Over here, or overseas, incompetence knows no boundaries.
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If you call the tech support lines for many major companies these days, you
can’t really be sure that the person you’re talking to isn’t a few miles away
or on the other side of the planet. We’ve all heard of technical supporting
being outsourced to overseas companies, often in India, to reduce costs. The
current state of technology allows us to communicate anywhere on the planet
cheaply and instantaneously, so it does make a certain amount of sense that,
all else being equal, companies would be foolish not to consider it.
But is it evil? Many think so.
What I believe that most people actually find evil isn’t where their tech
support representatives might be located … it’s the quality of that tech
support. They may believe that they’re seeing a lower level of expertise when
they can detect that the call has been routed off shore, and it’s certainly
possible that that’s the case. But it’s not the location that’s the problem –
it’s the incompetence.
And incompetence knows no geographical boundaries.
I truly and honestly don’t care if the person I’m speaking to on the phone
is in my neighborhood, my country, or half way around the planet, as long as
they can help me. That, typically, can be summed up in two measures: can we
communicate, and do they know what they’re talking about?
You don’t have to be overseas to blow it. I’ve nearly hung up the phone on
U.S.-based support reps because their regional accent was so thick that I could
barely understand them. I left my former ISP because their technical support
staff was incompetent and could only follow the script that they had been
I would have been quite happy in both cases if I could understand them, and
if they could actually help me – even if they’d been overseas.
My bottom line? Don’t blame overseas outsourcing, per se, it’s part of
what’s keeping your costs down – but do hold companies accountable for the
quality of their service, regardless of where it’s coming from.
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