What To Do When An Indian Answers Your Tech Support Call

Not a day goes by without somebody talking or tweeting about an irksome encounter with an Indian customer service rep. Invariably, those complaining receive enthusiastic sentiments of empathy and support from most listeners, with many listeners subsequently sharing their own horrifying accounts of how somebody around the world in a developing country once tried to help them.

If you, too, have ever become irate over the huge injustice of having to endure an accent in order to get your computer or tablet glitch fixed over the phone, please know that you are not alone. Also know that there’s a solution, which requires only a few steps:

Stay on the line. I know how maddening it can be to have somebody who doesn’t share your ethnicity and exact vernacular answer your phone call, but try to refrain from hanging up just because there’s an Indian on the other end of the line. Hanging up will only lengthen the time it takes for your laptop or wireless router problem to be resolved, and you know you’re worthless unless such technology is functioning properly. Besides, even if you call back with prayers that an American or even a Canadian agent answers, chances are you’ll just reach another Indian rep. To help inspire you to stay on the line, it might help to remember that the strange-talking techie to whom you’re connected is highly trained and capable of fixing your system despite them not living in the richest and most powerful country in the world.

Be cordial. It’s weird — even foreign people who work their asses off 12-14 hours a day to help support their families (and extended families) expect some modicum of respect and decency from the Americans who call them for assistance. Believe it or not, it’s only a myth that Indian call center agents were put on this planet to endure our verbal scorn and streams of obscenities while they’re providing us with the information we cannot live without. It won’t be easy, but with a little practice you’ll find that giving them your account or serial number without muttering curse words or grunting isn’t impossible. Nor is saying thank you without reluctance or sarcasm.

Refrain from political and economic discussions. Even if you feel offshore outsourcing hurts the U.S. economy (despite research pointing to the contrary), when speaking with an Indian agent try to refrain from blaming him or her for the recession. Laying such accountability on a tech support rep will only cause them to lose focus on your software/hardware issue, thus driving up handle times and call costs for the company, who will respond by sending more U.S. jobs to countries with skilled but cheap labor to make up for the loss in profits you’re causing with your unfounded geopolitical diatribe. If you simply cannot contain your wrath, at least try to direct it at the company’s CEO for opting to outsource calls in the first place, and not at a young Indian man or woman whose entire community would have labeled them insane had they not jumped at the opportunity for a steady job that pays two or three times more than working in a field or factory.

And that’s it. Follow the aforementioned trio of steps, and I can almost guarantee your customer experience on tech support calls will greatly improve. You’d be surprised by how much better the service provided by Indian agents becomes when they’re not being blamed for the global financial crisis, aren’t blatantly despised for not sounding like they’re from Wisconsin, and aren’t forced to endure your sorely misdirected self-hatred. TC mark

image – Shutterstock

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  • Anonymous

    what was the point of this?

    • Gary

      What was the point of this?

    • samantha

      The point was “don’t immediately dismiss someone’s intelligence or competence because of a foreign accent– don’t be an asshole.” Whether you like the article or not, you must have terrible reading comprehension skills to have missed its point.

    • Sue

      That really was a dumb article. It didn’t mention what to do if your support tech has such a thick accent that you have to keep asking them to repeat themselves so you can try to figure out what they are talking about. Or the other day, someone from my phone company called to tell me they can save me money on my account. I said ” Ok, what have you got”.. the chick on the end of the line said “sorry, I don’t understand your question”. In the end, I had to explain to her that she called ME to save me money and I was merely asking her how.

  • tolerant

    you’re kind of extremely racist…

    • Jdkcndj

      It’s kind of going over your head.

    • guest

      you’re kind of really thick. or just really bad at reading. hello, tags. 

    • Nishant

      its SATIRE.

  • http://twitter.com/syst3m_32 Navjot Dhillon

    FUGLY is someone who is fat and ugly. What do you call a writer who writes ugly?

    • Anonymous

      Wrugly?

    • Charlene

      I thought fugly meant ‘fucking ugly’….?

    • Guest

      Fugly is actually someone who is f*cking ugly.

  • http://twitter.com/Tarboozer Tarbooz

    Ummm…while I totally agree (go team India! go outsourcing!), I just want to point out that the people working in call centers in India would not otherwise be candidates for working in fields or factories. They are usually middle class people and they often have advanced degrees in engineering or management. Oh and call center jobs pay more than 2-3 times what manual labor jobs do. You kinda lost me with that one…in some ways, India’s a lot more like the US than most Americans realize. 

    • Sanyukta Banerjie

      No, they really really are’nt. (India like US i.e) We are getting there, but we still have a long way to go.  (and the advanced degrees you speak of are usually from non-accredited universities which mean nothing when the hunt for jobs begin; which is why they settle for a job that pays moderately well but makes them burn their candle at both ends)

  • https://twitter.com/#!/ZachAmes macgyver51

    More times than not,  the frustration stems from the company’s practice, and not the outsourced call rep. I have to keep that in mind. I will say that I usually will ask for an American or British rep when dealing with complex issues. I have a deep southern accent and if they have a deep accent as well, its a dumpster fire. Neither can understand the other.

    • Nishant

      the funny thing is, my friends who work at such places are usually trained to develop an “american”-sounding accent, so that clients don’t feel outsourced. 

      i understand your troubles. its sometimes just as tough for me to understand the american accent!

  • Anonymous

    Why does “an Indian” sound… not right?

    • Wdeanis

      Because as Americans, we’re taught that the label “Indian” isn’t PC… Except for when it is.

  • Blarghfuyhblargh

    Judging by the amount of comments on satirical articles that are all butthurt over the missed sarcasm, I think Thought Catalog is going to just have to add article tags to the beginning of an article in big, fat, screaming red letters.

    • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

      This is The Office UK-level satire. Even people who normally get it will probably not get this one.

  • Haey

    I really, really hope this is satire. It is, right?…. right?

    • guest

      tagged: Satire, THIS IS SARCASTIC

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046820072 Dalia Asfoor

    Thank you for this. My boyfriend is Indian so these tips will be useful next time I call him and ask for computer help.

  • Wdeanis

    I’m kind of baffled by the negative comments crying RACISM OMG. This is good satire (I thought it was funny, I like your writing), but it’s not the most subtle use of it… Did that many people miss it?

  • justanotherreader

    so much missed sarcasm *smh*

  • Anonymous

    I pity your ignorance.  Sigh, it’s a sad day for thought catalog. All I’d like to say is: “Not a day goes by without somebody talking or tweeting about an irksome encounter with an American Idiot.”

  • Mark David Hinton

    I’m from the UK and I’m currently working out in India (going between Mumbai and Pune), and I’ve actually met a lot of people who work in the call centres for the west, and you know what? They’re very in tune and extremely intelligent people. 

    I think people are generally too hasty to hang up when they hear the accent, but if you give them the time of day you’ll realise their level of expertise more than likely surpasses the equivalent call agent in your country! I’m going to miss this place when I return, so I may even call up with hoax problems…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=552062787 Alfonsina Soledad

    Can I have some advise on how to deal with racist americans during my tech support job down here in Latin America? They’re awful

  • Anonymous

    This is shitty. Racist – LOL J/K IM NOT RACIST schtick is weak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jess.hurst1 Jess Hurst

    Americans hate to hear it, but maybe we’re outsourcing to India because they provide better customer service? Every time I’ve called tech support and gotten someone foreign, they solved my problem in 10 minutes or less. I’m impressed.

    • May

       As an American, I can say this is true. I’ve talked to American, Filipino and Indian agents, and among all of them I can say that the Filipinos are the best. Americans don’t have the same empathy that the Filipinos have. I always have good rapport with the Filipinos even if we’re not of the same race. And I prefer them over the Indians because they don’t have thick accents. Some of them sound like Americans from, say, Chicago. However, Indians are still more empathic than Americans. And they also deliver better customer service than Americans.

      • beatrice

        Filipinos are without a doubt, the most excellent at providing service

      • thatkindofgirl

         exactly. not just in call centers.

  • Nishant

    Wonderful satire!

    As an Indian who grew up with the call-centers sprouting all around us, let me add some words spoken by Shashi Tharoor on the subject. I can’t find his quote directly and I don’t want to scan through the whole speech video, but the gist is — it is incredible how in twenty years, India’s perception has changed from a country of sadhus meditating on beds of nails, and snake charmers, into the people the whole world needs to solve their tech problems.

    • AK

      Being an Indian and having worked in a call center I can’t tell how true this rings.

  • Jubin

    I lost a bit of respect for thought catalog after reading this.

  • Sanyukta Banerjie

    Funny and sensible both at the same time!

  • Erick

    I don’t think the problem is xenophobia. Certain brands like American Express and Apple are known for providing excellent customer service and the key is that they to train their reps to empathize as much as possible. There’s a whole lot of “Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that, here’s what we can do…” They make it a point to remember your name and even if they’re faking concern, you get the sense that they actually care enough to 1. Acknowledge they screwed up 2. Solve the issue 3. Make sure you’re happy with the resolution. What I’ve found personally with foreign based customer service is that there isn’t any empathy and they jump right to solving the problem because thats the style of service they’re trained to provide. It’s an extremely pragmatic approach but it means they have to robotically ask a ton impersonal questions which unfortunately leads to us treating them like robots. More than anything it’s a branding thing. Brands that are service focused like AmEx and Apple fear that a poor customer experience will harm their brand’s reputation and are more inclined to keep their call stations domestic because they can assert more control that way. Brands that are more value oriented like Dell are more willing to save a buck on overseas support because their customers are mainly looking for better value rather than quality of service. 

    • Nora R

      uh right.

    • Nishant


      Brands that are service focused like AmEx and Apple fear that a poor customer experience will harm their brand’s reputation and are more inclined to keep their call stations domestic…”

      While Apple outsources production to slave labor. Sigh.

  • Al

    Sarcasm or not, it’s incredibly trite. 

    • Namesake

      What did you think was trite about it? 

    • NAMESAKE

      Do a lot of people complain about people complaining about foreign tech support? 

  • Pinion

    If you didn’t understand this, you are the cancer that is killing fucking everything.

  • Rachel Butters Scotch

    I work in taking Tech Support phone calls. This stuff doesn’t just apply to Indian call centers. 

  • thatkindofgirl

    this is racist. i suggest not to call any foreign tech support. go get your problem fixed…all by yourself!

    have friends in tech support who are always complaining, just like you…but in the other side.
    they just can’t bear talking to idiots who do not know simple reset. worse, they shout at you just to cover up their stupidity.

    • Disha

      Yes, and you would know that because.. you are not an idiot! Makes sense. This is what happens when you call yourself ‘thatkindofgirl’.

      • May

        She actually has a point.  When people call for example just because they see an error on their screen, for example, without even reading the manual, that’s nuts.

  • zeindianze.

    Indian Call Center Execs. FTW. 

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