This post has been a long time comin’……
Honestly, I feel as though I am one of the nicest people when it comes to telemarketers and other types of folk who make a living talking to people from one end of the telephone. At least in comparison to some of the other people that I know. No screams of “fuck you!” and “leave me the fuck alone” from these here lips, no abrupt dial tone in their ear. Oh no, I will actually listen to your WHOLE spiel. [Maybe cause I have also worked in call centers like the annual fund on campus and others.] In my mind’s eye, I could pratically see the supervisor hovering over the poor drone on their headset and I feel bad about not at least listening to what they have to say. As a result, I tend to end up stuck on the phone with them going, “no I will not like to hear about your identity theft protection plan,” but actually I end up hearing all about it anyway. sigh.
The exception would be dell computers and my complete meltdown with them on the phone, in late January of this year. I felt bad too because I’ve watched that documentary, I know that a whole generation of young Indians populate these call centers where dell has outsourced their business. But according to dell’s automated system, before you are connected to Delhi [or where ever] for an extra FEE you can talk to a technician right here in the United States, which already supposes that the US based technician will know MORE or at least, is worth the extra expenditure if for nothing else, than being saved from having to decipher someone with a bad accent as a result of them trying to clip their OWN natural accent, to deal with callers from across North America. And I have a non-American accent myself and consider myself very comfortable around accents but I was still irked by the agents that I had deal with. I think things would have flowed smoother if (among other things) a) I didn’t end up so annoyed with their non-help and b) service reps were able to converse in their natural element and c) for that amount of money, you could at least talk to someone who knew the ins and outs of a pc better. Our exchanges were so clipped, so stilted and scripted from their end–that really didn’t help the progression of the situation at all. Between the script reading and the not so sucessful imitative American accents which took me down a road to nowhere.
First off, dell made me pay 50 US upfront before I even spoke to anyone. I was calling because my dell pc had begun to give me an “IP address conflict” error while simultaneously not allowing me to access internet explorer. I went online and looked it up and even though it’s a common enough problem to generate thousands of hits/links/advice/web boards devoted to the issue: the dell agent that I finally spoke to had NO CLUE what I was talking about, that is to say, no clue how to rectify the problem right away. sigh. I felt like my inability to decipher computer-and-technology based fix-it tips/jargon painfully frustrating in light of the hordes of “this is what you can do to fix it” information that I found. This has to be relatively easy to fix! I however was totally inept at actually employing any of them. Again sighs.
Based on my experience and what I’ve gleaned and viewed, it’s obvious that most of these outscourced call center drones are not actual computer technicians. Rather they’re the equivalent of me in a head-set, with a script of commonly reported computer errors on my screen and probably a query key, where I could hastily type in and look up stuff. I was subsequently late for work that day and ended up wasting over an hour’s time for said “technician” to eventually after a long rigmarole, talk me up to a system’s restore. I was slowly inching toward Angry Trini mode. I’m technologically clueless and even I know how to do a blasted system’s restore. Plus I’d already tried one. It did not work. Calling dell was a last, desperate resort. When I informed the techie of that fact, while being unsuccessful in hiding my exasperation, then he really faltered. Visibly. Or as visibly as you can through the phone. The confidence in his voice in the system’s restore was gone. We were both up shit’s creek without a paddle but I had paid for this. Can’t you google it and then go in and do it? I already knew there were remedies all over the net but I am unsure how to actually do those things. Sheesh.
Anyway to make an already long story short…after all the yapping around, techie admits that he doesn’t know what to do to help me fix my IP error. After the system restore suggestion, no other ideas were forthcoming except alluding to maybe my internet provider’s service being down as the cause. Even though I had already told him more than once, that the internet was clearly running, the connected icon was there and I also called my leasing office and my provider to be doubly sure earlier. But it seemed as though my pc wasn’t being recognized and I would get booted off the internet, if I got on at all. Since dell makes my pc–shouldn’t they be able to fix THAT? A computer generated problem? But it’s a recession and I still paid 50 bucks for a fix. Or least some semblance of something.
Next day, I call dell bright and early, after talking with a REAL tech at my internet provider who reset my IP addy for free. (Who knew they did that?) He talked me through things and tried multiple routes before he did that. He also laughed at the notion that I had actually called dell for help prior. So when I linked up with dell, after the obligatory pleasantries, as SOON as I stated that I had a complaint and wanted a refund—all kinds of things happened: because my pc was no longer under warranty, I had to be put on to some fictitious department that dealt with “refunds outside of the warranty” [or something to that effect] which clearly didn’t exist because it couldn’t be found! I was lost in the bowels of dell automated phone hell over and over, transferred here and there, from automation to people and back, more times than I could keep track of. EVERYone’s voice and spiel changing [male and female] the moment when I stated my reason for calling. By now I was clearly slipping into Angry Trini mode. Like they never hear from an irate Trini yet?
I was subsequently informed of other phantom departments who could surely deal with my complaint but it was NEVER the person or department that I was currently talking to. Ever. And they could NEVER help, only THAT department. The one that couldn’t be found. Each time having to explicate what happened: in a nutshell, I paid 50 bucks for your “technician” to not do shit. The last tech drone I spoke to said that they couldn’t and wouldn’t give a refund as dell doesn’t do them, at which point after everything I’d been dealing with, made me flip. I told him in not too subtle terms about my thoughts on their shitty service and terms of service, the ineptitude of the bloody 50 dollar techies [which is good for one call of NOTHING], the fact that we are in a recession and I do not have a money tree growing in my back-yard, the fact that my internet provider fixed it while informing me: yeah, it’s a relatively commonly heard of problem and told me to NEVER call dell to fix my pc, the fact that I will be listening to him, the fact that if I can afford to, I’ll be upgrading to a mac one fine day. Among other things. I’m still nice to telemarketers and others who work from call centers. Just not ones at dell who piss me off.