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masseybrown
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Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:15 am

Sorry but I need to whine a little. I called an airline for help with a billing problem and a new reservation and, after a l-o-n-g wait listening to elevator music, got a static-filled connection and a person with a high-pitched, heavily-accented voice. I politely asked for someone who speaks better English and was immediately disconnected.

I don't want to blame the airline (dah dit dit, if you want a clue) since it could happen to any airline using overseas call centers; but it's time to give up on this false economy.
 
musapapaya
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:21 am

Which airline is this if you dont mind to tell?
Yes they do call centres in places where wages are cheaper, or more convenient for them. For AA, they have the UK call centre in Ireland, while for LH, they have their Hong Kong call centre situated in Australia. I cant give any other examples but there are lots other companies who use overseas call centre (india as an example) where customers find them miserable. Examples like HSBC in the UK.
 
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OA260
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:25 am

The worst in my opinion is the BMI Indian call center. They are like robots. If you want to ask something or change something and its not in the book they are reading from its just like pulling teeth out. The best call centers that I have come across is the Swiss one and the LOT one in Warsaw. I have always gotten positive responses and helpful staff with good English.
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:33 am

Please see my various rants on the UA center in India and the US center in the Philipines . . . neither of which are worth a tinker's damn . . . .

US call center doesn't know US serves BHM, and UAs call center can't seem to process a UM fare - and the subsequent refund . . . .

There's more, but the point is made.

Disasterous.

Waste of my time and $$$.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
BigAppleCoder
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:36 am

Quoting MasseyBrown (Thread starter):
(dah dit dit, if you want a clue)



Quoting Musapapaya (Reply 1):
Which airline is this if you dont mind to tell?

dah dit dit = morse code for 'D'.

So, my guess would be Del...  Wink
 
PiedmontINT
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:23 am

Quoting MasseyBrown (Thread starter):
I politely asked for someone who speaks better English and was immediately disconnected.

That really bothers me as well. I was helping an older woman adjust her Delta flights one day (we are US Express here in MHK) and she was just in a bind. Her daughter had set the flights up but had gone out of town and just had no one to help her bless her heart. So I took it upon myself to call Delta's res. line to get her adjusted. I waited for half an hour only to get India where the girl had no idea what I was talking about and when I too asked to be transferred to someone in the United States I was hung up on.

This isnt just a phenomenon with the airlines, try calling tech support for (insert favorite telecom/networking/computer brand here) and asking them a question that completely bewilders them and ask to be transferred. They drop you like a bad habit nearly everytime
 
BatonOps
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:24 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 3):
Please see my various rants on the UA center in India and the US center in the Philipines . . . neither of which are worth a tinker's damn . . . .

I agree 100% with you on the UA call centers. I hate calling and not being able to understand the person on the other. Then when I finally get someone I can somewhat understand they don't understand what I'm asking for.

The airlines would do themselves some good by moving ALL the call centers back to the United States.
 
PiedmontINT
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:30 am

Quoting BatonOps (Reply 6):
The airlines would do themselves some good by moving ALL the call centers back to the United States.

Also a valid point I forgot to mention: how expensive would it be to move the call centers back to the US to college towns where you can pay them part-time barely above minimum wage? We used to have an Alltel call center and kids were lining up out the door to get a job there because its easy and you dont really have to do anything! All the answers are in a magic book and if it is that complicated, just refer them to the next tier where the full time tech's are.
 
dstc47
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:32 am

I believe the AA call centre in Ireland was substantially closed or scaled back some years ago. I do not know what, if anything, other than local needs, is served from Ireland nowdays.
 
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OA260
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:33 am

Quoting Dstc47 (Reply 8):
I believe the AA call centre in Ireland was substantially closed

Your right . I think they only have a sales team there now . The offices were near the American Embassy.
 
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QB737
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:42 am

This is one of my biggest pet PV. Companies are out sourcing to 2nd and 3rd world countries to save a few bucks and they’re not helping the local economy in any way. This should be made illegal by the various governments. Some GDSs come to mind as well. One of my employees spent 2 hours trying to explain what was wrong to no avail. I called the French desk (Located in YYZ) the next day and got the problem fixed in 5 minutes. I did send a letter to my rep saying that I can not afford to have my employees spending that much time trying to communicate with someone at the other end of the world to get a problem fixed while this time should be spent with customers making sales. I personally refuse to patronise companies who are doing so but it’s not always possible unfortunately.
Ben YVR
 
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OA260
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:07 am

Quoting QB737 (Reply 10):
This should be made illegal by the various governments.

Totally agree it should be made illegal. There was an investigation on UK tv that some call centers for a certain bank were involved in major frauds. The people working in the call centers were very poor and were being targeted by gangs to sell customers bank details to them !!! That is very worrying.

The jobs should stay at home. For instance your paying your Dollars/Pounds/Euros and its not going back into your own countries economy. Your supporting jobs 3000-5000 miles away whilst people are loosing their jobs in your own country as happened with BMI. They had a great call center in the UK's midlands region and they were all let go to save money. They are now left with alot of annoyed customers many of whom are premium FF's and a bad standard of service.

The most classic experience is when I called the BMI call center to get a problem sorted out with my flights. The agent was so un helpful and had bad English asking me for the 3 letter codes for the airports. At the end of the call they said ''Can i help you with anything eIse today?? I was glad to be of service to you today my name is ________thank you for calling BMI'' Blood pressure was highest ever LOL....
 
cloudboy
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:12 am

I had a huge problem with United's customer service center. Had a ticket problem (they screwed up my boarding passes and I paid for upgrades I never received). Their call center is in India. Now, for what it is worth I had no problem with their accents or English, in fact they spoke better than many people I have talked with here. But they were useless and couldn't care one bit about their service. The funny thing about it is that they use these really odd names (like Eustice and Samuel and other names you rarely hear) and it was (at least for me) asy to remember which one I was talking to. I finally got totally upset, and called my Credit card company.

Turns out it was an outsourced call center, and I got the SAME GUY!
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
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OA260
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:23 am

Quoting Cloudboy (Reply 12):
Turns out it was an outsourced call center, and I got the SAME GUY!

You mean to say you got the same guy working for two companies in the same call center???

I know about the name thing. I think they take nick names or something. I have heard ones called Elvis or Billy. I guess the real names could be hard for others to pronounce.
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:11 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 3):
Please see my various rants on the UA center in India and the US center in the Philipines . . . neither of which are worth a tinker's damn . . . .

US call center doesn't know US serves BHM, and UAs call center can't seem to process a UM fare - and the subsequent refund . . . .

There's more, but the point is made.

Disasterous.

Waste of my time and $$$.

Let's put this in perspective. UA call centers receive thousands of calls each and every day. The vast majority of them are successfully completed and customers get what they want. There are anecdotal stories, but no metrics, about failures such as what our now biased moderator experienced. UA planes are full. The Street says UA's financials will be very good this quarter (speculative of course). More training might be warranted, but to abandon a cost efficient way of selling seats...short of making everyone use the Internet.....would be foolish.

[Edited 2007-07-09 00:19:06]
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:19 am

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 14):
UA call centers receive thousands of calls each and every day. The vast majority of them are successfully completed and customers get what they want

Lets put this in perspective . . .

I spent SIX hours two weeks ago attempting to get a refund on a ticket when UA bailed out on ANC. That was SIX hours talking to India. That was SIX hours of my day wasted. Wasted you say? Why wasted? Because those morons haven't refunded the $$$ yet. There is apparently no record - according to them - of the ticket.

How about the hour I wasted four months ago convincing those morons that I COULD in fact buy a UM fee along with my daughter's ticket - at the same time - over the phone?

I could go on. Unnecessary. I'm convinced, as are too many more, that the UA and US call centers in India and the Philipines are a waste. The number of $$$ saved does not belay the number of frustrated customers.

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 14):
The Street says UA's financials will be very good this quarter (speculative of course).

We're not talking about UAs financials . . . we're talking about overseas call centers.

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 14):
More training might be warranted, but to abandon a cost efficient way of selling seats...short of making everyone use the Internet.....would be foolish.

To have abandoned American workers to save a $$$ and consequently alienate your customer base . . . . is foolish.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
Bicoastal
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:24 am

ANC...I generally respect you....you're on my RU list....but absent any hard facts.....you are an anecdotal story. UA's lobbies are full. People are getting where they need to go. And yes, call centers and other efficiencies are directly related to financials. People want cheap tickets; airlines need to cut costs.
Airliners.net has many forums. It has spell check and search functions. Use them before posting!
 
RobertS975
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:08 am

Of course, it is not just the airlines... the tech industry relies heavily on customer support centers in countries like India. I have spent many minutes/hours trying to sort out problems with a computer or two with some chap in India. They are working at 3 or 4AM for them. They are actually usually quite knowledgeable about computers and their problems... but for the average American, the Indian accent can be quite difficult to understand. Throw in technical jargon, and communications can be quite difficult much of the time.

At Delta, the Indian call center is slowly being de-emphasized... more for back ground work like schedule changes etc. Medallion frequent flyers almost never got the overseas reservation centers.
 
cloudboy
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:14 am

I work in the IT industry, and have dealt with many call centers. I have to say that some of the best support I have received has been from ones in India. Some do have bad accents, but there are many that really are intelligible. And in fact so was UA's - I had no problem understanding what they were saying. The problem I find isn't usually the language, it's a preconceived notion that those people do not know what they are talking about. And once you get over that, it goes fairly well. Except in this case, largely, I believe, because there is no interest in actually serving the customer. When you are outsourcing your customer service, your customer service reps have little interest in the company itself. That's why they really don't care to go out of their way to help the customer on the other end of the line.
"Six becoming three doesn't create more Americans that want to fly." -Adam Pilarski
 
mia
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 12:56 pm

The worst is, that most of the time, should you ask them where they are located they do not tell you! I have had this experience with calling Delta.
"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
 
Nimish
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:25 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 15):
I could go on. Unnecessary. I'm convinced, as are too many more, that the UA and US call centers in India and the Philipines are a waste. The number of $$$ saved does not belay the number of frustrated customers.

I don't think anyone is really debating that - but I did resent your statement on the other thread (and I now notice, on this thread as well) calling Indians Morons. Please feel free to call the UA CSRs you spoke to a moron (and he could be in India for all I care), but do not generalize to the whole nation. Very racist and completely unacceptable language for anyone on the forum.

Please do not fly UA if you don't like their outsourced call centers. And please send a string of letters/emails to their corporate HQ, I'm sure someone will realize their mistake and pull the call centers back to North America.
Incredible India!
 
masseybrown
Topic Author
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:45 pm

Quoting BigAppleCoder (Reply 4):
dah dit dit = morse code for 'D'.


And the phonetic for "D" is ....

... not too obscure; but my point was the call centers. Didn't want the thread turning into a bashing session for one particular airline. Nice to know Morse isn't dead.  Smile
 
avt007
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:35 pm

Last week there was a great cartoon in the paper. It showed a guy on the phone. The title was "Meanwhile, in New Delhi".
The guy says "Great, I phone tech support, and I get some clown in Atllanta, who can't even speak Hindi!" Kind of reminds you that the world consists of more than North America.
 
RP TPA
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:20 pm

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 22):
The guy says "Great, I phone tech support, and I get some clown in Atllanta, who can't even speak Hindi!" Kind of reminds you that the world consists of more than North America

In know this was a cartoon, but was the "company" an Indian based one? If not, if it were a USA based company (eg: United, USAirways, Delta, etc) then the cartoon is pointless.

I agree that the situation is bad, and getting worse. I work for an airline myself. Whenever I get a call from an outsourced cell center (either another airline, or one of the dot com agencies like Travelocity or Expedia), I can count on the call taking a LOT longer than normal, as compared to speaking with a US-based agent. The simplest things (working on a schedule change, for example) will take at least 20 minutes with the outsourced call center. A similar call, speaking with a US based agent, will take a fraction of that time. A few months ago, I had to fly from ORD-TPA, so I bought standby tickets on AA and UA. I called AA to list for the flight, and the call took approx 2-3 minutes. Their call center is somewhere in the USA. I then called UA, and it took, and I'm not exaggerating, 3 calls and 45 minutes to finally get the listing done. This was for a simple 1-leg (ORD-TPA) 1 person (me) listing. By the way.....I didnt call a special non-rev phone number for UA. I called their regular reservations line. I can only imagine what paying passengers would have had to go through.
 
FLYGUY767
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:42 pm

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 16):
ANC...I generally respect you....you're on my RU list....but absent any hard facts.....you are an anecdotal story. UA's lobbies are full. People are getting where they need to go. And yes, call centers and other efficiencies are directly related to financials. People want cheap tickets; airlines need to cut costs.

Bicoastal,

I have respected every post of yours, as you are on my RU List, however I have to disagree with the one above. The way that United Airlines has outsourced to India has indeed upset many people, reading topics here on Airliners and on other aviation related forums would tell you that. This day in age in the United States in a post 9-11 America, there is a strong sentiment against American companies that hire outside of the US for American jobs. That in and of itself is the topic for a whole other conversation. I have had a number of those day long phone conversations with India before.

First the issue about the fake names. Then the issue about the people answering the phone not knowing very basic answers, or questions. For example I called about a month ago and was told that there is no such product as EXPlus with United Express, then I was told that all United Express flights were one class of service. A few weeks before that I was told that United Airlines didn't offer Business Class on domestic flights that i was flying on SFO-JFK-LAX-JFK. The Call Center Agent in India went so far as to say United Airlines doesn't have any premium service in the United States, you need to fly to Europe or Asia for Premium Service. Before that I called about my itinerary which had a sudden unknown seat change on the 744 LAX-SYD from Business Class upstairs to Business Class downstairs. The Agent in India said they were looking something up. It took them 15 minutes to look up the code of the aircraft. I told them I didn't call to see what kind of plane I was on, I called to see why my seats were moved.

The United Airlines Indian Call Centers have to be the most insane part of United Airlines Customer Service issues. Sure United Airlines flights are full, as are everyone elses, it is the summer season. Sure United Airlines can keep the uneducated staff in India. Sure United Airlines can continue business as normal. In the end United Airlines will be no better than it was before bankruptcy, if United Airlines takes the attitude of not needing to do anything about the outsourced call centers in India.

As you have put it:

People want cheap tickets; airlines need to cut costs

The problem is that United Airlines has cut those costs in every area that the customer can see and hear. It is the subtractions of service and competence that more and more people are becoming to know United Airlines for. If United Airlines needs to cut costs so badly that they need to keep the Indian Call Centers open then they have much bigger problems on their hands. You cannot have a quality product, with nickel and dime merchandise.

Quoting Nimish (Reply 20):
I don't think anyone is really debating that - but I did resent your statement on the other thread (and I now notice, on this thread as well) calling Indians Morons.

Please re-read what he wrote in the other thread. What he did say was the people in the call center in India were morons. At no point did he say that Indians were morons. He was referring solely to the Call Center employees being morons.

Quoting Nimish (Reply 20):
Very racist and completely unacceptable language for anyone on the forum.

What is this a court of law? Re-read what he wrote, and dont turn the words around as he never said what you have been implying..

Quoting Nimish (Reply 20):
Please do not fly UA if you don't like their outsourced call centers.

If United Airlines is a reflection of its Call Centers, the end would seem to be sooner than we thought!  wink 

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
Nimish
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:08 pm

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 24):
Please re-read what he wrote in the other thread. What he did say was the people in the call center in India were morons. At no point did he say that Indians were morons. He was referring solely to the Call Center employees being morons.
...
What is this a court of law? Re-read what he wrote, and dont turn the words around as he never said what you have been implying..



Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 9):
Perhaps "Mom" was talking to one of the absolutely frackin' USELESS outsourced morons in India that take care of UA's call center
...
A fee the likes of which UA still owes me - because of a useless moron(s) in India that 'say' I never bought the UM package - receipt and credit card charge notwithstanding

I've re-read it - I still find the statements offensive as the focus is on "morons in India" rather than "UA hires morons and expects magic". But I guess we're entitled to our opinions - and if you feel this was not intended as a racist comment - I'm glad to hear that, but would appreciate if the language could eventually be changed.
Incredible India!
 
Crewchief
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:22 am

I have a simple way of handling overseas call centers. If I ever call a customer service line and get connected to someone who I can't understand who is incapable of helping, I simply stop doing business with the company. I do have choices of airlines, technology companies, and other service providers.

If everyone followed suit, we'd have the market regulating the call centers. And we wouldn't have calls for regulation or legislation.

The threads above mentioned UA and US as the two airlines with the most frustrating call centers. Fine, stop flying on those airlines. If others do the same, the situation should resolve itself.
 
goaliemn
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:32 am

NW prides itself on having state-side call centers  Smile
 
pnqiad
Posts: 383
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:40 am

Quoting MasseyBrown (Thread starter):
Sorry but I need to whine a little. I called an airline for help with a billing problem and a new reservation and, after a l-o-n-g wait listening to elevator music, got a static-filled connection and a person with a high-pitched, heavily-accented voice. I politely asked for someone who speaks better English and was immediately disconnected.

Sounds like when I was on call with a UA rep. - except that she was a southern lady from the US with a massive southern drawl and I had to repeatedly keep asking for clarifications and after a half an hour call - the lady screwed up our confirmed stand-by for the day - processing only one out of two (in a party of two) while assuring us repeatedly that both had been done....

And this has been my only negative experience with UA call centers and the rep was....... american !!!!
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:50 am

Guys get over it.


We live in a global economy, and the production of goods and services will flow to the lowest cost producers.

As a consumer I am quite happy with this arrangement, and I doubt many of you would be willing to pay extra dollars for various goods and services just so that we can listen to a higher cost US based employee.

Sure there might be some service issues, but then again how many times have we experienced useless or terrible customer service here in the US? Undoubtedly on many occasions!
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
LawnDart
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:08 am

Quoting Crewchief (Reply 26):
If everyone followed suit, we'd have the market regulating the call centers.

Unfortunately, the market is regulating the call centers: the overseas centers are cheaper to operate on a direct-cost basis. People want cheap airfares, and they'll get what they pay for in most cases.

Another unfortunate thing is that airlines have a difficult time determining the intangible costs of setting up an overseas call center...the passengers that are so frustrated by "whatever" that they take their business elsewhere (and usually to another airline that utilizes overseas call centers.). A very small percentage of customers actually complain about something (and it is usually something much worse than a call-center experience).

Also, the majority of high-yield passengers are Frequent Flyer Milewhores that have accrued so many miles that they won't leave the carrier just because they have a bad experience with an overseas call center (or, they have a FF phone number that the rest of us don't get to use...).
 
flyvail
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:13 am

I work in Information Technology and have spent many hours dealing with overseas call centers. In fact, in order to better communicate with ESL (english as second language) helpdesks, I learned the military phonetic alphabet. Try reading a 16 character alpha-numeric serial number over a shoddy phone connection when you're trying to replace a failed server drive for frustration.

Companies are actually advertising "US Based Call Centers" now - I don't recall which company it was, but I believe it was a banking/credit card ad. I think consumer demand is dictating a move back to local call centers. If companies can advertise this as a benefit of doing business with them, and consumers support that with their dollars, we will see a reversal of the outsourcing trend.
 
FLYGUY767
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:17 am

Quoting Nimish (Reply 25):
I've re-read it - I still find the statements offensive as the focus is on "morons in India" rather than "UA hires morons and expects magic". But I guess we're entitled to our opinions - and if you feel this was not intended as a racist comment - I'm glad to hear that, but would appreciate if the language could eventually be changed

Okay, Okay, we have heard you say that over and over again...

Quoting PNQIAD (Reply 28):
Sounds like when I was on call with a UA rep. - except that she was a southern lady from the US with a massive southern drawl and I had to repeatedly keep asking for clarifications and after a half an hour call - the lady screwed up our confirmed stand-by for the day - processing only one out of two (in a party of two) while assuring us repeatedly that both had been done....

Ha Ha... Trying to draw attention away from the topic?

Seriously United Airlines needs to focus on its core product, and I stand behind what I posted earlier..

You cannot have a quality product, with nickel and dime merchandise

Quoting Goaliemn (Reply 27):
NW prides itself on having state-side call centers

Indeed NWA is a true American company..  thumbsup 

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
pnqiad
Posts: 383
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RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:55 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 32):
Ha Ha... Trying to draw attention away from the topic?

Not at all.... here's why....

1. Topic was about "Overseas phone centers and their quality"
2. It bashed such centers
3. My post refutes implicit assumption that service in US based call centers is better.

So I don't see myself drawing attention away from topic at all....
 
PiedmontINT
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Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:12 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:21 am

Quoting RobertS975 (Reply 17):
Medallion frequent flyers almost never got the overseas reservation centers.

Is there a list of phone numbers the caller id's read that know its a medaliion member or is it sunshine and farts that prevent elites from getting an overseas call center?

From my experience with dealing with many airlines that have call centers both overseas and domestically is that it is luck of the draw at times on whether you get overseas or not. I dont think being a frequent flier has any impact when you call the 800 number
 
RP TPA
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 9:40 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:28 am

Quoting PNQIAD (Reply 33):
1. Topic was about "Overseas phone centers and their quality"
2. It bashed such centers
3. My post refutes implicit assumption that service in US based call centers is better.

Are there times when a US-based call center agent is less than competant?? Yes, there are. Are there times when an Indian (or Phillipine) based agent is knowlegable? Yes, there are. In fairness, I should point out that one time I got an Indian call center agent for Dell computers, and she was very helpful, knowlegable, and quite understandable. I had no complaints with her whatsoever. However, this is certainly an exception to the rule. The overwhelming majority of the time, I feel like I get much better service from a US based agent, and robotic, "reading from the script", lack of service from outsourced call centers.
 
FLYGUY767
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 11:26 pm

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:35 am

Quoting PNQIAD (Reply 33):
1. Topic was about "Overseas phone centers and their quality"
2. It bashed such centers
3. My post refutes implicit assumption that service in US based call centers is better

1. It has been proven over and over in this topic and in countless others that the level of Call Center in India is sub-par to the level of Call Centers in the United States.

2. Such Call Centers are free game for bashing when it comes to the poor quality, lack of knowledge, and severe customer service faults that the Call Centers in India are causing the airlines.

3. You have pointed out one case, that can easily be refuted as questionable. You indeed did try to hijack the thread by creating a story about a Call Center with an Agent that had a Southern Accent. Accent or not, I can assure that reading thread after thread the piss poor Indian Call Centers, are detracting passengers and dollars from United Airlines, full flights or not!

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
ltbewr
Posts: 14907
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:38 am

When most people make a phone call to an airline's customer service they usually have a problem that cannot be resolved on line, they don't have high-speed online access or they have a complex issue that requires human intervention. In the past one could go to a 'city' ticket office or their travel agent to fix such problems face to face, but that is long gone. Airport sales/service countries are often too far or expensive for a customer to deal with. We can pressure airlines to carefully select, properly train and pay well for the market their people in any call centers including those outside their home countries.
 
XXXX10
Posts: 707
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2000 7:10 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:46 am

I think for many people our perception of a call centre depends on whether or not they can solve our problem.

I have dealt with many MORONS here in the UK including one dizzy tart who tried to convince me that Orange (one of our mobile networks) did not posses a fax machine.

As for keeping jobs local that's not really possible any more UA operate foreign built aircraft and AA use aircraft with British built engines.

Most passengers can travel without the need to speak to a call centre I personally do not want my hard earned air-miles subsidising the extra cost of a local call centre.
 
OHLHD
Posts: 2903
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:02 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:47 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 3):
Please see my various rants on the UA center in India

Is the USA call center in India? AFAIK the EU one is in Poland but is outsourced to another company, so no UA employees!

Call centers where non airløine employees work are by far the worst! I have tried my luck several times and it was a waste of time. I called Swiss and was on the line with someone tired in South Africa etc etc etc.

The only place where it always works is Brazil! friendly and competitive!
 
bond007
Posts: 4428
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:07 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:13 am

Quoting XXXX10 (Reply 38):
have dealt with many MORONS here in the UK including one dizzy tart who tried to convince me that Orange (one of our mobile networks) did not posses a fax machine.

Yes, we all know that, but please don't try and tell me that on AVERAGE, a local, company owned call-center, is not better than a third-party offshore one .... we'll hear anecdotes from both sides, but it's clear from my experience that the service I get is much worse, on average, when I get an offshore center.

Quoting XXXX10 (Reply 38):
As for keeping jobs local that's not really possible any more UA operate foreign built aircraft and AA use aircraft with British built engines.

Fine ...it's because they are competitive and of SIMILAR QUALITY (or better depending on the product and your opinion). A poor comparison IMO.

If the service we get from offshore center is of similar quality to those in the US (or at home), then we wouldn't be having this discussion!

Quoting XXXX10 (Reply 38):
Most passengers can travel without the need to speak to a call centre

Exactly ... this is part of the whole point!! When you DO need to speak to someone, it's usually because of something extraordinary and more complex ... the one time you DO need somebody that knows what they are talking about.


Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
ChicagoFlyer
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:00 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:14 am

My opinion of call centers in India (assume staffed by non-employees of a Western company):

Good or very good for tech support because the person on the other end line may be even more skilled than an equivalent CSR in the good old USA.
Bad for customer service for US customers because we want a fast resolution in our favor, and this proves more difficult

* The speed of the call is slower, partly because of language/accent barrier, partly because the CSR is more likely to be following the scripted response than a US agent who can take a "shortcut," and partly because the employee may be less experienced with various systems
* The employee has less of an override authority if the customer does not take no for an answer
* There is no "small talk"

ANCFlyer, I do not know how many times I have read your laments about being on hold with UA. I guess you are a lost cause by now. For all others, I recommend achieving an elite status with UA or another airline; once you are an elite member, you will be serviced by local agent at the elite call number. Is frustrating phone experience an incentive or what?

Also, if you speak Spanish, oprima el numero dos, and you probably will get a better service.
 
bond007
Posts: 4428
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:07 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:16 am

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 41):
once you are an elite member, you will be serviced by local agent at the elite call number.

Doesn't this tell us something !!!!!!!!!

Why do elite members get a local agent ??????

Perhaps because they know it's better service  Wink

Must be the only reason ........


Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
ANCFlyer
Posts: 21391
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:51 pm

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:44 am

Quoting Nimish (Reply 20):
calling Indians Morons

Make no mistake, it's not my Indian friends that I think are morons. Quite the contrary. It's the people at the call center that are morons. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell if they were from Venus . . .

It's not about nationality here . . .

I think the US call Center in the Philippines is staffed with MORONS as well. It's not about being FIlipino, it's about being an idiot and not knowing your ass from a hole in the ground. Remember the US CSR at that call center that tried to fly me to BHX rather than BHM . . . twice!

I don't care where they are located.

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 41):
ANCFlyer, I do not know how many times I have read your laments about being on hold with UA. I guess you are a lost cause by now. For all others, I recommend achieving an elite status with UA or another airline; once you are an elite member, you will be serviced by local agent at the elite call number. Is frustrating phone experience an incentive or what?

OK, I've done all that . . . even had "status" with UA at one point. I guess the US Chairman's Preferred status I had for years is irrelevent? Perhaps the Platinum status with America West also? Maybe the Gold status with CO as well? And the 2 million miles in the air doesn't matter either.  sarcastic 

Now that I'm semi-retired I don't fly enough.

Regardless, one should NOT have to obtain "status" with an airline so they no longer have to speak to morons that don't know their jobs. Period. End.

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 44):
Enough already... this knocking of ANCFlyer is childish..

Doesn't bother me a bit . . . . if you can't take it don't dish it . . . like water off an Otter's ass to me. No worries.

[Edited 2007-07-09 22:01:22]
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
FLYGUY767
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 11:26 pm

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:55 am

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 41):
My opinion of call centers in India (assume staffed by non-employees of a Western company):

Good or very good for tech support because the person on the other end line may be even more skilled than an equivalent CSR in the good old USA

We know you love United Airlines .. Can we for once get a non fluff piece?

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 41):
* The speed of the call is slower, partly because of language/accent barrier, partly because the CSR is more likely to be following the scripted response than a US agent who can take a "shortcut," and partly because the employee may be less experienced with various systems
* The employee has less of an override authority if the customer does not take no for an answer
* There is no "small talk"

To start, it would seem as if you have never worked in a Call Center or have very, very little knowledge of the concept. The Call Centers are a selling point for an airline. They do not exist just to be a credit card processing, order taking house. By your accounts everything in the US is horrible, and everything that is foreign is so much better.

In regards to the language and accent problem. That in and of itself is reason for United Airlines to bring the Call Centers back on shore. If an American cannot get what they are asking for while calling United Airlines, or they are given he wrong information by a United Airlines Indian CSR, they are likely to go elsewhere and spend their money. In that same notion the Indian era of United Airlines Call Centers can harm as much as it can do good. You cannot blame a lack of training. In a Call Center workplace, you have on the job training in any field. You learn more and more each day, and you take what you learn each day and apply it to the next. If you dont know the answer you have to have the common sense to motivate yourself to understand what you dont learn, or wht you dont understand about the product.

I feel that the Indian CSR's for United Airlines just dont care. So they can play the I dont understand you, or they can give misinformation as there is little or no accountability when the Call Center is so far offshore, it cannot be controlled..

In regards to less of an override policy it would make sense. It doesn't take brain science to figure out the only use for the Indian Call Centers is for nothing more than order processing. Sad but true I feel that is the attitude of United Airlines from Elk Grove to Delhi. United Airlines leaves the skilled information and the more important matters on-shore. They contract out the work off-shore to do with the United Airlines "Order-Processing", if you will. It is more than evident that the people at the Call Centers in India cannot even comprehend the product they are selling, or what product they are selling.

In regards to small talk. See above! I have called United Airlines and demanded to speak to an English speaking CSR. Of course Delhi cant transfer, so I call back and call on the Mileage Plus line. Then I get someone who not only knows there product, can talk about United Airlines, but has humor and can relate to me as American humor can make any day go by sooner. I like it when I cant get a human being on the phone that can relate to me and my culture. I dislike calling some 8000 miles away to a person that prides themselves in being nothing but a robotic, order-taker, with a fake English name.

The kind of attitude that United Airlines is taking with the Indian Call Centers is the same attitude that got United Airlines screwed up in the first place. Instead of United Airlines management taking care of the problems on hand with Customer Service, Fleet Renewal, Employee Relations, and other things they are sitting back and playing the game of how much can we get for the airline. United Airlines is now being run, and hes been run since the exit from bankruptcy with the attitude of:

**They (us the customers), need United Airlines more than United Airlines needs them (us the customers)**

Sadly that same attitude ended United Airlines in bankruptcy not all to long ago!

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 41):
ANCFlyer, I do not know how many times I have read your laments about being on hold with UA. I guess you are a lost cause by now. For all others, I recommend achieving an elite status with UA or another airline; once you are an elite member, you will be serviced by local agent at the elite call number.

Enough already... this knocking of ANCFlyer is childish..

ANCFlyer speaks not only for himself but scores of us on this forum and thousands of us in the United States that are fed up with all of the useless hours we spend talking to United Airlines Indian Call Center CSR's that cant comprehend ExPlus from Premium Service from a 744.

Happy Flying!

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
zamaria
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2005 11:41 pm

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:46 am

I believe that customer service in call center environments is only as good as the training the agent receives and the monitoring that is done by the management in charge once the agent is in-service. If the agents are not knowledgable about the products, it is not only the fault of the individual agent, but equally or more it is the fault of the training they receive and the follow-up that is done by the management.

-Z
 
EXAAUADL
Posts: 1740
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:48 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:56 am

My fav is when they call you in heavily accented Indian English and introduce themselves as "Bob from Des Moines" I just hang up on them.....
 
FLYGUY767
Posts: 1441
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 11:26 pm

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:59 am

Quoting EXAAUADL (Reply 46):
My fav is when they call you in heavily accented Indian English and introduce themselves as "Bob from Des Moines" I just hang up on them.....

Got to love the excuse of them having English names to make it easier for us!  rotfl   rotfl 

-JD
Summer Trip 2007: DEN HAAG>DUBAI>LONDON>VERONA>COSTA SMERALDA>CAPRI
 
bond007
Posts: 4428
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:07 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:13 am

Quoting Zamaria (Reply 45):
it is not only the fault of the individual agent

Actually it's never the fault of the individual agent.

If the agent is not well trained, not knowledgeable, has bad English skills, has bad communication skills, and is still doing the job, then it is purely the fault of the management chain ... with final responsibility being with the airline itself.

None of these 'morons' came out of 12 weeks training, knowing everything about the system, and having perfect language and communication skills ..... AND then decided to be incompent and bad employees. They never had those skills to be begin with, and therefore should not be doing the job - not their problem at all.

The bottom-of-the-chain employee is rarely the problem. It's the chain above him/her that put them (and keep them) there.


Jimbo

[Edited 2007-07-09 23:13:56]
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
ChicagoFlyer
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:00 am

RE: Overseas Phone Centers

Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:15 am

Quoting FLYGUY767 (Reply 44):

Wow what a diatribe.

Condensed version: "I definitely do not like what you are saying even though I do not understand it and then repeat your points."

Is this the right forum for what follows? Probably not but what the heck!

When I write my posts, I usually follow several themes:

* There is much more speculation than fact, so I am trying to provide facts when I know them
* Analysis is sparse, so when I know why and how certain things happen, I share this knowledge. When I do not, I try to logically think about how things do work
* I have insider connections at UA, so I know more about that airline than others, and weigh in on UA topics
* Empty bitching is useless, so I do not complain, and sometimes call out those who do
* I use irony and try to make it easy to detect

That said, I am just confused... where did I ever say that "bad customer service = greatest thing ever, and USA sucks!!" ??? I do not like bad service as much as anyone else, and I had my share of frustrating phone experiences.

My post was about what it is that makes the overseas call center a bad customer service experience for US customers, not relating to a specific company or industry. As someone who is empathetic to people in front line functions, employees or not, I certainly do NOT like the answer "because the person on the other end is a moron" and try to provide an alternative explanation. So I make these general points, and FLYGUY767 seems to kindly provide real-life examples to complement them. Thanks for this, I guess.

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