Monday, 3 December 2012

Call centers abroad.

On Saturday afternoon we got a phone call. On picking it up I repeated my name and a girl with a poor accent asked for my husband. I asked her who she was and she told me she was from dot dot. At least that's what it sounded like.

I carried the phone into my husband who is slightly deaf and could make no sense of the questions she was asking him. He turned up the volume so that I could hear..

It was to do with the recent unfortunate business with BT and AOL. She demanded the name of the account holder. David told her my name and she said. "You have not given me the correct information so I cannot tell you what I am ringing about" the line went dead.

It was just one more communications fail which sadly we are getting used to.

I am aware that many international call centers are based in countries where English is not the first language. I assume this to make economic sense.

It is hopeless though for people in this country who are old with hearing difficulties to actually understand what is being said to them. This observation does not make me a racist.. I spent ten years of my life teaching mostly Asian pupils to speak English as a second language. I am tuned in to rhythms of speech. Many are not and find it very confusing.

The girl on Saturday was abrupt to the point of rudeness. It is not going to do Talk Talk much good if at first hearing it sounds like Dot Dot.

Mostly the men from India I spoke to via the BT call centers were polite and after a frustrating hour listening to a man explaining that the little blue light would come on eventually I thanked him before ending the call. It was only when the BT hub arrived that I got the message. All the lights are blue!

I see a lot of elderly people who complain about not being able to understand those who work in call centers. Is it perhaps time to rethink some of this policy....had I managed to speak to not only a real voice but a voice speaking more or less the same language things could have been sorted out much more easily, with less angst and certainly more good will.

It also makes good business sense surely.

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