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.