COX Reads The Consumerist

COX Communications reads The Consumerist.

On 10/05/06, we posted a reader complaint about not being able to understand the accents of COX directory assistance workers in, “Cox Outsources 411 To Filipinos.”

On 10/12/06, an internal COX company website pointed employees towards The Consumerist post and provided talking points in case any customers called in to complain, a COX employee tells us.

As they say on the streets, suckers better recognize.

The internal memo, inside. — BEN POPKEN

    “The Consumerist blog site recently featured a posting titled, “Cox Outsources 411 to Filipinos.”

    This blog highlighted a Cox Digital Telephone customer’s recent encounter with directory assistance (411), including difficulty in understanding the operator’s accent, frustration with an “outdated” database and dismay over Cox’s “cost-cutting” measures.

    Although we do not anticipate many calls regarding this, outsourcing and customer service are hot topics today. It is important to understand and communicate the following messages to any inquiring customers:

    * Directory Assistance is a specialized service. Cox uses the most real-time resources available to ensure its telephone customers receive accurate listings from Directory Assistance.
    * It is common practice in the telecommunications industry to use the expertise of specialized companies, as does Cox for this very dynamic listing service.
    * Cox has a long and successful history with InfoNXX, a provider of directory assistance services.

      o The prestigious Paisley Group has recognized InfoNXX with top honors for its Directory Assistance services.
      o InfoNXX operates staffs and trains its call center employees in the United States and Asia.
      o All Directory Assistance representatives are college graduates, receive extensive and ongoing training and are fluent in English. Furthermore, English and Filipinos are the primary languages in the Philippines – an InfoNXX location.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. He says:

    What’s internal about that? It sounds like a press release that was “leaked” intentionally.

  2. I agree with He, sounds like a designed leak… or a really bad attempt at morale boosting by talking to your own people as if they weren’t your people.

  3. Ben Popken says:

    It was posted on an internal company website.

  4. mfergel says:

    ___Furthermore, English and Filipinos are the primary languages in the Philippines – an InfoNXX location.”____

    Furthmore, the primary language in the US is English, yet I’m still greated by signs in Spanish, ATM selection in Spanish, phone call routing in Spanish, etc. Just because someone can speak English doesn’t mean they speak it fluently. I can swear at you and order food in German…….doesn’t make me fluent in German.

  5. Xkeeper says:

    I liked Cox’s support, though, and I don’t think I’d drop our current phone service with Sprint^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Embarq.

    Of course, my last dealing with them was last year… which says a few things (namely that I’m out of date with customer service, and that their service must be pretty good to not require me to bother them)

    Hello, Cox. I’m watching you(r modem lights).

  6. ord2fra says:

    My guess is that their main language is still Tagalog:

  7. ckilgore says:

    I lived in the Philippines for a year and almost everyone there spoke English … really, really poorly. To give them some credit, I didn’t speak Tagalog at all, but I wasn’t trying to work customer service either.

    Also, how much would you love it if you called to complain about customer service an were told “The prestigious Paisley Group has recognized InfoNXX with top honors for its Directory Assistance services”?

  8. AcilletaM says:

    Fluent does not mean clear and understandable.

  9. Heymoe says:

    “Fluent does not mean clear and understandable.”

    Exactly. Even though all subjects in school are taught in English in the Philippines from Third grade onward, the teachers speak English as a second language and always hear it spoken with a Cebuayan/Visayan/Tagalog accent. Naturally, they pass the accent along to the students. Knowing the words and speaking in an unaccented, idoimatic manner are totally different. In a call center environment where you’re just a voice at the end of the line and dealing with an American who’s probably frustrated about his cable service in the first place, any heavy accent is a detriment.


  10. FLConsumer says:

    Dumb question….but why would I need/want a college graduate to provide me with directory assistance? A 5th grader can perform the job. I’d prefer someone who speaks the common American dialect of English as their first language be the one who answers the phone…

    Of course, there’s always 1-800-FREE-411, which DOES use all-USA based representatives from what I can tell. Sure beats paying $2 for a 411 call from a cell phone co. Just airtime on a cell, free on most other typs of phone lines.

  11. varco says:

    I’ve always had a great experience talking to Cox CSR’s. They’ve always been polite, helpful, well-spoken and generally pretty friendly. I think they’re stateside, unless something’s changed.

  12. varco says:

    At risk of being that guy who always has to amend his comments because he figures out what the post is about after he comments: the Cox cable/internet CSRs are awesome; I don’t know anything about the phone/411 side, but it sounds like it’s not so great.

  13. trixare4kids says:

    They probably don’t actually read the consumerist, they subscribe to a newsclipping or blogclipping service that flags post regarding their company and/or products. (psssst, are you reading this Unicef? I’ve asked you 6, count them 6 times to take me off your freaking mailing list already. Who do I have to blow to get you to stop sending me crap?)

  14. Solo says:

    “Talking points”, a.k.a. you’re too dumb as a CSR to react correctly to some complaint, here’s good bullshit PR message to regurgitate in case someone calls.

    Wouldn’t that upset you if you called and the CSR insists that “Cox has a long and successful history with InfoNXX, a provider of directory assistance services” and “We use the most real time bla bla bla”?

    When clearly, the problem is not addressed: your outsourced service does have outdated info and indeed, some of the workers have accents that are difficult to understand.

    But I guess that to some companies Customer Service = PR Outlet

  15. userIDunk says:

    I worked at INFOnxx for 6 years and was around when the Philippine call center first opened. I had to monitor phone calls and travel there as well. You would actually be pretty surprised that most of the accents you come across are very minimal and aren’t any different than when a customer receives a CSR with a hispanic or even german accent. We did a lot of test calls from the U.S. and most of the time we couldn’t even tell that we were calling to another country. A lot of the reps hired were out of work professionals from various fields (we even had many with doctorates degrees that were even received here in the U.S.)

  16. Clockworks says:

    I currently work at InfoNXX and any calls are randomly distributed across many call centers, the Philippines location is just one. The rest are in the mainland us, not counting a special center to cater for Hawaii and their lovely exotic city and street names we have a hard time dealing with over here.