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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Abuse rattles Indian call centre staff

Shane Fernandes in Mumbai was recently speaking to a customer in the US about a credit card scheme.

He thought he had won over the customer, but just at the last minute the American learnt the young, sweet-talking agent was calling from a call centre in India.

'He just refused to deal with me because he found out I was an Indian,' recollects Mr Fernandes.

Others working in India's burgeoning call centres have been verbally abused and accused of taking jobs formerly carried out in Europe or the US.

Many Indian call centre workers are relatively young, having joined straight from college, and they are not used to and often find it hard to cope with the abuse.

Indian call centers fill me with dread. Why, you may ask? Is it because I am racist or furious because these call-center jobs have been moved overseas?

The answer is much more mundane. Born and bred in Scotland, I speak with a heavy Scots brogue. Living in India, the call center staff can't understand me.



Blogger Moni said...

Well Geesh! That works both ways...I'm not prejudice either. They can't understand me and I can't understand them.

If a company is based in the U.S. then I feel that if you have a problem then you should be able to talk to someone from the U.S. Not that I would abe ugly to anyone with a foreign accent over the phone, afterall, they're not the ones to blame. Blame big business for outsourcing the jobs in the first place.

Frankly, I'm sick of outsourcing. The town I live in is a ghost town because of it.

Don't be worried about them understanding you. Americans, I for one; love the scottish accent.

I purposely ask my friend to repeat herself although I understood her the first time. I just like to hear the accent.
I asked her a couple of months ago how she was doing and she replied, "It's been a shite year." I thought that was so cool...pronouncing s h i t with a long "i" Does shite = s h i t?

Sorry for cursing on your blog please forgive me. I won't do it again. ;) Just had to ask, I should have asked her.

4:07 PM  
Blogger McFox said...

"Shite" = "shit" but has a slightly different nuance and is often used in sentences;
"complete, utter, shite!"
"shite weather"
"shite beer"

They say Eskimos have over 200 words for snow. The Scots have about the same number for shite. ;o)

8:18 AM  
Blogger Moni said...

Thanks for clearing that up for me. ;) And that being said, I hope you shite-less week. ;)

10:37 PM  
Blogger Bulbboy said...

With Parents from the the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, even Scottish people find my accent slightly odd sometimes. I've even been asked if I am Brazilian, and Icelandic! so I can relate to your comment about not being undestood so well. :)
Although, whenever someone from an Indian call centre calls they are usually impeccably polite; one chap after hearing my birthdate asked "that would make you a Saggitarius?"
I found this extremely funny, and he went onto tell me how his Mother was a Saggitarius too!
I almost forgot that the call was about a credit card application, and not the Astrology line.

1:36 AM  
Blogger McFox said...

Ah, the Island lilt. Unless you have been around that or a Highland accent for a while, it can sound like another language. I wouldn't have thought Brazilian though. :)

10:18 AM  

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