Wednesday, August 30, 2006

foreign Customer Service woes

Many of us have experienced the frustration of calling a customer service number, then being greeted by someone, apparently from India, who barely understands what you're saying.

Usually, I've had mixed feelings on the subject. One the one hand, I had to keep that all-too-human desire to associate my negative feelings with ALL folks with that particular accent. On the other hand, I felt that these were probably a bunch of really, really nice people (they certainly remained cordial, despite my consistent frustration) who were doing an near-impossible job... from an entirely different frickin' CONTINENT!

Now, I'm not so sure. I mean, I'm not saying we oughta go all racist on them or anything, but I'm no longer prepared to give them that blanket benefit-of-the-doubt that I once did my BEST to afford them. No.

Now I'm convinced that their incompetence exceeds our own domestic levels of incompetence by leaps and bounds. As much as our local folks fuck up, at least there's not USUALLY there's not such a communication barrier, compounding the expected difficulties.

What has lead to my recent change-of-heart?

The Bluetooth hardware in my Dell laptop recently malfunctioned. It was a hardware issue, for sure, since pressing on the left palmrest would temporarily "fix" the problem. Despite the fact that, as I've said before, I'll scoop up technology from flea markets, this particular laptop was still covered by Dell's hardware warranty.

After wrestling with their customer service folks, over the phone, I finally got them to admit that the issue was hardware-related and, therefore, covered by their warranty. They sent a DHL laptop box to me. I put the laptop in the box and shipped it back to them. They (hopefully) repaired it and sent it back to me.

Believe it or not, that was the SIMPLE part. The HARD part was getting the laptop from DHL to me.

This post is long enough, already, so I'll spare you the longER version of the story. Suffice it to say that I've spent HOURS on the phone with Dell and DHL, trying to confirm the location to which they'd ship the laptop.

I've even been put on-hold while Dell said they did all the things DHL said were NEVER DONE, to ensure that the package would be delivered to the appropriate location on-time.

This morning, I called them both, again. DHL said they still weren't going to deliver my package because Dell hadn't done the appropriate things. Dell said they'd do the appropriate things, right then (not admitting that they'd never been done before).

At one point, the Dell representative said that she'd put me on-hold while talking directly to DHL to confirm that they had everything they needed. I told her to make sure that DHL had what they needed *to deliver my laptop to me, at the appropriate address, before 5pm, today.*

Do you think that $#^%$ did that? She came back to the phone and said she confirmed everything, but that DHL wouldn't be able to process things for a minimum of 48 hours! That meant my laptop would sit in a DHL facility for ANOTHER two days, for no good $#@ %$&@$%&in' reason!

I was ready to blow up. I told her I wanted a supervisor, NOW - not 15 minutes, from now, but NOW. After waiting she supposedly forwarded my call to her supervisor, I remembered that another customer service rep, with Compaq or HP had put me on-hold once, but could hear everything I said.

So, I said, "Can you hear me?" She said she could. I told her I SAID I wanted to speak to a supervisor, NOW. She hurriedly and humbly said, "Yessir. Yessir. I'm forwarding you to my supervisor, now."

At the same time, I contacted DHL, using my mobile phone. The rep. found that someone finally HAD submitted the proper paperwork, but they'd only done so that morning (since I called them BACK AGAIN). The DHL rep couldn't figure out if the package would be delivered to my home or my job, though, so she said she'd get someone from the local facility to call me.

Thank goodness. She said she didn't want me sent back-and-forth, anymore, so when the local rep. called me, I should record her full name and keep contacting her until I got satisfaction.

Luckily, I had a mobile phone because as SOON as I went to take a piss, my phone rang. I was JUST drying my hands (after washing them, of course), when I answered. The Tallahassee rep said the package would be delivered, today, by X:00 pm and gave me her number to call if I had any more problems.

Now, I don't know how this story is going to end, exactly, but the Dell rep... never came back to the phone and no supervisor picked up. When I called back, no one picked up and I was disconnected.

Keep in-mind that, before they'll connect you or do anything, they take your mother's maiden name, a blood sample, and demand the genitals of your first-born... plus a contact phone number. So, she had the ability to call me back. But, so far, no one has... except the DHL folks.

So, I'll come back, later, and let you all know how this story ends. At this point, I'm just crossing my fingers and thinking of how many Dell levels I'm going to go through to make DAMNED SURE that someone knows PRECISELY what went down here.

I've still got the transcripts from the chat sessions (better than holding the damned phone, for an hour) I had with three different Dell representatives - all of whom claimed I'd get my laptop today because of their efforts. It was only because I called, again, this morning, that my laptop is set to be delivered, today... assuming it is.

It's past time for American companies to stop cutting corners to cut costs on customers service. The only way they will, though, is if we hold them completely accountable for having to deal with, in my case, at least SIX HOURS of their lies and bullshit.


Luke Cage said...

Whoa Mr. West. You are most certainly a sarcastic mofo when you get worked up my friend.

Keep in-mind that, before they'll connect you or do anything, they take your mother's maiden name, a blood sample, and demand the genitals of your first-born... plus a contact phone number

Isn't that the truth man? I tell you. It's frustrating enough when these things happen, but even more when you have to keep repeating yourself over and over again. Why and how has it gotten so out of control is beyond me. In fact, I think customer service has fallen so low, its below the earth now and sinking even farther with every transaction.

princessdominique said...

You know, it makes nooooooo sense to me. Although my altercation wasn't foreign, I tried for 4 days to get assistance with hooking my stand alone Tivo dvr recorder to my Directv box. It's still not working. I've been shuffled from Directv to Tivo and back again, meanwhile I'm being charged for both services as if they're functioning properly. I smell a refund.

Raiden said...

I try to be patient when dealing with the fellas from New Dehli. I know that they didn't steal our jobs and they are just trying to make better lives for themselves. However, it really eats me up knowing that American's are out of jobs becuase of them and I am often noticebly disturbed. What's worse than daeling with them is trying to find anything built / made in the USA. I have not seen the "Made in the USA" sign in a few years.

West said...

I feel you guys (and lady).

More than anything else (even the domestic economy, I'm afraid) I'm interested in decent customer service - the fulfillment of the company's obligation to me.

The company's failure to live up to that responsibility - or even to make a good faith effort to do so, leaves me dissatisfied with the product and disappointed in humanity.

Yeah. It's that deep.

Too often, I wonder how humanity has accomplish all that it has, considering the insane levels of incompetence and apathy that we exhibit.

generic cialis said...

Hello, I do not agree with the previous commentator - not so simple

Lakra said...

Come on people!! With all the harm your country did to mine throughout history, supporting state terrosrism and the destruction of our economy, now we also have to feel guilty for "stealing" your fucking jobs???? You want call center jobs back on your country??? Well, if you're willing to work for U$600 a month, like we do, you'll probably get your damn jobs back. In the meantime, i'll remain behind the phone, insulted by you guys.
Good luck and greetings from Argentina!!

West said...

Not only did no one, in this four-and-a-half-year-old post, suggest that you should feel guilt about taking our jobs, but you never said a word about the quality or lack thereof on your end.

That's what this dead, dry, and dusty conversation was really about - the inability or unwillingness of you and yours to attend to the problem at-hand.

Great job proving us wrong.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know, i just don't think the quality of our work is really that much worse than americans...i don't see my customers getting pissed off at me because of me not doing my job, or because of communicational barriers, i see them pissed off at me because i have to be the face of a company that pisses off their customers. Sorry you had such a bad experience, but i don't think you should generalize so much. BTY, sorry if i was too agressive on my first post...