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"Company Helplines" with Thickly Accented Staff

 
 
Reply Mon 4 Dec, 2023 11:09 am
I do a lot of purchasing on the internet. Over the years, I find that when you want to access a company's helpline, the staff most often have thick accents.

IMO, people who are dealing with the public by phone, should speak clear English, I find that many of them don't. I just spent a frustrating hour with three people, a task that should have taken 15 minutes, tops. Fortunately , the last guy with whom I spoke had an accent, but was quite intelligible.

I am all for people having and keeping jobs. What I resent is that when I either have a problem, or need information, I can usually barely understand the guy at the other end. My hearing is not 100%, but I usually have no problem with English speakers, and those with slight accents.

It seems to me that companies should have rules about English clarity before hiring people who have to deal with the public on the phone, especially "troubleshooters".

What do you think?



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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 320 • Replies: 16
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RPhalange
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Dec, 2023 02:07 pm
@Phoenix32890,
This is why I prefer to use the chat function rather than call a person.

I do agree though that a person being hired for a job should meet the needs and expectations of a job function. If one of those requirements is communication then it is important that they are able to communicate clearly to their customers/clients.

A chat box does help, however, if the person does not have a good grasp of the English language itself, it could still be a problem.
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  0  
Reply Mon 4 Dec, 2023 02:29 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Quote:
What do you think?

I think you're right.

It's really awkward.

The first requirement for someone giving vocal assistance should be the ability to communicate clearly in the language of the customer.


0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Dec, 2023 03:27 pm
@Phoenix32890,
You have to work around them. I usually tell the thick accent person that I can relate to them having an accent myself, however I need to speak to a supervisor as my particular "problem" can't be solved by them. Then they transfer to an English speaking person...
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Dec, 2023 03:46 pm
Agreed, and also the softly-spoken ones or the ones who are ripping through a book to get to your problem. Thanks, but... please pass me on to someone else.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Dec, 2023 05:04 pm
My workaround for this is to tell CSRs that I'm deaf.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  -2  
Reply Tue 5 Dec, 2023 05:21 am
@Phoenix32890,
Everybody has an accent.

You have an accent.

To be honest I'd rather speak to someone with an Indian accent than an American accent.

They at least can fix the problem.
RPhalange
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Dec, 2023 09:14 am
@izzythepush,
Quote:
To be honest I'd rather speak to someone with an Indian accent than an American accent.

They at least can fix the problem.


You must not work with the Indian help desk I have. They usually read from a script. I got this information from an American or Canadian IT person (as that is our higher ups in the IT world where I work) when the Indian help desk could only write a ticket. What they do is read from a script then just write a "ticket". That gets escalated to someone that actually can fix the problem. This is usually after the Indian helpdesk goes through their list of problem solving on their script.

When I had to get my issue escalated the IT person that solved my issue was the one that told me that the Indian helpdesk just reads from a script that they have no in depth knowledge of the systems.

That being said your experience of course may be different. It depends on your particular organization. Also I think the poster was referencing an accent that is different than the customer and here in the US there is a much larger chance you get an Indian accent rather than a US accent. If you work in customer service you should be able to communicate in a way that is helpful to your customer. If your customer base is in the US then you should be able to communicate in a way that is helpful and understandable to your customer. I don't mind the accent as long as it is not too strong, soft or fast; as long as I can understand the person. Overall it is easier to use the chat function so there is not issue with any of those things.
izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Tue 5 Dec, 2023 09:55 am
@RPhalange,
Most technical help I have had is from Sky and the Indian technicians are very good.

The only problem I have had with them is changing contracts and having to hear so much stuff which isn't their fault.

This Summer I booked a holiday online, unfortunately the website only allowed me to book either 2 double or 2 twin rooms, not one 9f each.

I had to phone up and they were useless, eventually I got put through to the supervisor,(An American) who claimed to be able to so things out.

He asked if I was from " the kingdom" which I've never heard before and claimed to have problems working out the time difference.

All the phone call achieved was a survey asking how he'd done. I never got the phone call back and he didn't do anything at all.

I ended up having to contact the hotel myself to sort things out.

Americans have problems with non American accents in general. When I was over there I had to talk well posh and enunciate everything to the max.

No such problems in Denmark and the Netherlands where English is their second language.
izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Tue 5 Dec, 2023 10:34 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

Americans have problems with non American accents in general. When I was over there I had to talk well posh and enunciate everything to the max.

No such problems in Denmark and the Netherlands where English is their second language.


This is not meant as an insult but an observation.

When I was in America I noticed that most of the television programmes were American.

That is not the case over here we get a lot of American programmingand some Australian. We're used to foreign accents.

British programmes are routinely remade for American audiences, same plot, almost the same dialogue but set in America with American actors.

Life on Mars , Steptoe and Son and Man About The House have all been remade with American actors.

It doesn't happen over here, the closest we got was Brighton Belles, a take off of The Golden Girls, but it was original and not a rewrite because The Golden Girls is known over here.

It flopped, as did Danny Baker's miserable attempt to copy David Letterman's format.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Tue 5 Dec, 2023 01:52 pm
@izzythepush,
Yeah, and The Office... the game show with Howie Mandel and the gorgeous ladies with little red suitcases (I think it was Deal or No Deal) was first done in the UK. I saw it in 2005 before the Howie Mandel one. The best thing for me was the UK show had regular people from the audience holding cardboard boxes. When I saw the glitzed-up one in the US, I couldn't even watch it. I like how real and down-to-earth the UK shows are. We Canadians are a lot like that. Corner Gas, Little Mosque on the Prairie, Wind at My Back, etc... we are so not glitzy up here.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Dec, 2023 07:34 am
@Phoenix32890,
I've never had problems with accents from legitimate service personnel with real companies. I can understand anyone who is trying to help me.

It's the fake scammy posers with accents. In fact: if they tell me they're Brad Smith in NY, working for MS, PayPal, Amazon, etc - the more incomprehensible the accent, the more likely it's a scammer.
RPhalange
 
  2  
Reply Mon 11 Dec, 2023 10:38 am
@bobsal u1553115,
Some of the "foreign" meaning say non-US customer service will take a "US" name so it is not always a scammer. They do this to make it easier on us at least that is my take.

I even had this at college. Many of my foreign college classmates had their given name, but then would say call me Sam. I think they did it to make it easier for our simple minds that have difficulty with the correct pronunciations so we don't keep messing up the correct way of saying their names.
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Dec, 2023 11:43 am
@RPhalange,
First names, yes. Last names, not so much.
0 Replies
 
glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Dec, 2023 10:42 pm
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane wrote:

You have to work around them. I usually tell the thick accent person that I can relate to them having an accent myself, however I need to speak to a supervisor as my particular "problem" can't be solved by them. Then they transfer to an English speaking person...



That's brilliant, I'll have to use that.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2023 06:58 am
I had a somewhat different problem yesterday. One of the things that I learned early on was that if you don't know for sure that a phone call is legitimate you should never say "yes", Supposedly these thieves take your word and perform all sorts of computer mischief with it. With AI this has become more serious.

Anyhow, I got a call, apparently from my health care provider. They were doing a "survey" about health issues. Every question (and there were many) required a yes or no answer.

I kept saying "no". I eventually yelled "representative", which I do with many other similar calls. Do you know what it said?

"I AM A COMPUTER". I hung up.
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2023 09:36 am
@Phoenix32890,
Quote:
"I AM A COMPUTER"...


Artificial self awareness. What will they think of next?
0 Replies
 
 

 
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