Customer service is just a phone call – I mean a flight around the world — away

Time is money, and I’ve wasted a lot of time sitting on hold today. At least March Madness is on to help pass the time. Too bad, the overseas operator thought I was speaking another language when I joked with her about March Madness. She had no idea what I was saying or what that meant. The language barrier also made it difficult for her to fix my complicated issue, but these issues may be fixed by next March Madness. Or, maybe a few March’s from now.

Tonight, I called two American companies about account problems. For the airline business, I sat on hold for a minimum of 20 minutes and then spent twenty minutes on the phone trying to get answers. Then, I turned around and called another number for the same company. I was told the wait time was 3 minutes, and it actually took more than 30 minutes. Maybe that was lost in translation too. Still waiting to see if this solves my problem.

The call to the department store was answered quickly, but that overseas operator was impossible to understand through his thick accent. He had trouble understanding me through my thick English accent, too.

I’m so tired of the overseas robot operators. In general, they repeat what you say and spell everything — A as in Alpha — because of the language barrier. They repeat the same pleasant phrases that flash before them on the computer screen to assure the customer of their foreign concern and understanding.

Despite the repeated concern, I rarely get my problem solved on the first call. It takes multiple calls, including tonight.

My multiple experiences in one day made me think back to a recent ABC News “Made in America” segment. It mentioned that companies are moving these overseas call center jobs back to America because it’s cheaper. These big businesses are finally realizing we can’t get our problems answered. The report said it’s because we used to call an operator for help resetting a password, but now we can that online ourselves so now our calls are for more complex issues. That means a longer phone conversation, and more calls to get an adequate answer.

After tonight, I’ve decided the American movement is not happening soon enough. I’ve been on hold so long I had enough time to write a blog post BEFORE my call was answered. At least I got something out of this hour wait.

There are apps that call you back when the customer service representative gets on the phone. FastApp is a great service. I previously tested it and it really throws the customer service rep for a loop when they’re told to wait on hold while the app calls you. Most of the companies I tried it on had American call centers, and tonight I had to call more specific numbers, so it wasn’t of use. However, it’s something to keep in mind. Use it when you can.

To every big business, my message is clear. Please bring these overseas call center jobs back to America. Save me some time and money and save yourself some green too by bringing that job back to the red, white, and blue.


2 thoughts on “Customer service is just a phone call – I mean a flight around the world — away

  1. My thoughts exactly, esp if its related to technology and the Rep refuses to use laymans terms to help you understand beyond their heavy accent barrier. “Live” chat is even worse since reading English is as difficult as speaking it. I guess! How about a video-sign language technique.


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