any time I get one of those I escalate until I get an American on the phone.

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    1. That works about 80% of the time. Sometimes it doesn't.

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  7. Amazing - YESTERDAY, after a gift I ordered through Amazon had not been delivered for over a week, I was forced to call customer service (BTW - they have a button you can click on that says "call me now", I did, and the phone rang before I let go of the mouse) fearing I would get Puhrmjeet the customer service rep. Instead, I got "Todd" which was clearly an alias for Purhm. He was excellent, except for the fact that he had to say everything twice, and repeat what I said twice so that he/we knew he had it correct. In the end I got a replacement gift sent for free, but it was brutal listening to him, repeating everything twice (luckily I was at work, so it wasn't my time wasted :)) He spoke with the "Indian" accent, but also sounded Australian, which was funny, but not so much helpful. He also did not understand American addressees, "Race, it is again asking me for a street name?" "Todd, the word after the numbers is the street…" He had to have a "manager" help him with the address, which I suspect is an American. He then said, "Race, I am proud to announce Race, that I have solved the address dilemma, and your gift order will be processed." Very polite, which I dished back, but very painful.

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    1. I feel your pain, brother.

      I would have felt more comfortable if you had been doing it while earning premium pay, but doing it on the job is good enough...

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  8. I just ask if they are in America, if not I request an American. Most of the time they transfer me without a problem.
    Often when I get customer service on the N East coast they are just as difficult to understand...

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    1. You get an immigrant from Somalia with a NY accent if you ask for the US.

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  9. AT&T has moved their call centers back to the USA!!!! I've never had such great service and I am quick to tell the person helping me how much I appreciate their ability to resolve my issues! They are equally grateful to have a job...other companies could learn a thing or two...

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    1. Hopefully that word is spread far and wide.

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  10. There is nothing I need so badly I can't take my business elsewhere. Sort of a f^#k you, strong letter to follow.

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  11. In the mid-90s, I worked phone support for AOL in their Tucson call center. The worst problem I had was trying to get a Canadian to do a "Select All" operation. I always got "Control-Eh?"
    Bada-boom, tsssss.

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