Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
In France the calls may come from North Africa or Romania, where there are enough hopeful young people who speak French. Since I haven't needed to fix a problem by telephone (I really believe in writing to the fuckers if there's a serious problem, but it may not be the same in LA), I'm talking about cold calls. I try to be helpful if I hear a twitch of humanity at the other end - this means, for example, tell them if they have a box on their screen to check that says Not Owner or No Money or Hopeless Prospect they should check it right away and waste no more time on me - but if it's boilerplate I just put the phone down.

If someone has real problems to settle and letters don't do it, well I suppose that's today's hideous corporate world - and no one in public office is doing anything to change it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:51:10 PM EST
Well, I don't know about the letter writing.  For one, I'm more of a phone person, but for another, I'm usually spurred to action when there's some horrible deadline.  I haven't had any hideous problems revealed at anything but the last minute.  Like when my parents at the house got served with foreclosure papers about the 77 cents -- there was a deadline!  I didn't think I had the luxury of sending a letter off...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 13th, 2009 at 04:55:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know anyone who writes letters to customer service unless they've reached the point where they are threatening a law  suit.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 04:43:16 PM EST
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The reason why Indian service desk people are instructed to assume American names and locations is because of the sheer amount of abuse that's being heaped on them once the caller eventually discovers they're talking to an Indian person.

Not anyone is as nice as Izzy, sadly.

This is well known in India and there are even sitcoms on TV showing the daily work in such a call center -- skewering the abusive callers from the UK or the US. The scene in Slumdog is a cliché already part of Indian pop culture.

In the French speaking world, Morroco is the current favorite location for call centers, and here Mohamed and Leila are re-christened (pardon the pun), Pierre and Martine, for exactly the same reason. I've also heard of the Southern hemisphere -- Madagascar and Mauritius, but Romania makes sense too.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 06:06:51 PM EST
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As for why they keep to the script even when found out, my guess is: their conversations are taped, and live in constant fear of the manager picking their tape to check on how they followed the instructions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Aug 17th, 2009 at 01:29:21 AM EST
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