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I Feel Like I Am Losing Control
Life in the WTH lane

 4:06 am on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is it just me?

More and more it seems impossible or extremely difficult to actually get in contact with "a real company".

I call Earthlink about a DSL problem, I get someone in India that tells me to delete my cookies to fix a bad line.

I call Covad and I get someone in the Philippines that tells me the problem with my connection is Windows Vista.

I call my site host provider about hack attempts on one site and I get put on hold for 110+ minutes. I never got an answer or response.

I call the manufacturer of one of our computers and after pushing about 6 buttons for "if your computer sucks, press 5" stuff, the line drops.

Few, if any, of the mid to major corps list a phone number except for sales anymore. Quite often you cannot even find out where they are located, much less anything about customer service or even a mailing address.

More and more I am feeling like I am at the mercy of the outsourcers and anonymous faceless companies who's last real contact with a real customer was the flashy ad on TV.



 4:21 am on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Absolutely. Consumers are now driven by price and flashy marketing almost entirely. Recommendations have never been less of a factor - and when that happens - accountability disappears.

I can sell awful products and still sell as many as someone selling good products, so long as I've got a nice advert and a good price point. So, why should I go to the expense of providing a good product with good support when it's not a sale-clincher for most sales any more?


 8:48 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I want to rave to the heavens over this - my satellite company, computer manufacturer, all of them - have outsourced support.

But if you think about it, we've only ourselves to blame. We've pushed so hard and so long for higher wages, more benefits, more rights, "socialized services," taxes get higher and higher, we want to buy our dazzling widgets for less and less, to the point where the big companies simply cannot afford to maintain support from within the U.S. So it gets outsourced to countries where the people respect the value of a working day's dollar (which is close to what they are paid!)

I don't like it one bit, but there you have it . . .


 8:59 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Once again I agree with RockNBil. We constantly want higher wages, but still expect to buy a DVD player for under $40 at Wal-Mart. Can't have it both ways.

My positive outlook sees a lot of that service coming back into the 'States as people get sick of it and realize that the savings are only short term. Many companies outsourced their software develoment to India and eastern Europe only to have to pay a high price to local, competant developers to fix the crappy code. Those companies don't outsource again...


 9:10 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

if consumers kick up a fuss then they'll just return back all the call centres, and customer-facing representatives to the home country - but keep all the behind-the-scenes stuff overseas.

that's what my company does. we talk to the customers ourselves, but all the paperwork and everything else is outsourced to india. customers are none the wiser.


 9:14 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was annoyed by outsourcing until I realized that I could charge ridiculous fees to fix the code produced by that system...


 1:44 pm on Sep 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would be willing to pay more for decent support, but it does not even seem to be available.

There seems to be a rush to the bottom of the barrel to see who can sell the crappiest product for the cheapest price.

CNN: "... over 90% of all childrens toys sold in the US are made in China..."


 2:29 pm on Sep 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

we've only ourselves to blame.

Exactly. "Automatic" is faster and cheaper. But, when something is not quite right, it's difficult to fix. This morning I'm in the office because instead of using the local printer, we went to a low-bid online outfit that provides very good quality.

But, there is a problem and we need to make an adjustment. It's impossible. Outsourced customer service rep? There is NO customer service rep of any kind. You get what you ordered. Period. Whose fault for this lack of control is this? Mine.


 1:55 am on Sep 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you are english speaking it is not hard to tell your support is outsourced. That's when you can only understand one word in ten,or twenty, after hanging on the line for an hour "on hold".----aggravating to say the least.



 1:29 pm on Sep 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> to the point where the big companies simply cannot afford to maintain support from within the U.S.

I make a conscious choice to work with smaller companies that are local to me. I know I'm going to pay a bit more but it's worth it when I need to speak with someone. There are definitely some services that I cannot - or will not - buy local. Hosting is one. My motto is "think globally and buy locally - but always keep an eye on the options."


 8:35 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would be willing to pay more for decent support, but it does not even seem to be available.

I DID! Upped our satellite service from $59/mo to the $89/mo "Pro plan". All it got us initially was a higher daily cap limit on bandwidth* and U.S. tech support that actually knew the system and could help - tried it a few times and they actually answered the phone. They were in Florida. 6 months later - FARMED! If you call back 6 times on the same issue, they finally pipe you through to "real" support.

* Fair Access policy (FAP) - more than 425 MB per day and you get throttled back to a trickle, it sucks having a gaming teen in the house . . .


 6:14 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I call Earthlink about a DSL problem, I get someone in India that tells me to delete my cookies to fix a bad line.


Hey, wait... I thought this was Verizon's stock answer.


 8:28 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

we've only ourselves to blame.

I am not taking any blame for this. This is nothing but greed and as soon one company in a sector goes offshore, all the competition must follow or be doomed to extinction.

It could be solved by the western governments, by simply eliminating the tax loopholes for tax havens and adding tarrifs to imports. Punish the outsourcers I say and bring the jobs back to where the money is made. Lou Dobbs is right about this stuff, the middle class is doomed.


 12:41 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

One could always choose to vote for a party which has different ideas about how the local / national / regional / global economies should work and is prepared to implement policies to see it happen. No? Too frightening?

So, then: vote for "globalisation" (ahem), get "globalisation".


 6:56 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

The "first mistake" is even thinking that "governments" have any control over The Way Things Work. :-)


 7:35 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Good point. Governments are good at reacting, not being proactive.


 8:02 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's what they want you to believe. >;->

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