Jan 14, 2006

Another Spin on Outsourcing

So I'm at home cleaning up some old files and I have to call up a credit card company on a late Saturday afternoon. I realize a couple of other spins on the whole outsourcing thing:

1) With non outsourced-to-India companies, I can quickly assume the personality of my partner to clear up any issues on her accounts, and they are none-the-wiser because they don't know the gender differences in desi names. Can't do that with call center folks. They offer an added level of security to the companies, and they don't even realize it.

2) With outsourced companies, I seldom have to suffer through the painful process of spelling and re-spelling my name. The call center folks just get it, and the transaction is that much smoother because even if they are amused at my American accent, I'm polite and gracious, and from the reports that I've been reading, that's a bit removed from the common experience that the call center folks have been having with stupid Americans.

Then again, maybe they're more than amused, and a bit contempuous of my apparent departure from the core of "Indianness" embodied in Indian English. Whatever - I hear pleasantness on the other side of the phone, I don't care about what folks may be thinking, and I'm happy to have a good experience and another item scratched off my ever-growing to-do list.


Anonymous said...

Some time ago I had a very nice experience with Compaq cust service in Chennai, India. The guy had to put me on hold when i reinstalled stuff etc, meanwhile we had a conversation about weather there and where the office is, and other stuff, in TAMIL. apparently, its not against company policies.... anyway that made the customer service experience very enjoyable to me.

Rage said...

That's awesome. Thanks for sharing, actually. My mom used to have conversations with cust. service reps on the weekend all the time. It was actually quite funny.

Sdit. said...

When left with no option but to call as my husband (him being unable to) I did use his name...which of course was a desi one.
The Indian rep registered some shock and gave a pause but continued with the call nevertheless.
I couldn't stop laughing since we both knew I was BSing...but the guy was a sweetie.

Only prob I'm having with the outsourcing thing is that not all of them can speak properly and I'd end up spending at least twice the amount of time in communicating with him..having to repeat eveyrthing.

Rage said...

I hear you on that, but I also think that I've had some real difficult times with folks from the MidWest, Bible-belt area. There have been times when I had to explain their policy to them, which kills me. But I think that these companies hire some of the best that they can get in India, and there's a lot of competition.

I don't know - outsourcing is screwing up prospects for some of the H1-B Visa holders in the U.S. - they worked here, on the cheap, doing the work that others could do, but didn't really want to at their price, and now they are getting priced out by a generation not much younger than them who are living it up in India. The money they make there goes further than it does here, and they aren't nearly as isolated or depressed when they are still in India.

Great book on the imported labor front, which shows some of the craziness that could occur if folks were nuts, is Transmission by Hari Kunzru. Read it a while ago, and it was quite a page-turner.