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Friday, 8 October 2010

Outsourcing Tech Support Overseas: I Can't Hear You

Let's get one thing straight; I'm not prejudice or racist. But I have trouble understanding certain cultures that have strong accents. In an attempt to keep costs down, many computer hardware and software firms have redirected their support to India and other Asian nations.

The result can be frustrating to both sides of the phone call. I recently needed to seek out a tech support (TS) person and was guided to an online 800 number. The conversation went something like this.

TS: Ken I hup you?
Me: Yes, I have a problem with my mail server.
TS: I ken teck ceh off dat. Whut ees your suscrivner nomva?
Me: Excuse me?
TS: Your suscrivner nomva?
Me: Huh?
TS: I am sari you hour habing trebel anderstendink me. I neet your sascribner nomver?
Me: Oh, my subscriber number. It's 2468990.
TS: You hour meester Howzair?
Me: Yes.
TS: Wery gud. Now, whut ees da prablim?
Me: I can't access my email. The server says it's down.
TS: Dat ees too bed. Pleez tal me whut eet sayz.
Me: It says that there is an error.
TS: Wat cand uv ovaretin seesteem hour you youzink?
Me: Excuse me?
TS: I am sari you hour steel nut anderstendink me. I neet to na your ovaretin seesteem.
Me: I'm sorry, what was that?
TS: Your seesteem. Ees it a peecee or a mec?
Me: Oh, my operating system. It's a Mac and I'm using Panther 10.3.
TS: Dank you. I am nut fary wamilar wit da mec.
Me: Really?.
TS: Eet be ulreet, boot av you con een to da pravarianses and ramoofed dem to da drash?
Me: Huh?
TS: I am sari you hour steel nut anderstendink me. Hour you wamilar wit da pravarianses fail?
Me: Sorry, please repeat?
TS: I am sari. Da pravarianses fail?
Me: Once more, if you please?
TS: I sari. I spill far you. P-r-e-f-e-r-e-n-c-e-s f-i-l-e.
Me: Oh the preferences file. Sure. I know where that is.
TS: Gud, Pleeze ramoof da pravarianses fail due da drash end ristard. Den you ned to wet far dee nacks tep frum me eftar you tal me you half dun dis furse pert. Due you anderstend?
This was just the first five minutes of an hour call. I have no beef with anyone who attempts to speak English, who has been raised in a foreign land. But I plead with all those companies that think they are saving a buck or two per hour by utilizing oversees techs for their toll-free support. Am I the sole voice or reason in this insane age? I don't think so. Let's return to normality and give us the support we deserve. Now, a final to all those companies that fall into that category; hour you lessunink?

Jeffrey Hauser?s latest book is, "Inside the Yellow Pages,? which can be viewed at

He was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. Currently, he is the Marketing Director for, a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.


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