I have a problem. It isn’t a racist problem. It’s about communication.
I’ve been talking a lot lately to telemarketing people. To “representatives” with names like George and Jeffrey.
The thing is, when I start talking to them like a real person, they don’t understand me.
It’s not my accent. My accent is your accent.
It’s not their accent. Although they do have an accent. As do we. Man, that’s tough enough.
The prob is communication. The prob is telemarketing. The prob is outsourcing.
We’re here in America, hoping to speak to people about our accounts. About our situations.
They’re in India. They’re English-speakers, and . . . they’re nice. And they pretend their names are Jeffrey and George.
But they are not COMPREHENDERS.
And I’m not saying they CAN’T comprehend. I’m not saying they are less than Americans. I’m not saying they’re stupid.
I’m saying they are trained to speak English on a script, that is written for them and printed, then probably encased in plastic slipsleeves in a metal notebook, tabbed and indexed so that the operators in Mumbai or Bangladesh can easily respond to keywords that we, as Americans, say.
I explain this so that you can understand that, oh, say, at the Times-Dispatch or other local places, the telemarketers have the exact same types of scripts, that they read depending upon the circumstances.
The difference is, the locals can comprehend.
We, as customers, are not expected to deviate from the scripts. But seriously, we screw THEM up when we do. And therein lies the prob. If the teleslaves we talk to are here in the US of A, not a prob. They talk to us. They bounce back. We both comprehend each other.
But if the teleslaves are outsourced to a continent and a language nowhere near our own, but linked only by the convenience of the cheapest currency, then . . .
Problem. Serious problem.
Because you and I go off the scripts. You know we do.
Because we have southern accents.
Because they can’t pronounce our names.
Because they call us Mr. or Miss _______, and it’s our first name, not our surname. Mr. Bob. Mrs. Laura. Not. Mr. Washington or Mrs. Vulnavia.
They don’t get us.
And if they don’t get us — seriously — can they really help us?
Does the American company that outsources them really give a damn about their customers?
It doesn’t really matter where they are, what country they come from. Because it’s not about THEM. It’s not about foreigners. It’s about language. It’s about comprehension. It’s that real people like you and I do NOT live life off a phone script.
And I’m done. Seriously. I’ve had it. I’m at the Peter Finch moment in Network. I’m mad as hell…
But more than that: I am not going to talk to anyone, ever again, about any issue if they have any accent other than an American accent. Southern, ok. Minnesota, ok. Maine, ok. Idaho . . . does Idaho even have an accent?
But if it sounds like you’re from any other country beside the United States of America baby — you’re history. (Well, I will accept British.)
I’m done. No more. You’ll hit my voicemail wall.
You and your cheap ass, outsourcing companies are dead.
Caller ID and answering systems are wonderful things.
People: use them.
Companies: screw you.
And have a nice day.