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The scourge of the call centre!

1 November 2005
Posted in: Scratchpad, Tech | 6 Comments

Indian call centres’ notoriety has spread far and wide—and it is not hard to imagine why. Nor is it possible to dredge up any sort of sympathy for them! Not even when one reads of the abuse—racial mostly—they get, espeically from overseas customers who are not fooled by the fake American drawls!

Especially not after you’re told (by Tata Indicom’s Internet division, specifically) that, “Sorry, we can’t help you. We provide Internet only for Internet Explorer!”

Go figure!

That’s not all, about a year ago, they said the Internet didn’t work well on Windows XP!

Other idiots I have dealt with include Compaq/HP. One day, after shifting the CPU to the top of the table, we found our monitor wasn’t working. Called up the helpline in panic. Two weeks, a new processor and motherboard later (the computer was under warranty, thank heavens!), we were still at sea. And then, an online forum gave us a clue: You see, we had an a graphics card in the AGP slot. We had to connect the monitor to that and not to the motherboard!

Anyway, we had got a virtually new computer and Compaq never figured out! All they had to do was ask over the phone if we had an AGP!!

Marie asked me one day, “Do they pick these people off the street?” Well, probably, because they seem to know absolutely nothing!

India-based call centres catering to the US and UK are quite common due to outsourcing and the lower infrastructure costs. However, they forget to factor in ignorance and ineptitude! I find it hard to blame a paying customer for getting frustrated when the call up for help, only to find that the helpline is based halfway across the world, staffed by people who have not been trained properly.

As you may have started to guess, my sympathies are certainly not with the call centres!

~PD

6 Responses

  1. Nimish says:

    Communicating with customers effectively and efficiently is supposed one of the cornerstones of good marketing. I therefore get flabbergasted at the ease with which companies can outsource this aspect of their business. If something goes wrong with a product or service, we now end up having to talk – not to the person or outlet that provided us the product or the service – but to someone on the phone who doesn’t know us at all. Is this supposed to bring customers closer to the company? I remember that our first two branded PCs were from Comapq – purely because the person at the retail store remembered us and was only too glad to help us out when it came to repairs and upgrades. All that has been thoroughly undone now – if you have a problem, you are fobbed off to a call centre who give you a number!!! It even reaches eeries dimensions at times – when I pottered into my bank and asked for a new cheque book, they actually asked me to put in a request with the call centre. Call centres methinks are addling the consumer-producer relationship by making it unncessarily bureaucratic.

  2. Me, Vertex boy says:

    Call centers have always been a pain. Jokes like this http://www.clean-funnies.com/html/f620.htm lives on it. Also, you usually get to wait in line for ages because there are no free operators… if there is a line at all that is. Sometimes they just ask you to try again later and you’ll have to call them loads of times to get through.

    So it has nothing to do with India… they are the same everywhere and have probably always been.

    And Payal, this textfield box is wider than its containing element so it is cut off! *nods*

  3. Kate says:

    It is laughable how bad customer service is anywhere anymore. You’d think it’d be especially important to have qualified people on hand for things like computer questions, but no.

  4. Marie says:

    Customer service in general is in the pits.

  5. Me, Vertex boy says:

    Sometime ago in the news they said a man with chest pains had called the public health information. They wrote it off as a stomach bug and the man who was infact having a heart attack died!

  6. Payal says:

    :O That’s really horrific!

    It’s not only phone service that sucks. Bill payment is sometimes such a nightmare. I was having a really wierd problem in that I was actually trying to pay my credit card bill but I wasn’t being able to because no one knew where my cheques were!

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