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Indian call (center) staff quit over abuse on the line
Abuse from British and American customers...

 9:28 pm on May 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

"'The anger in the West over job losses and fear about offshoring has made this a growing problem. Some people call up with deliberately difficult questions. Most just say things like: "You're from India. You don't know anything. I don't want to speak to you", he said."



 10:07 pm on May 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

The US customers were generally much more easy-going.

Works for me.


 12:50 am on May 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

I can't condone any of the stuff in that article but I have to question the quality of training a certain telecoms company named in the article gives to their Indian call centre staff.

<rant> It's not only a problem for staff in India, faced with utter incompetance from any call centre I know I have a hard time keeping my cool. Somehow explaining the same thing four times to still get nowhere isn't stress free for the caller either.

Maybe the companies should think of the customer and introduce better policies which have a little flexibility. I'd say stubborn rules and staff with no authority at all to be flexible are the biggest problems with call centres, no matter where they are </rant>


 4:38 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I've ranted about this one before, but no matter how frustrating it is to me there is no reason to resort to rudeness. At least not to the techs.


 5:31 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

I totally disagree.
These call centre people use random diallers and call my number at least half a dozen times every day. They drive me nuts. What other effective recourse is there than to give your (impolite) message to the person on the other end of the phone in the hope that at least some of the vitriol gets through to management or that the operator gets so sick of being abused that they move on. The 'only obeying orders' defense doesnt cut it with me as within hours of starting the job these people must know that they are causing gross irritation. Even worse are the idiots who use a phone directory thats years out of date. I'm called regularly and addressed as the last person to live here over 5 years ago. I signed up to the 'no junk mail' and 'no junk calls' list years ago but it doesnt seem to worry these foreign companies. As far as I'm concerned I certainly have no issues with anyone who is abusive. The callers and their employers deserve it.


 5:44 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

I disapprove of companies sending their tech support calls (or any work) overseas to save money.

But, I don't think it's really a racial issue. It's a training issue.

Five years ago, when I would call tech support, I'd get a call center employee located in the US who didn't really understand what I was talking about, but knew how to look up keywords, and give me possible solutions.

Now, whenever I call tech support and reach someone in the US, they act like a level 2 tech. (Oh, you need a reverse DNS entry? Sure, I can do that for you).

The outsourced people are still in the 5-years-ago stage training-wise. It's not because they're dumb, it's just that they're more of a telephone operator than a technician.


 5:46 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Now, telemarketers ... that's different. They have no excuse. But, I'm on the national and Missouri no-call lists, and all I get now is surveys and donation drives. Even MCI has stopped calling.


 8:52 pm on May 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

Aggressive telemarketers deserve anything they get. But someone who is taking tech-support or billing calls doesn't deserve to be verbally abused. Politely asking for someone who speaks better English is ok. I know I've been EXTREMEMLY frustrated by a communications barrier with some of these people. Especially when talking about technical or billing questions that require a large amount of communication. I'm from south Louisiana so my accent is usually totally incompatible with theirs.


 11:39 am on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think most of it is just a difference in culture. These folks from India may not speak English "incorrectly," but the accent and manner of speech is worlds different than mine and I have a very difficult time communicating with them. Give me someone from the U.S. anytime.

Then there's the company my Dad had to make a small purchase from. Their ordering line went through to somewhere in India, and the guy told Dad that his order came to "One-thousand thirteen cent."


 6:11 pm on Jun 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

I totally disagree.
These call centre people use random diallers and call my number at least half a dozen times every day.

Tech support personnel call you a dozen times a day? I didn't know we were discussing telemarketers, that is different.


 7:59 pm on Jun 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

The latest trend in India is that call centre employees have dumpted their pseudo US & Britsih accents, and are focusing on providing the results. Signs of a maturing industry.


 8:45 am on Jun 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

We work in a busy office and are plagued day in and day out by "junk" phone calls, mainly from overseas.

We now have a large "caller ID" display in the office and as soon as the phone rings and the display shows "International" we just pick up the phone, place the handset on the desk, and let the caller speak away into thin air, before we replace the handset.

(We know it's not a customer because we are a small company and we don't have any overseas customers).

It's simply not acceptable for junk callers to phone an office during working hours - don't they realise the staff have better things to do?


 6:44 pm on Jun 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Have to confess that I have only encounted frustration when I have been put through to India - particularly Sky TV!


 8:11 pm on Jun 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Agreed, I am a subscriber to the American version, DirecPieceO'Junk.


 8:18 pm on Jun 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

Debbie...Indian callers aren't making junk calls for nothing. US companies are paying them to do it.


 11:32 pm on Jun 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't have any problem with anyone outsourcing work from another country.
But I do have to question the wisdom of moving tech support/call centers to countries where the local population don't speak the same language as the callers (or have strong dialects). Or maybe that's the whole point!

I spoke to my ISP's tech support today (not outsourced) because of connectivity problems.
The moron on the phone had no clue outside the multiple choice answers on his screen.

The only issue here is how seriously the company takes it's customer support.


 12:52 am on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I called Capital One and clearly reached India. The guy had no clue what he was doing and read the prompts on his computer *to* me. Also, when he was reading back my address, he said, "Las Vegas, West Virginia." I'm not fond of outsourcing because, well, it's outsourcing. But, if they're going to outsource, then I wish they would train the people better. Capital One used to have great customer service people years ago.


 8:50 am on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

aah, training...that's the name of the game...will take 2 years to mature.


 10:12 am on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I remember I phoned and outsourced overseas call centre to see when my broadband ADSL was going to be activated and was assured, repeatedly, that the broadband was already activated.... on my mobile number.

It is difficult to replace local knowledge, something which is needed in some applications.

Overseas outsourcing works well when there is no requirement for local knowledge.


 8:07 pm on Jun 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

I "outsource" my web hosting to a US based company for over 5 years.

Initially, we had all sorts of issues because their staff was unable provide solutions specific to our "local" needs. Slowly they learnt (were taught) various local issues, and now they are quite good at addressing our needs.

I read a case study about Nasdaq, and how they have agressively sought business (primary market listing) from overseas businesses; initially many international companies were reluctant because Nasdaq's legal department was inequipped to handle cross-border compliance issues. Nasdaq brought on a specialised department and sent it through intensive training. Slowly the number of international businesses, including many from India, listed, and have had improved experiences.

I completely agree with many people who have posted, that India or not, the necessary level of service needs to be provided. This will come once the company requesting the outsourcing understands that agents in India are closer to the initial stages of customer service competence and local knowledge than their more mature counterparts in the US, and have different training needs.

I recall a funny (in hindsight) experience in Boston. I and my friend were in an elevator that stuck while going up. We picked up the elevator phone to call for help and the person who answered it asked us "sir, which city are you in"! We asked him where he was "in Omaha". It took us about 15 mins to explain where exactly we were, cause we didn't know the zip code or the street number of the busilding we were in, and he had never been to Boston and was reading us landmarks from his computer screen. It took another 30 mins for them to send a team that released the elevator.


 5:39 pm on Jun 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

And contrast that with me setting up OnStar in my car the other day and the guy in Canada (I'm in Las Vegas) says, "So, how is it out there on Skypointe Drive?" I was in the Smoothie King parking lot, waiting to go in and get my fix.

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