You’re not alone hating Indian call centers. Indians hate them too, mostly because they get stuck dealing with an even lower caste of customer service representatives than Americans. The well-educated smooth talking CSRs get the prestigious jobs infuriating foreign customers, while the the untrained masses are paid basmati to cater to India’s domestic customers.
Delta Air Lines is the latest company to “repatriate” call center jobs previously outsourced to India. It’s not just that the economy is down and fewer people are flying, but more specifically that absolutely everybody hates dealing with foreign call centers.
The FDA has suspended all new drug applications from one of Ranbaxy’s plants in India—the Paonta Sahib plant—after “determining the facility was falsifying scientific data.” You may recall that last September the FDA banned the import of 30 popular generic meds made by Ranbaxy due in part to quality control issues from this very same plant. What do they think they are, a peanut butter factory?
The New York Times looks at the blossoming foreign market for debt collection services, and describes a call center in India where the employees are reminded to bring up the 2008 stimulus checks when they call U.S. households, and where everyone claps three times when the first “deal” of the day is made (“”Rajesh, for $35 a month for three months,” the supervisor yells across the center.)
An excellent NYT article alludes to Countrywide Mortgage’s AOL-esque culture of phone reps only concerned about boosting their personal stats, regardless of the ruin it would spell for its customers.
Remember when we said exports from countries not named China were also tainted and filthy? It turns out the exports aren’t as tainted and filthy as the New York Times originally reported. The Times explains that a “methodology problem was discovered” after the Danish Embassy complained that their candy was refused by FDA inspectors only 82 times, not 520, as the Times claimed. From the Gray Lady:
When the data was re-analyzed, it showed that the number of candy shipments rejected from Denmark had not been higher than the number of seafood shipments rejected from China, as the article stated. The number of shipments rejected from China was also misstated; it was 331, not 391.
Remember the Washington Post’s analysis of FDA Refusal Reports? The New York Times double-checked the Post’s work and found that China isn’t the only country exporting filthy salmonella-infested goods. Exports from India, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic have all been stopped at the U.S. border for failing to meet basic sanitary requirements.
Salmonella was the top reason that food was rejected from India, and it was found in products like black pepper, coriander powder and shrimp. “Filthy” was the primary reason food was stopped from Mexico, and the rejections included lollipops, crabmeat and dried chili.
Buy.com Can't Give You The Rest Of The CDRs You Ordered, Because That Would Mean Actually Reading Your Emails
Bill ordered 300 CDRs from Buy.com. He received 200 (half are pictured). Somehow, over 3 months and a dozen emails later, they can’t fix the issue.
Indian call centers live and die by the responses to customer satisfaction surveys. Customers selected at random are called by an outside agency and asked fifteen questions. Of those, the only one that matters is “Overall how would you rate the agent you spoke with?” Based on the answers to that question, the call center receives a weekly score on a 1-5 scale. The call center aims for 50% of respondents to rate them a 5, the highest, and for 85% to rate them a 4 or higher. From our experience, that seems like an unattainably optimistic goal.
After calling Indian call centers, many people email us to say “You won’t believe what I just heard!” Most of these problems can be chocked up to cultural differences or inexperienced agents who have yet to master the nuances of conversational English. Our call center tipster explains:
When there’s a problem, it’s usually just a misunderstanding, or a cultural thing. Phrases that are used in India, but not the US, that make a customer think the agent is being rude. Or the agent still in an “Indian customer service mindset”. (When dealing with Indian customers it’s all about getting right to the answer, completely ignoring any attempt to make the call personal. Also, to avoid confrontation. Even if they know something’s gonna take 3 months, they always say ‘2-3 days’ Believe it or not, that’s how people like their service here).
Urine Year-end statements, and the story of “Mr. and Mrs. Hymen,” after the jump…
Ever wonder what call center agents are looking at while trying to help you? Our call center tipster explains that agents have only the tools they need to access your account, and nothing more.
There’s a manual that they follow, that tells them exactly what can and cannot be done in every case. They log into several programs when they come to work.
What really happens when you connect to an Indian call center? An anonymous tipster responsible for quality assurance gave us an insider’s perspective, which we will share throughout the day.
You know the ‘this call may be recorded for quality and training purposes” message you hear? I’m that guy. I’m the one that listens, finds problems, and fixes them.
To most Indian call centers, quality assurance has nothing to do with the happiness of the caller, and everything to do with how well the agent toes the company line.
Mailing back and forth with Equifax can be like talking to a brick wall, except instead of bricks, the wall is made out of buttocks, and they’re farting all over your credit report.
Microsoft is sending ALL of its XP and Vista tech support calls to India starting March 29th, according to a call center insider. Previously, the call volume was split between a site in North America and locations in Deli and Bangalore.
Cognisant of the pejorative qualities it has taken on in recent years, Bangalore changed its name to Bengalooru on Wednesday.
- “NEW DELHI — More than 100,000 English-speaking children in Bangalore, India’s information technology capital, will soon have to switch to schools offering lessons exclusively in a regional tongue following a crackdown on more than 2,000 English-language institutions in the state of Karnataka.”
It’s easy to get frustrated by the Indian CSR on the other end of the phone. Feeding them your problems by telephonic umbilical to a far off, Curry-scented land, they can be alternately obsequious or surly, less than fluent or overly versed in corporate binder CSR jargon. And there’s nothing more insulting than one introduces himself as ‘Joe’ and starts talking about the local baseball team.