Friday, October 29, 2010

One of the things that makes me cringe is when

I have a problem with either the phone or the internet.

The problem is that the technical part of the producet/service/whatever have been outsourced. My cell service comes from South America, my television service comes from the Phillipines and my computer service comes from India.

Now all of this is well and good and I most certainly do not have a problem with the Filipino that took care of getting my TV up and running a while back. The young man on the other end of the phone did a first class job. Every time I use my TV it works and every month the cable company takes my money. This is the way things are supposed to work.

The problem is that while many of these people outside of the country speak pretty good Ameerican idiomatic English, not all of them do.

I got lucky that day getting my TV hooked up. The Filipino, who had learned English in school had spent a couple of years in the States so he had tuned up his American English so there was no misunderstanding.

We were both patient and managed to set up my account and get my service up and running with few communication problems.

Then he handed me off to accounting and a friendly Filipina that was hard to understand. It took several tries and a lot of hassle, but I did in fact get set up OK.

My cell service was pretty much the same way except that instead of a tagalog accented English, the accent as South American Spanish. My cell service required two tries before someone stepped up to the plate and decided to get everything squared away in one fell swoop.

This second guy I could understand pretty good and he guided me through the technical problems fairly well and then explained that he was going to have to hand me off to someone else.

At one point I answered him in High School Spanish and he said, "Ah, you speak Spanish!" and started babbling away.

I explained to him that although I was fluent in High School Spanish,that it was a different language entirely and we had best continue in English. Then I explained to him that in Mexico I had trie to order two enchilladas and the waiter brought me out a baked, stuffed elephant with all the trimmings.

He laughed, but he did understand my point and told me quietly that people from the states that DID try working with them in High School Spanish were a lot more trouble than those that just worked in English.

I politely told him to try and make sure he passed me on to someone that I could understand and he thought for a second and said he would patch me through to someone that he knew that had spent some time in the states, but I would proobably have to wait a few minutes.

I told him that it would be all right as I only wanted to do this once and get it right the first time.

A few minutes later I was talking to someone else that spoke pretty good English and we got everything squared away in short order.

I attribute my success there to thinking ahead and being patient and working with the people there a little.

Computer problems and dealing with Indians is a little more difficult in a way.

The Spanish speakers KNOW that English is a second language and they try their damnedest. Indians learned English from the Brits and speak the Queen's English.

Winston Churchill once described British/American relations as being two countries seperated by a common language. This holds true for dealing with Indians, only it's worse.

My buddy, Clancy from down at the corner convenience store is from India and speaks pretty good accented American English and is easy to understand even though it is somewhat accented.

Guys like him are not the problem. It's when you couple British English AND a heavy Indian accent that all hell breaks loose. It's a whole lot worse for me than either the South Americans or the Filipinos, who have at least learned American English.

Having to call India for technical support is the one that really makes me cringe.

I just wished these companies would have made it easier for us by having Americans doing this work even though I would have to be putting up with a bunch of rude countrymen because at least we could understand each other a whole lot better.

What irks me even more is that even go to these people for the privlige of being misunderstood you have to play the push one for English telephone game and then get stuck on hold because all of our agents are busy.

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