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Posted: 10/26/2006 6:03:54 PM EDT
I don't know what it is, but lately I can't seem to find hardly any services where customer support is handled within the U.S. I am not trying to be racist, but I wish companies would reevaluate outsourcing. Surely some of these companies have lost customers over this very issue.

I like to think I'm a reasonably intelligent guy, and my perception and understanding of broken english is still fairly good, but this shit is getting nuts. Last week I had to call OnStar about my package subscription on my 06' Trailblazer, and of course, I got some dude in India. I could barely make out anything he was saying. It took me nearly 20 minutes to explain to him that I wanted to switch billing to another card, and I wanted to lock my monthly rate in from a coupon that I got in the mail to intice me to keep subscribing. I finally got so pissed off that I told him I couldn't understand him, and that I'd like to speak to an English-speaking supervisor. Well, I was on hold for 10 minutes, and finally the supervisor got on the phone, and his english was worse than the first guy.

ETA: OnStar's actual operators are based mostly in Canada as far as I know; the ones I have talked to from inside my vehicle probably speak better English than I do, are very courteous, and pleasant to talk to.

Fast-forward to Wednesday - I had to pretty much do the same thing to my XM Radio (I got free service on both of these when I bought my vehicle, and they both lapsed at the same time.) So, I call XM, and I could have sworn it was the same guy from OnStar CS. At least, it sounded like him.

It is friggin aggravating to not be able to communicate with CS/Billing teams when you are a paying customer. It even gives me pause to think I am letting these people have CC info, personal info, make changes that affect how much money I am spending, etc. when I can't understand them and they can't understand me.

/rant off
Link Posted: 10/26/2006 9:27:08 PM EDT
I attend classes with many Indians, and their accents aren't that bad.  I think the ones in India that you mention are just poor English speakers in general.  It's not racist to think that it is irritating at all.  If I called someone who couldn't effectively communicate, no matter what their native tongue, I'd be irritated too.

HP/Compaq is the same - Indians who can barely speak English.  I called three times one night and kept hanging up until I got one that I could understand (and I'm well-trained from all my Tech years to understand foreigners too).  I can understand the broken English of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, and French people (the vast majority of Tech's students' nationalities), but the ones overseas for tech support are usually incomprehensible even to me.
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 3:11:08 AM EDT
From my experience, the folks in India can read and write English very well.  It is simply the accent the throws us off.  I think they have trouble understanding us as well.  My company has an internal IM program that I try to use exclusively when working with our folks in India.  I did the same thing at my last company, and it worked extremely well.  If you have an option to go online and chat, you may be happier w/ your experience.  

I think it is a shame that so many entry level IT jobs, i.e. phone support, help desk, etc.  have gone overseas.  It will make it tougher for young (American) folks to get a foot in the door.  

I like the folks I work with in India, and consider several of them friends.  If you look at those who have moved here, most have integrated very well into our society.  I certainly don't begrudge them the opportunity to work, I just think it is short-sighted thinking on the part of most companies.

I almost had to go India for 2-3 weeks next month.  I guess there's still a small chance I'll have to go, but I don't think it'll happen now.  Takes too long to get that travel approved.

My wife goes nuts when she goes through drive thru restaurants and has to order in Spanish.  
Link Posted: 10/27/2006 7:41:20 AM EDT

My wife goes nuts when she goes through drive thru restaurants and has to order in Spanish.  

Man, that's my worst pet peeve right now - seeing and hearing Spanish all the time and having to say things 300 times at restaurants to get the employee to understand me.  I'm dark-haired (comes from Cherokee, not Mexican) and now apparently get confused for a Mexican all the time, so people try to talk to me in Spanish like I can understand it, or something.    Especially at Los Reyes restaurants - the waiters always respond in Spanish to me, but not to my wife.  I guess she doesn't look like she'd understand it.  

I guess the good thing is that I'm learning lots of Spanish from hearing things in Spanish, then going "huh? " and then hearing them in English.

Link Posted: 10/28/2006 3:43:26 PM EDT
i had earthlink DSL since they bought out mindspring. last week i had a problem so i call and get shifted all over the phillapines. i can put up with the outsourcing but it makes me a little mad. anyway, they speak english ok mostly, but they don't understand the culture. they kept asking for my father's middle name. i keep asking them what on earth, whered that question come from. i give it they say no we cant proceed. so i say screw it after about an hour.. call up and cancel my service (i have speakeasy DSL and a company T1 in my house so i need it for redundancy). and i get a nice english speaking person here in the US in accounts and SHE asks me my mother's maiden name and I tell here and tell her what the phillipina's had been asking me and she says.. oh a data entry mistake, obvious to here what was going on. but the foriegn support, once off the script is lost in space... and i told her why i was cancelling and so forth...

personally in the end, i think that companies are doing it to lower costs, which makes sense but they are selling the citizens down the river to make all those nice consumer toys we all like affordable. and in the end we will pay a greater cost than we like....
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