Washington, Dec 13: Rising demands for a familiar voice and increasing problems with accents and pronounciations, have forced information technology (IT) companies in the US to go back to American voices for tech support services.
American computer maker Dell, in its effort to lure customers in the US, has initiated a program in which it will guarantee-for a price- that the person who picks up the phone on a support call will be, as company ads mention in bold text, 'based in North America.' Named 'the Tech Team Service', with agents in the United States, it costs 12.95 dollars a month for customers with a Dell account, or 99 dollars a year for people who buy a new computer.
The program also promises that waiting time will be an average of two minutes or less. Without the upgrade, a customer is likely to get technical help from someone in India, The Philippines or the other places where Dell has operators.
The strategy of the company is to ease the strains of globalization while maintaining profit.
"We've heard from customers that it's hard to understand a particular accent and that they couldn't understand the instructions they were getting," said Dell spokesman Bob Kaufman, adding "This illustrates Dell's commitment to customer choice." Washington Post report said," The agent just doesn't understand what I'm trying to do, the customer explains his or her request three or four times, and then they get a rote answer back."
This is common complaint registered with different companies.
Industry experts say companies can save upto 50 to 75 percent on their call centers by putting them overseas. But getting a customer service agent with whom it is easy to communicate is also very important, on a long term basis. lthough airlines, banks and some retailers have overseas call centers, computer makers have particularly been setting up call centers in foreign countries.
However, the customer satisfaction score for overseas PC call centers was 23 percent lower than for US call centers, an online survey suggests.
Some have suggested that the friction between US consumers and foreign operators arise from prejudice.
Getting behind the picture of the whole issue, Sharmila Rudrappa, a professor of sociology at University of Texas in Austin, said "If you need tech support, it already shows you're having a crazy time getting your computer to work. And, when things go haywire, you want assurance, you want familiarity, you want someone to hold your hand and say its okay. What you don't want is to have to work at understanding the person on the other end of the line." "At the end of the day, data and experience say that Americans are better at providing customer service to Americans -- that's all," some experts opined. "That part of the business - the Your Tech Team - has grown, and we think that customers will continue to value it," said Bob Kaufman, spokesperson of Dell.