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I think part of the problem, perhaps the greatest one, with outsourcing service calls has nothing to do with outsourcing and everything to do with service. The Indian folks I've dealt with are all polite and try to be helpful, but I suspect they are often limited in what action they can take and there simply is no effective level available to bug up to.  Their business seems to be based on resolving or revolving (as in around and around) complaints without bothering the hiring company.  What has been outsourced is old fashioned service and there is very little of it left - another renewable resource that's under utilized.

On the other hand, GMAC mortgage seems to have hired a different sort of customer service company whose employees pretend to be helpful and then nasty when their secret is discovered. Not sure where they really are.  Most have only very slight accents, not Indian, at all.  They answer phone calls but never ever respond to letters, even certified ones.  I find it outrageous that a company can threaten its customers (over something it is responsible for) and then not bother to communicate in any meaningful way about the matter.  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Aug 14th, 2009 at 07:39:33 PM EST
Precisely, but service is not being outsourced, it's being phased out.

Even if you're calling the corporation itself, the customer service (which I now matter-of-factly call customer disservice) department is there to shield the company from the customer's complaints.

I had a recent incident where I received a reminder letter from a bank requesting some information I had already provided and ending with "if you have any queries please call such and such number". So I did, to figure out whether I should ignore the letter because it had crossed in the mail with my reply th the previous request, or not.

So it turns our the phone number gives is for regular customer service, and this department 1) has no way of checking on whether the open issue had been resolved; 2) even if I had called during the other office's business hours they could not put me through to that office; 3) they didn't have a phone number or email address for me to call the said office; 4) they could not forward my email address or phone number to the said office for them to call me back.

In other words, pure firewall to keep customers away from the company. No 'service' to see here, move along.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 03:12:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a good description of the condition.  The closest I was able to get to GMAC was an accidental after hours connection to a lawyer in their foreclosures department.  The man understood the problem but wasn't really interested in helping.

Seems to be that large companies have finally found a way to handle something that they were never really interested in.  Of course maybe that's why some, like GM, have gone broke.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 09:51:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is when utilities - effectively monopolies do this.

When GM sells you a car nobody forces you to go to official GM technical service for repairs: there's always your local mechanic. Not the same for your cell phone service, gas/electricity provider, phone/cable TV/internet provider, retail bank or health insurance.

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 11:33:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are right, but companies can take on the attributes of monopolies once they have your money.
GMAC is one example, another:

Mexicana airlines is apparently in trouble again, something we didn't know before buying tickets from Merida to Villahermosa last week. At the time everyone was boarding the flight, the agent announced that no one's luggage would be making the flight; it would be sent separately on the next flight. Reason given: An outright and ridiculous lie "the aircraft was too small to carry luggage." Several other unlikely reasons have been offered since, but the real reason, I suspect, is that they had a large cargo opportunity and decided to take both passenger and cargo money and dump the luggage. Now we are over an hours drive from the airport in Villahermosa. Our luggage was sent on the next flight alright, which went to Mexico City of course. End result, we had to make a special trip to the airport in Villahermosa the next day to retrieve the luggage.

Not the end of the insults. Turns out our non-stop flight return flight to Merida was cancelled and we were rebooked, without our knowledge or consent, on a flight that first went to Mexico City, then change planes for Merida.  Too much risk in my opinion, given Mexicana's recent behavior. Next problem.  My wife tries to change the flight to a another non stop to Merida. Mexicana now feels they are entitled to a change fee but they can't accept a foreign credit card (for $100 dollars!) and put her on hold to get an international agent who can accept it. She waits 30 minutes and hangs up. More useless phone calls ensue. End result - we're taking the bus. Score: Mexicana - 2 + change, us - 0 minus two one way tickets and lots of annoyance. Recourse, likely none. Best solution, just forget about it. I'm sure you know the expression:    "Ni modo", but for those who don't.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 12:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When GM sells you a car nobody forces you to go to official GM technical service for repairs: there's always your local mechanic.

Allowing tinkering? Obviously they failed to protect their intellectual property.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 12:47:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, modern engines are encased and can only be diagnosed by plugging a computer to them...

The peak-to-trough part of the business cycle is an outlier. Carnot would have died laughing.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Aug 15th, 2009 at 01:21:23 PM EST
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Migeru:
Of course, modern engines are encased and can only be diagnosed by plugging a computer to them...
...a computer which, of course, a company shop only has access to.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 19th, 2009 at 04:09:01 AM EST
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