Not content to just outsource their customer service, United is shutting down its phone center in India in April, instead relying wholly on written complaints. They claim they’ll be able to better respond to written complaints, but we know it’s just as easy to paste irrelevant advice and insincere apologies as it is to speak them.
A former Chase call center rep tells the story about this one thief who was able to rip off one customer for over $40,000, thanks to his constant outwitting out the internationally out-sourced security department. It wasn’t that hard. Over and over again, he was able to commit credit card fraud just knowing the guy’s name, social, and mother’s maiden name.
If what this alleged Restoration Hardware employee says is true, the home furnishings chain may have just sacrificed its last remaining claim to distinction—high quality, American-made furniture—in an effort to increase profits. Supposedly, shoppers will see the effect of outsourced furniture through lower prices. RH furniture was always known to be fairly good stuff, if not cheap—can we now expect cheap but not good?
When you fly an ultra low budget airliner, you expect ultra low service, but even under that business model, it seems reasonable to assume that calling customer service won’t take you to a phone sex line. Reader Barbara would agree. She writes:
As part of a full kitchen upgrade, reader Sean purchased a $1300 dishwasher from Sears. Shortly after he received the unit, he realized it was defective. Sears directed him to an outsourced service company called OneSource. During the phone call to OneSource, Sean logged over 3 hours of hold time and was bounced around to 11 different CSRs, but they did nothing to help. Eventually, he got with Sears Executive customer service who said that they couldn’t replace the washer until July. Now, Sean can’t even wash his dishes because his hot water isn’t connected and his garbage disposal leaks water. Sean’s letter, inside…
Three Comcast contract workers were arrested when a witness discovered that a kitten had been spray-painted and nearly kicked to death, ABC 4 in West Valley, Utah reports. Jesus Villalovos was arrested for animal cruelty and obstruction of justice and 2 other men were cited with class B misdemeanors. The men were working in the area as contractors for Comcast around the time of the incident. Details, inside…
According to WAFF in Huntsville, Alabama, last weekend 2 Comcast Cable vans were racing each other at speeds of over 75mph which caused an accident that put 3-year-old Kayleen Smith (pictured left) on life support. Now Kayleen is off life support but remains unconscious. Details, inside…
Bryan Carroll can’t pick up his repaired Xbox because Microsoft printed his name on the address label as “Brian Dyranerool.” After he scheduled a repair with a CSR in India, Bryan was assured that he would receive a shipping box within 3-5 days. After 6 days had passed, he contacted an apologetic supervisor who said she would simply email him a shipping label and send out a free wireless controller for his wasted time and trouble. However, the name on his shipping label read, “Brian Dryanerool.” He contacted Microsoft about the error and was told that the problem was corrected. The good news is that Bryan’s Xbox was repaired and shipped swiftly to a UPS customer center. The bad news is that his box was addressed to “Brian Dryanerool,” and he was not allowed to pick up the repaired Xbox. Bryan describes his saga inside:
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.)
Convergys is a major supplier of outsourced call center services to big companies (Comcast is one of their clients) and it looks like times are tough for them up in Canuckiztan:
Convergys chief executive David Doughtery told analysts “most notably we’re being hurt today in Canada and we are taking action to close centres there and move work to other geographies.” Many of the Canadian jobs will likely go to the Philippines and possibly India..
Which we suppose qualifies as a resounding yes to the question, “can customer service get any worse?”
It’s good to know Sprint is taking your concern very seriously these days. When Peter tried to get a corporate discount for his company, Sprint told him sure, then told him no because he already had a discount with them. He wrote back and pointed out that he was told the corporate discount would be in addition to the existing one, at which point he received the following helpful email.
One of our readers appeared on NBC Nightly News the other night after his story was featured on The Consumerist. Bob Loncaric paid extra to fly direct on United and when he checked his reservation, he found it had been mysteriously changed to one with stopovers. He called customer service, but was barely able to understand the outsourced call center employee’s version of English, except for the list of cities he didn’t want to stay in spouting out of the guy’s mouth….
THE QUOTE: “We take our responsibility in Wisconsin very seriously and we take this matter very seriously,” Kenny said. “We regret that it happened.”
Reader MecuryPDX left a detailed comment about how to hire a home cleaning service that was so good we thought it would make a great front-page article.
We’ve received a follow-up email from Chuck, who has spent the better part of the week trying to determine why Progressive’s Roadside Assistance service—for which he pays an additional monthly fee on top of his normal insurance premium—sucks so badly that they’d leave a motorist stranded for 45 minutes on a busy Interstate on a weekend morning.
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.
Welcome to “insourcing!” Tata Group, an Indian conglomerate, has opened another call center. In Ohio.
The company is outsourcing customer service jobs on the sly, and have been for at least a few months. Not to India, because that would be obvious, but to Canada. Alberta- to be specific. The newbies are working with a company called Convergys. These people seem to be going through a real crash course, and seem to know only how to read the sample scripting our computer system spits out. We’ve been having problems with them screwing up orders left and right, misquoting (or not quoting) rates and fees, and generally mucking up everything they touch. The bad part for customers, aside from not knowing exactly what they’re going to be paying every time, is that it seems like they’re not as ready to credit accounts when it they need to. I’m not sure they have the authority to give more than a few bucks back, which doesn’t always cut it.