Monday, April 9, 2007

I'm sorry, what did you say?

So I had to call customer service/tech support today at the phone company. The phone call took (easily) five times longer than it should have, and left me incredibly frustrated.

Here's the deal...

I am an English speaking person living in a (primarily) English speaking country, doing business with an English speaking company. Seems simple enough, right?


For whatever reason that makes NO sense whatsoever no matter who explains it, we (the English speaking consumer) get to deal with English speaking companies that hire out key customer service positions to non-English speaking reps.

Now, before someone has a bird, let me 'splain something. I love accents! I think they sound cool, and I love all different kinds of accents. I enjoy listening to people speak, if they have a strong accent. Yes I'm weird, but that was established long ago. The point is, I'm not an English speaking snob, or anything like that.

What drives me nutty is when these companies hire someone that for them, English is a second language, and they speak it so poorly, that you literally cannot understand but every 5th or 10th word they say. Then, they speak so fast, there's no way in the world you can even guess at what they're saying, so you have to ask them over and over and over (and over) to please repeat themselves. Then, they start getting flustered with YOU, because you can't understand them. They speak slower and louder for that last statement you asked them to repeat, then as they move on to the next statement it's fast and unintelligable again, and the "please, I cannot understand what you're saying, can you repeat that?" process starts all over again.

The problem I had today, was that on my second phone line we weren't getting a dial tone. What the rep was trying to tell me was to take a phone outside to the box attached to the side of the house and plug it in to see if there was a dial tone at the box. If yes, the problem was interior wiring, and if no, it was exterior wiring. She needed to know which tech to send.

It took nearly 15 minutes for her to explain this to me, because I had to keep asking her to repeat herself.

Now, can you imagine a Japanese company who's customers are 99.99% Japanese, hiring out their customer service department to English speaking people who can barely speak Japanese? I dunno, maybe they do that in Japan and the Japanese people are just as annoyed as us English speaking people are.

To me, it's just dumb.

There, rant over and I feel SO much better. No offense at all toward the non-English speaking customer service reps, I bet they're doing the best they can with English - and their patience (the ones who have it) is sure appreciated. My issue is with the knucklehead companies that do this.

Now, if you're the owner of a company that does this, and you want to take issue with me for saying this, go ahead. It's still highly aggrivating no matter what your reasons are. So there.