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Annette
10-16-2006, 01:18 PM
Kind of in relation to the Dell thread, I've just had to call Target customer service and had a very frustrating time. I'm calling for one simple reason - to obtain the date of their annual seniors Christmas shopping event. For those that don't know every year Target designates one morning for seniors and the handicapped to come in, do their shopping, and get some special treatment. There's usually free gift wrapping, some dainties and refreshments, extra staff on hand to help with finding items etc (just a hint - if you're not a senior or you look young do NOT wear red to this event! You'll be mistaken for an employee and constantly hounded for help.) and usually things like carolling and draws etc. It's a nice event.

Every year we plan one of our tours to coincide with their event. Every year I've been able to verify the date for the event around late August - this year I've procrastinated because of a cold that won't go away. So I called this morning and reached "John", who had the thickest Indian accent I have ever had to deal with from a customer service agent (or other service professional) in my life. Fortunately I adjust to accents fairly quickly, but he didn't. I had to repeat and spell everything. The final straw was when I told him I was calling about the Christmas shopping event and he said "Can you spell that event for me please?" At that point I said I'm not talking to the Minneapolis headquarters am I, and can you please transfer me through to them? Which, thankfully, he did (after I repeated what I wanted him to do).

That's got to be one of the most frustrating calls I've had in a long time. I don't like outsourcing - I can see the financial benefits to the country receiving the contracts and (in theory) for the companies doing the outsourcing.... IF the quality of service didn't suffer I frankly don't think that most people would care nearly as much. But a call that should have maybe taken 3-4 minutes took 20 -- that's not satisfactory.

I'm even less happy about this outsourced call experience than I was with my Dell one a few years ago - had a problem getting the computer to understand the network, called Dell and and was routed over to.... printer help? Uhm, no.

Probably one of my most memorable customer service calls was to Lexmark back when I had one of their printers. The guy I spoke with was fantastic, really friendly and had a quick discussion with me about the weather differences between Canada & Lexington etc. These are the front line people, they make a huge difference in how a customer feels about the company.

stephen_s
10-16-2006, 07:59 PM
So did you ever get your answer, Annette?

Annette
10-16-2006, 09:12 PM
No actually I didn't. They should have the date set already (it should be December 5) but the latest information they have in their system is from June. Supposedly the supervisor I spoke with is going to research it and call me back. Uh huh. Makes it really difficult for anyone doing advance planning to actually do any planning.

clarkef
10-28-2006, 01:47 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Annette @ Oct 16 2006, 02:18 PM) 39892</div>


I'm even less happy about this outsourced call experience than I was with my Dell one a few years ago - had a problem getting the computer to understand the network, called Dell and and was routed over to.... printer help? Uhm, no.

Probably one of my most memorable customer service calls was to Lexmark back when I had one of their printers. The guy I spoke with was fantastic, really friendly and had a quick discussion with me about the weather differences between Canada & Lexington etc. These are the front line people, they make a huge difference in how a customer feels about the company.
[/b]
Outsourcing is still in its infancy. One of the things that will help outsourcing, as it matures, is getting over the PC nonsense. Calls originating from an English speaking country should be answered by someone with relatively unaccentuated English, regardless of where they are from. That should be a criteria for employment.

Kairho
10-28-2006, 02:29 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(clarkef @ Oct 28 2006, 02:47 PM) 41370</div>
Calls originating from an English speaking country should be answered by someone with relatively unaccentuated English.
[/b]
Disagree. The issue is not with any accent but rather with (1) comprehension and (2) competence.

Most Americans can easily handle a British or Australian accent; Pakistani accents, however, being once more removed linguistically, are a lot more difficult for many to comprehend.

Which begs the question: given the choice would you prefer to be supported by an uninformed Brooklynite or a highly qualified Pakistani?

Ned
10-28-2006, 02:40 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Kairho @ Oct 28 2006, 03:29 PM) 41372</div>
...Which begs the question: given the choice would you prefer to be supported by an uninformed Brooklynite or a highly qualified Pakistani?
[/b]
Neither. I'll take a highly qualified American. It's one of the reasons I always purchase Dell Gold Support with every Dell computer I purchase. Dell GS is located in the US, and has Dell's highest quality of techie.

deangreenhoe
10-28-2006, 02:55 PM
Neither. I'll take a highly qualified American.[/b]

Hahahahaha. Sorry, but that just reminded me of all the opportunities I've had in my travels across this "America" and been totally flummoxed by a regional accent. For example, I had more difficulty just ordering a sandwich and a soft drink in the New Orleans airport this summer than I've ever experienced in a foreign restaurant. The server was not an immigrant.

And not everyone in Nebraska can work toll free help lines. They just don't have enough bodies.

I'm sort of in Kairho's corner on this one.
The issue is not with any accent but rather with (1) comprehension and (2) competence.
[/b]
I don't care where the call is answered as long as we can get the job done efficiently and with complete understanding.

Ned
10-28-2006, 03:23 PM
I have a real problem understanding English with an Indian or Pakistani accent. I just can't seem to pick up the words. I speak several languages, but English out of the mouths of Indians and Pakistanis escapes me. I've been known to have moved through as many as 5 outsourced techie people before getting one I actually understood. They could all be Einsteins, for all the good it would do me, if I can't understand what they're saying. At the lower levels of tech service they're basically reading from a bunch of scripts anyway, and not anymore particularly qualified than any reasonably bright American.

As to understanding people here in the US, I've traveled all over the country and have had little problem understanding anyone. I have had problems strictly with local names and expressions. For instance, the first time I ordered a "milkshake" in Maine, I was shocked to find no ice cream. I was 8 at the time. Eventually, I found out that what I call a "milkshake" in Middle Atlantic States, is a "frapp" in Maine.

tdew
10-28-2006, 03:38 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Ned @ Oct 28 2006, 04:23 PM) 41377</div>
Eventually, I found out that what I call a "milkshake" in Middle Atlantic States, is a "frapp" in Maine.
[/b]

So, what's a milkshake in Maine? Is it just milk and syrup shaken together?
- I never knew what a frapp / frappe was - I always thought it was a sundae of sorts, but never was curious enough to find out for sure.

Ned
10-28-2006, 05:44 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tdew @ Oct 28 2006, 04:38 PM) 41378</div>
So, what's a milkshake in Maine? Is it just milk and syrup shaken together?
- I never knew what a frapp / frappe was - I always thought it was a sundae of sorts, but never was curious enough to find out for sure.
[/b]
That's all it is, milk and syrup, all shook up.

deangreenhoe
10-28-2006, 06:46 PM
Very interesting. And here I thought "frapp" was the sound my car made repeatedly when I have a flat tire.

So in Maine, a milk shake is basically Nestle's Quik. I love regional quirks...as long as I'm aware of them before I get there. B)

Annette
10-28-2006, 09:17 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Ned @ Oct 28 2006, 03:23 PM) 41377</div>
At the lower levels of tech service they're basically reading from a bunch of scripts anyway, and not anymore particularly qualified than any reasonably bright American.[/b]

Oh I just HATE that, especially when you try to jump a step or two ahead and they stick strictly to the script. Then it the conversation goes something like:

"Hi there, I'm having problems with my printer. I've already done X, Y and Z, I've reinstalled the software, I've updated the drivers, I've cleaned the heads, I've run the diagnostics, I've chanted while standing on my head and facing Mecca...."
- "Yes thank you for calling. Is the printer plugged in?"
"Yes it's plugged in"
- "Okay let's run the diagnostics by..."
"Yes I already did that"
- "okay now you need to clean the heads"
"Yes I already did that"
- "You may need to reinstall the software, you can do this by"
"Yes, I told you I already did that!"

*sigh*

AaronK
10-28-2006, 10:31 PM
Ned, in my neck of the woods its a cabinet, so make sure you get it straight.

Annette, I have been there with Dell. They really need to learn that instructing a MCSE on how to reinstall XP Home isn't going to get them far, especially when they say to do a quick format not a full format when diagnosing a bad hard drive......

Ned
10-29-2006, 06:09 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(AaronK @ Oct 28 2006, 10:31 PM) 41398</div>
Ned, in my neck of the woods its a cabinet, so make sure you get it straight.

Annette, I have been there with Dell. They really need to learn that instructing a MCSE on how to reinstall XP Home isn't going to get them far, especially when they say to do a quick format not a full format when diagnosing a bad hard drive......
[/b]
A "cabinet." Now that's another far out name for a milkshake.

As to Dell, I've got to add that HP, Toshiba, and Sony do the same thing. I doubt the first level people you talk to even know what an MCSE is. As to your specific comment ... "yes."

deangreenhoe
10-29-2006, 06:30 AM
We always called them a "malt" regardless of the flavor and whether or not they actually contained malt. It was only in the late 70s when McDonald's (et. al.) finally opened in our area that the term "milk shake" came into widespread use.

Now you can only get a real malt in a specialty ice cream store, whereas anything that was the blended ice cream treat automatically had that flavoring in it unless you specifically asked them to leave it out.

I sure miss the soda counter at the old Rexall drug store. My brother and I were parked there every Saturday morning while my mom did her "tradin'" at Barney's food market. :)

weblet
10-29-2006, 07:06 AM
instructing a MCSE [/b]

I think I've been insulted.... :o :lol: :lol: :lol:

clarkef
10-29-2006, 07:06 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Kairho @ Oct 28 2006, 03:29 PM) 41372</div>
Disagree. The issue is not with any accent but rather with (1) comprehension and (2) competence.

Most Americans can easily handle a British or Australian accent; Pakistani accents, however, being once more removed linguistically, are a lot more difficult for many to comprehend.[/b]
You've just contradicted yourself. In the first paragraph you suggested that its not accents, but in the second paragraph you agreed with me that its primarily about comprehension. You are correct though that if an accent can't be helped it should be one in which Americans are familiar with.

Competence though is less of a geographic issue. Everyone has to be trained. Places like India are ideal because of a highly educated population in some parts of the country like Bangladore.

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Kairho @ Oct 28 2006, 03:29 PM) 41372</div>Which begs the question: given the choice would you prefer to be supported by an uninformed Brooklynite or a highly qualified Pakistani?
[/b]
No question really. The uninformed Brooklynite is plain useless, while I might muddle through the Pakistanis accept. Actually, that's not true, in Silicon Valley, Indians have integrated into the larger, middle class culture to a degree that the Indian accent is as commonplace to me as a New England accent is to an East Coast person.

stephen_s
10-29-2006, 07:32 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(deangreenhoe @ Oct 29 2006, 04:30 AM) 41407</div>
Now you can only get a real malt in a specialty ice cream store, whereas anything that was the blended ice cream treat automatically had that flavoring in it unless you specifically asked them to leave it out. [/b]

The best malt I ever had were in two places:

1) Swensen's in Rockville Centre (Long Island). Sadly they closed down.

2) The Walt Disney World Dolphin Malt Shop.

What I loved about them was that it wasn't just a shake. They added the malt also.

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Ned @ Oct 29 2006, 04:09 AM) 41404</div>
As to Dell, I've got to add that HP, Toshiba, and Sony do the same thing. [/b]

I know what you mean about HP. I love their products, but some of their tech support aren't very good.

My printer is a network-enabled printer, so you can always check the status of the printer (and the ink level) by typing in the IP address in your browser.

Anyway. One day the status read "Service required". I searched HP's website and it didn't have any information on that message. I cleaned the ink cartridges and did the automated cleaning thing. The status wouldn't change.

I decided to go to HP's chat support. They told me to do the same thing I already did.

Exasperated, I wrote a letter to HP Corporate. They finally e-mailed me with the answer to fix the problem.

Annette
10-30-2006, 08:45 AM
Was the answer "Well don't look at the status message then if it bothers you?"

I'm hijacking my own thread for a bit, on the subject of cultural biases because it's somewhat related to what's been talked about already.

Friday I noticed that the heel on my cast was cracked. I called the clinic and spoke with the nurse that put the cast on who said it HAD to be replaced. Well I couldn't just drive myself there so I had to wait until the hubby finished work and then go at which point the doctor I was seeing at gone home and there was one on for the evening. He happened to be of middle eastern descent (not sure of which country). Which I had no problem with and he was easily understood BUT I don't feel that I got the same quality of care from him. Instead of replacing the cast he told me it was just fine the way it was, if he replaced it the new one would just do the same thing, and I should just go home. Oh except he told me I should be buying the special "shoe" to wear over the cast and then argued with the nurse about what size I should have. She thought small, he said large and then asked what size shoe I wear. I told him 8 and he said "oh yes definitely a large then, the average size shoe for a woman is 6". 6?

But his entire attitude made me feel like I was wasting his time even being there for such a "trivial" thing and I should have known better than to come. I felt like *I* was being biased against because I'm a woman, and I have some extra padding on me. The way he was phrasing things implied "Well you're overweight so of course the cast cracked you silly woman and another one would too so what's the point?"

Now I have to say that I'm not overly sensitive to gender things so it's not like I was looking for it. Even his nurse said she thought the cast should be replaced (after he left the room). So I'm off to the clinic this morning for visit #4 in a week and a half... fun fun fun. All because this particular doctor decided that I didn't actually need any service from him.

weblet
10-30-2006, 09:05 AM
IMHO, Annette, I don't think it necessarily had to do with that dr being of middle eastern descent. I've been to a couple all-American types that treated me the same way. And that was the last time they saw me or my family. I assume that you informed him that you had been told to come in and have the cast replaced. Once he heard that there should have been no question, it just should have been done regardless of what he thought. I would inform the dr you regularly see and tell him that this does not promote confidence in the practice, when you have one dr saying one thing and another dr essentially telling you that the first one was an idiot (and by extension, you).

stephen_s
10-30-2006, 10:00 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Annette @ Oct 30 2006, 06:45 AM) 41468</div>
Was the answer "Well don't look at the status message then if it bothers you?"[/b]

Hee hee. No. The answer was to clean the contacts in the printer itself and the ink cartridges.

Annette
10-30-2006, 04:00 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(weblet @ Oct 30 2006, 11:05 AM) 41469</div>
IMHO, Annette, I don't think it necessarily had to do with that dr being of middle eastern descent. [/b]

You're absolutely right of course. For all I know he treats everyone with the same disrespect and impatience. He most definitely had a biased attitude, I attributed it to being a cultural thing. Maybe he's just a jackass :)

weblet
10-30-2006, 04:16 PM
Maybe he's just a jackass[/b]
:lol: :lol:
I think we're on the same page!