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Old 10-16-2006, 01:18 PM   #1
Annette
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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.
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Old 10-16-2006, 07:59 PM   #2
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So did you ever get your answer, Annette?
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:12 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:47 PM   #4
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Annette @ Oct 16 2006, 02:18 PM) [snapback]39892[/snapback]</div>
Quote:


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.
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Old 10-28-2006, 02:29 PM   #5
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(clarkef @ Oct 28 2006, 02:47 PM) [snapback]41370[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
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?
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Old 10-28-2006, 02:40 PM   #6
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Kairho @ Oct 28 2006, 03:29 PM) [snapback]41372[/snapback]</div>
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...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.
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Old 10-28-2006, 02:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
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.
Quote:
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.





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Old 10-28-2006, 03:23 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 10-28-2006, 03:38 PM   #9
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Ned @ Oct 28 2006, 04:23 PM) [snapback]41377[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
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.

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Old 10-28-2006, 05:44 PM   #10
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tdew @ Oct 28 2006, 04:38 PM) [snapback]41378[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
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.
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