Friday, October 15, 2010


People of India,

You are really lovely. I see two doctors, both of whom are from India. They are very good. Many Indians speaks better English than the people of the United States.

But too many customer service jobs are being outsourced to India, and whether you get to speak to someone whose English is comprehensible is a hit or miss proposition.

Not long ago, I had occasion to call my satellite television provider about a little problem - let's give them a name for the heck of it and call them directv. I spoke with a woman who seemed quite nice and friendly, but I understood very little of what she said. She offered me a $5 rebate for three months because I had been a "directv" customer for a year and was continuing my service.

But when I hung up, I said to my Favorite Young Man, I understood about 10% of what she said. For all I know I have signed up for all their premium services (I'm a basic kinda customer; let's keep the price down).

Today I received my "directv statement" and guess what? I had been charged for a month's service of Starz, plus a partial month's service. The rebate was for $5 off on three months of Starz. It's entirely possible that the customer service rep used the name Starz when I spoke with her, but I certainly never heard it or understood it.

And Starz is too expensive for me. I can't have another $12.99 added to my bill. I don't need that much television anyway.

So today I called directv (I'm tired of playing with the quotation marks; it's not funny anymore) and I spoke with another woman I barely understood. First, I needed to change my name on the account. That took forever and involved putting me on hold numerous times.

I had to spell my last name, which consists of all of five letters, at least 10 times.

Finally, we got down to the serious business: the extra charges on the bill.

She had to put me on hold so I could be transferred to someone else. I waited and waited and finally got someone who said she would remove the Starz package and credit me with $7.99.

No, no, no, I said.

But, she said, it's notated here that you were educated that you were getting the Starz package.

No, no, no, I said. Take off all the charges.

But, she said, it's notated here that you were educated that you were getting the Starz package.

No, I wasn't, I replied. Let me talk to your supervisor please.

I'll have to put you on hold, she said.

Of course, I said.

She actually came back on the line after only a few more minutes and said her supervisor had told her she could remove all the charges.


But I had been on the phone for about 45 minutes. Now I'm so tired and I have a headache.

The next time I sign up for a service, among my questions will be the following, and if no one can answer them, then forget it:

1. Where are you customer service representatives? Are they native speakers of English?
2. What is the average wait time to reach a customer service rep and the average time to have a problem resolved?

I don't think these are unfair questions. And I'm also tired of being told to go to Web sites to resolve my problem, where I almost always see a list of FAQs, none of which have anything to do with my needs, and if I use Live Chat I'm back to talking to someone in writing who has a minimal understanding of English and seldom solves my problem (in fact, I think the only time a Live Chat person answered my question was on Macy' and the person seemed to have an excellent understanding of English), or I can send an email that will almost always be ignored, or if I receive a reply, the answer seldom makes sense.

See why I'm so tired?

And it's not notated. It's noted.

Just love tonight,


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