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America Calling India: Are U Getting Help from Call Centers?

Updated on March 2, 2012

Calling India for Help

I think we, those living in the USA, have all experienced the IT\tech call centers that at one time were in the US and are now in India. They are there for only economic reasons for the companies that use them. The Indian's work for less.

That said, there are many funny, yet frustrating stories about US customers calling India for issues about products or IT related business issues. I have my own. You have them, too. I wonder if any customers in India call US call centers? I think my own experiences are fairly universal about the problems encountered.

When you call India, a small miracle occurs-your phone dials a number, the signal goes up to a cloud or maybe a satellite and is then fired back down to a specific BPO (call center) in Mumbai, New Delhi or elsewhere, a place where they are 9-12 hrs ahead of you. The connection is fuzzy or clear or just fuzzy enough to make the Indian English sound foreign to American customer ears. You might even become disconnected before resolving it, then you must redial and go through it all over again.

Assuming the connection is so-so, the expertise you receive is hit and miss. If you know little about what you talking about, you might be led down many pre-written steps that the tech person is reading and asking you do to. Sometimes, after being on the phone for one hour, nothing is resolved at the frustration of all. Been there before. Other times, you may actually get a tech help person who knows something about the issue and you might be able to zip to a solution within 30 min or less.

The two worse issues with the outsourcing is the connection and the English. Yes, I know, most people in India speak English but that does not mean you will understand them 100% of the time due to alien pronunciation, their dialect and their speed in talking. Of the three dilemmas, the speed at which Indian speakers talk can dramatically increase or decrease listener frustration. The faster, the less tolerant both parties become. I once called India for help and got a techie would spoke rapid fire English. I asked him to slow down once. He did and I still did not understand. I told me to slow down even more, he did, finally I understood. Once he slowed down, the help was provided. I could tell it frustrated him. If you have a bad connection or intermittent connection, frustration zooms upward.

Assuming you get an Indian speaker with easily understood English, that does not mean they will have the solution. Before calling on my HP printer issue, I researched the issue online and found others had the identical problem and found a solution. So I thought. When the issue resumed, I call the techie in India, which did not even know about the solution found online, however, this woman knew something about printer issues and her suggestion solved it. The pronunciation issue can equally be hard to decipher unless you spell it out. Once everyone is on the same page, the correct pronunciation can be learned.

The one thing I always do after the problem is resolved or not, I just talk to the person halfway across the world. I ask them how they like what they do, what time is it there, where are they. Nearly all of them are shocked that a stranger would ask them these questions, which they answer and seem to enjoy.

Of course, it the call center was in Europe or Thailand, the same issues noted about would occur, although, most Europeans who speak English are much slower.


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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks, once the English is slowed down, it is fine. But fast = sounds like a different language!

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 

      6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      I believe that Indian Call Centres work OK for the UK market as people there understand the accent and cultural nuances better. In Australia it does not generally work as people can't understand the accent and are not receptive to a 'pushy' style. Having said that, outsourcing to India continues, but mainly in financial & technical back office work.

      Increasingly the Philippines are becoming an area for Australian contact centre outsourcing. There is the same financial benefit for brands to do this, but with a softer American style accent that has more appeal to the Australian ear.

      I really enjoyed your hub, and as you can see, it got me thinking about this topic again. Cheers Michael


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