This week, I had my really first bad experience with outsourced call centers. On Monday, my son came to me because our Xbox 360 encountered the red rings of death; a hardware issue affecting a lot of Xbox 360 consumers. So many Xboxes were affected that Microsoft has extended the warranty for an additional 2 years.
After verifying it was a true red ring of death and taking a picture, I immediately called Microsoft and was routed to an outsourced call center. During this conversation, I started to talk with the outsourced support agent. The agent kept telling me “Thank you for your problem” and then couldn’t stop telling me “thank you,” “Please be patient,” and “We will solve you”. Seemed really odd, but hilarious.
After 45 minutes of waiting on hold for the outsourced call center agent to find a solution, he finally came back on the line with an answer of “Thank you for your problem and I am glad to solve you.” Trying to hold back my laughter, I said, “How did you solve me?”
The outsourced call center agent said, “Your device is out of warranty, but we have extended it to solve your problem and will fix it.” The only thing I would have to do is get my own box for shipping the system back to them.
I found myself relating this whole experience to a movie I recently watched called “Outsourced.” In the movie, a company outsourced their call center to India. Which seems to be exactly what Microsoft has done with their support. One part of the call was extremely familiar, because I asked the support rep where he was located and he told me Chi…caaaaa..go. That was one of the classic scenes in the “Outsourced” movie itself.
Outsourcing is Bad for American business. Outsourced call centers are even worse for a hard American worker like myself to deal with. Just dealing with a rep about a broken product is difficult enough in itself, but add an extreme language barrier of an outsourced call center agent and you’ve created and instantly unbearable situation.
One company that I highly respect, Apple, hasn’t resorted to outsourcing their call centers to a foreign county. Apple seems to know that customer service and the ability to understand the representative your talking to is vitally important to keeping customers.