Dell charges a premium for customers to call US based support, and other companies are relocating call centers to the US so that customer service agents will speak “American.” Apparently even though the economics make a great deal of sense for call centers to be based off-shore, there appear to be a great deal of dissatisfaction. It doesn’t take rocket science to get this picture since everyone who reads this blog has spent more time than they would ever want to quantify on the phone with some support person for a computer failure or loss of Internet access.
There are a number of amusing videos on YouTube about what’s going on the other end of the service representative’s phone, but little imagination is required. A recent Bollywood movie even made light of training Indian based call center representatives learning to speak "American."
Where’s the Disconnect?
There are two problems with off-shore support that leap to mind. The first problem is that for the most part Americans tend to speak in idioms and even though individuals from other countries learn English they generally do not learn idioms. However the training in off-shore call centers is supposed to provide skills that permit a dialogue that permits the unhappy customers to get answers they want. The second problem is that most people who call for support are unhappy, frustrated, and mad. Unfortunately the service representatives get the brunt of the unhappiness.
How Important is Internet Access to You?
Let’s say that you lost Internet access and as a result you cannot complete some critical business from home. Yelling at a service representative half way around the world will likely not solve the problem, and to make matters worse if the service representative does not understand the caller’s language, how can a problem ever be resolved? So Dell and other US based companies tried to solve to the language problem by providing US call centers. The frustration that you lost Internet access is not improved, but the likelihood that the customer and the service representative will communicate increases...and hopefully a resolution is more likely.