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In the Bird-cage liner today

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Brah
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In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby Brah » Mon, 08 Dec 2014 8:41 am

Admittedly I have not read any of the potential back-and-forth on this, if there has been more written about it.

It was however interesting to read "I have had many unpleasant experiences with corporations that have outsourced their call centres to operators overseas, who answer queries from Singaporeans in heavily accented English that I find difficult to comprehend.

Very often, I have to ask them to repeat their answers, and I get the message only after a few attempts. There is often much frustration and time wasted in such exchanges."


Whereas this is exactly the experience I have had until over the last few years the ability of phone support staff capability and English has improved directly due to overseas call centers, and less "heavily-accented English".

http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/for ... e-20141208
Ape Shall Not Kill Ape.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby nakatago » Mon, 08 Dec 2014 8:53 am

Brah wrote:who answer queries from Singaporeans in heavily accented English that I find difficult to comprehend.



Right-o.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby JR8 » Mon, 08 Dec 2014 9:50 am

The letter appears to be from one of those types: 'I attended a most prestigious university overseas and now speak better English than the Queen herself. Why oh why then, do I return home and demand to pay peanuts for a service but thereupon find myself having to interlocute* with people who 'enmesh me in impenetrable discourse''.

From the original letter:
"heavily accented English that I find difficult to comprehend. Very often, I have to ask them to repeat their answers, and I get the message only after a few attempts. There is often much frustration and time wasted in such exchanges."

The above would describe many discussions I have with locals (out here in the heartlands). And indeed would seem to also be why the government runs annual 'Speak Better English' campaigns.



* An intentional malapropism of interlocutor.
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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby nakatago » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 6:08 am

JR8 wrote: annual 'Speak Better English' campaigns..


Speak English Good Can Oredi

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 10:39 am

I find two other issues are bigger contributors than how well or what accent the person is speaking in English.

The speed at which they speak. If I can get the operator to slow down it always helps whether it is an Indian, Filipino, scouser or geordie.

Secondly the quality of the equipment, often the headsets they use have truly awful microphones.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby nakatago » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 10:49 am

Steve1960 wrote: scouser or geordie.


They have call centers in England?!

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 10:51 am

Yes surprisingly sometimes, depending on the time of day, I have been put through to a UK service centre. Last time was Cardiff in Wales along with a thick welsh accent and a cr*p microphone!

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby nakatago » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:14 am

Steve1960 wrote:Yes surprisingly sometimes, depending on the time of day, I have been put through to a UK service centre. Last time was Cardiff in Wales along with a thick welsh accent and a cr*p microphone!




I don't mind accents as long as I can understand them...and from experience, English-speaking understand me me so it's not my fault. However, I did notice that some businesses* will list local call center as a selling point to customers.

I did have an experience with a call center where I got passed around so much I thought I wanted to curse in five languages. Customer service fail. I also had an experience where the guy resolved my issue which was outside those dreadful menu options right then and there as I heard keyboard clacking and he was talking me through what he was doing so as to avoid dead air or just being on hold.*

*Not in Singapore, obviously. That was great customer service, probably by a guy actually named Steve.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:22 am

Yes, several years ago in the UK there was a huge public outcry over the outsourcing of front line customer service in the main to India. Wading through several tiers of automated menu selections only to finally speak to someone who's English was so poor it was a waste of time. It was too much to bear.

Then as you say there was a slow reversal with companies marketing the fact that they had UK call centres. That seems to have softened now and the organisations I have dealt with recently seem to have a mix of the two with a bias towards the Philippines. Maybe they figured out its just as cheap as India but the quality of spoken English is better?

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby nakatago » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:29 am

Steve1960 wrote:Maybe they figured out its just as cheap as India but the quality of spoken English is better?


Assuming they don't get those asshole call center agents in Libis. Some call center agents in Manila think they're better than most people just because they earn more than the average Filipino.

Seriously, I've encountered these dipsticks in my old job in the same business park where call centers were. I'd often find them having breakfast, drinking Starbucks frappucino, smoking, talking smack about some client they have which they probably talked to condescendingly in the first place, leading to the said caller being irate.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:35 am

I have not experienced that myself yet. Been through call centres in Manila and Cebu and actually had excellent service. Clearly I am in tune with the Filipino English accent which may make it easier for me compared to some others but always had bright cheerful people willing to help.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby nakatago » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:19 pm

Steve1960 wrote:I have not experienced that myself yet. Been through call centres in Manila and Cebu and actually had excellent service. Clearly I am in tune with the Filipino English accent which may make it easier for me compared to some others but always had bright cheerful people willing to help.


I've had one bad call experience and several encounters in real life with the dipsticks, albeit in passing as they were obviously not talking to me but they were talking so loudly anyway, I was passively eavesdropping. I did have a chat with some call center agents (not the dipsticks) but they have mentioned a colleague or two who were dipsticks.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:49 pm

Steve1960 wrote:I have not experienced that myself yet. Been through call centres in Manila and Cebu and actually had excellent service. Clearly I am in tune with the Filipino English accent which may make it easier for me compared to some others but always had bright cheerful people willing to help.


I set up call centers in Manila. I set up technical help desk centers. I can guarantee you that it is far easier to set up non technical call centers. So long as you don't have serious problem solving issues, or have a problem that can be easily resolved, you'll like your service.

Example: I lost my credit card. I need to change my address or name. I need to know how to get warranty service for my sex toy. I can't figure out the settings on my atom smasher. So long as there is a process, a simple decision tree, and a knowledge base, you'll be happy with the service.

But, as soon as you ask something outside of the decision tree, you are f*cked. For example, Singapore airlines website kept aborting when I pressed the button to book my cheap economy fare. I called the service desk. Yes, they could book me a ticket but it cost more than the website... they could not give me the website price even though the website was down... it's like rats running down a maze that suddenly opens into a wide open field... yikes!... which way to go?

Taking it to the next level, having to train someone to actually troubleshoot, and then having to be the user who is subject to the troubleshooter is extremely painful. Imaging calling into a junior agent who is still not sure if windows is referring to that glass thing next to her desk or is actually some kind of software. Someone who has no idea of how a computer works, but does have a script and a knowledge base... a dangerous combination.

Neither India nor the Philippines are better at the latter categories. Stereotypically, Indians become indignant and defensive when challenged about their problem solving skills, Filipinos become more apologetic... neither actually gets the problem solved.

In spite of the education strides being made in both countries, US based call centers are far superior. First, the underlying education of each individual is better. That makes it easier to teach the secondary knowledge needed to do the job.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby nakatago » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 1:02 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:Taking it to the next level, having to train someone to actually troubleshoot, and then having to be the user who is subject to the troubleshooter is extremely painful. Imaging calling into a junior agent who is still not sure if windows is referring to that glass thing next to her desk or is actually some kind of software. Someone who has no idea of how a computer works, but does have a script and a knowledge base... a dangerous combination.


That's bulls#!+.

Junior staff would never get a desk next to a window in the Philippines.

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Re: In the Bird-cage liner today

Postby Steve1960 » Tue, 09 Dec 2014 1:22 pm

Strong Eagle I completely agree and have to say that my experiences with off shore call centres has been for the more straightforward inquiries and queries. If I have more complex issues I find another way to deal with them.


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