I don’t mean any harm but I’d like to speak to an English-speaking customer service representative.
What I hear on the opposite end of the phone line when I am speaking to many customer service representatives can’t possibly be English!
Lately more often than not when I call companies and seek help from a customer service representative I get someone on the line whose English is either barely legible or so broken and minimal that I end up so frustrated that I hang up. I then call back with the hope that I will get someone on the line that I can understand, only to get another customer service representative who speaks in the same fashion.
Recently I called my cell phone provider seeking assistance with a problem I was having paying my bill at a local payment station. The customer service representative that I was connected to introduced himself as Habanabar (at least that is what I heard) He then went on to say “Howb may I help you today” After I gave the details of the problem that I was having Habanabar asked me to hold while he looked up my account. Once Habanabar returned to the line he asked me something that sounded like if I had a rip cord. His question stumped me so I repeated his question about the rip cord and he said yes. I told Habanabar that I did not have a rip cord, but I did have a problem paying my bill and that if I didn’t have it paid today my service would be cut off. Habanabar then apologized and asked me would I like him to purchase the pavement. Pavement? How does pavement play a part in this conversation?
After attempting to make sense of Habanabar’s question to no avail, I asked him if the problem I was having at the payment station would also prohibit me from making a payment online. Habanabar informed me that he would be happy to purchase the pavement for me on a loan and that he could even wave and pee.
This conversation lasted almost five minutes and after five minutes of speaking with Habanabar about rip cords and pee I still did not have a solution to my problem.
That experience along with many others like it has made me dread calling companies for customer service. It is very rare that you will get a customer service representative on the line that speaks good English. It almost makes me wonder if they have any English speakers employed as customer service representatives anymore.
I am in no way saying that companies should only hire Americans as customer service reps, but I am saying that how can these companies truly say that you are providing excellent customer service if their customers cannot understand what their representatives are saying? How can they help me, if I can’t even understand them? It is very frustrating to try to have your problem solved by someone who seems to be speaking a completely different language than you are speaking. Not only is it frustrating but it is also annoying to have to explain to the representative over and over again what your dilemma is only to have them say something that sounds foreign to the problem you just relayed to them.
If companies want satisfied customers they should take into consideration that customers are not satisfied when they cannot have their problems solved by the companies that they are paying out their hard-earned money to. Maybe they should consider including in their hiring process a mock customer service conversation so that they could get a better feel for the potential employee’s English barriers before they extend an offer of employment. Because surely there must be a loop-hole somewhere in the hiring process that is allowing this many non-American English speakers to be hired to work with the public. Somewhere during the hiring process these employees either aren’t being interviewed verbally or someone just isn’t giving a damn whether they can be understood. Either way there is a huge problem and due to this huge problem I will stick to paying my bills online and trying my best to avoid calling customer service unless there is a dire situation in which I must call them up.
I wonder if you can request to speak with an English-speaking representative. I assume not since what they are speaking is supposedly English. It would seem rude to ask to speak with a customer service representative that speaks good, or at least decent American English, but it’s a tempting thought being that nine times out of ten the rep you will be connected to will speak a language that you are not familiar with.
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