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  #1  
Old 05-30-2005, 09:41 PM
MedMech
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India Call Center stress.

Haha


Indian call staff quit over abuse on the line

Firms provide counselling to help staff insulted by British customers

Amelia Gentleman, New Delhi
Sunday May 29, 2005
The Observer

Abuse from British and American customers is driving increasing numbers of Indian call centre workers from their jobs, defeated by the strain of handling persistent rudeness.

Irate customers was cited as one of the main industry stress factors in a recent survey of call centre staff and some organisations have begun employing psychiatrists and counsellors to help employees to cope.

'I've had people tell me, "Back off, Paki, and don't call me again", said Eugene, 27, whose former employer, Spectrumind, provided an accounts services for BT. 'There was a lot of racist abuse once people detected from our accents that we weren't English. I saw girls reduced to tears by it.'

Pooja Chopra, 29, from Delhi, who spent two years fielding calls for BT Cellnet and America Online, faced similar abuse. 'People would say, "You're a Paki, I don't want to talk to you, pass me to someone who can speak my language".

Workers face a spectrum of rudeness - from sexual harassment to fury at unsolicited sales calls, to open racism. Industry analysts have seen the phenomenon of racist clients grow in recent years, as customers in the UK and the US become increasingly sensitive to the political issue of jobs outsourced to India.

Shyamanuja Das, editor of Global Outsourcing magazine, which published a study on the stress factors triggering call centre resignations, said that hostility from clients was one of the factors which caused workers to quit - 25 per cent of those questioned said client vitriol was a major cause of stress.

'The anger in the West over job losses and fear about offshoring has made this a growing problem. Some people call up with deliberately difficult questions. Most just say things like: "You're from India. You don't know anything. I don't want to speak to you", he said.

Vijay Mukhi, a call centre analyst, said websites have sprung up in the US giving phone numbers of companies which use call centres in India, and listing Hindi swear words to be used to abuse staff. 'When you move jobs away from a country, there's going to be a lot of pent-up frustration which gets let out on Indian workers,' he said.

As staff turnover is a major problem, with some companies battling an annual departure rate of 60-70 per cent, organisations are taking radical steps to help staff to deal with abuse. In recent months some firms have decided to provide psychological support to their workers. Sanjay Salooja's Delhi-based firm, Empower, has 20 trained counsellors who tour the city's largest call centres, providing support to harassed employees.

'Most employees are very young and don't have the skills to allow them to cope with this kind of abuse,' he said. Workers are already feeling the stress of having to work through the night and are under extreme pressure to meet productivity targets. 'They are vulnerable anyway, and an abusive call really knocks confidence. They don't want to take another call for an hour or two, and their performance is impacted.'

The idea of consulting therapists remains taboo in much of Indian society, but the stigma is waning. 'Our research shows that about 50 per cent of workers would like the chance to receive counselling,' Deepal Raheja, one of the programme's psychiatrists, said.

The therapists try to help staff realise that the abuse is not personal and to put things in perspective, he said. 'Somebody I counselled was very upset after a British customer had asked for an address near Trafalgar Square and he had to admit he didn't know where Trafalgar Square was. His customer became very abusive, and the incident really dented his self-esteem,' he said.

Some companies still specify staff must anglicise their names, adopting forenames such as Mary and John, to try to stave off resentment.

There are no unions yet to represent the 350,000 workers in the Indian call centre business, but unionist Gautam Mody, who is trying to launch the first call centre workers' collective, said this was a problem that needed to be addressed urgently abroad. 'Some workers are deeply hurt by this abuse. The issue of xenophobia cannot be resolved from this end; there must be a battle against it in the countries responsible.'

More organisations have started to let staff hang up on persistently rude customers (formerly a sackable offence), after warning them three times to mind their language. Trainers try to help new staff understand the different cultural forms of rudeness they are likely to encounter.

'British customers can be very rude but in a polite way,' Anita Bhuttar, training vice-president of GTL, a Mumbai-based company, said. 'Usually they won't use abusive language but you can tell from the tone of their voice they're angry.'

'I found it difficult to work for British clients,' Pooja Chopra said. 'They wouldn't call you names, but you could hear the hostility in their voices. The US customers were generally much more easy-going.'

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  #2  
Old 05-30-2005, 09:48 PM
MedMech
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COMMERCIAL DIALOGUE

[MAN speed-dials phone and is immediately connected.]

DELL: Dell Service and Support, can I help you?

MAN: You're there.

DELL: Yessir, we're here 24/7.

MAN: 24/7/365?

DELL: 365.

MAN: What about leap year?

DELL: 366.

MAN: What about Arbor Day?

DELL: Yessir, we're here on Arbor Day.

MAN: Hannukah?

DELL: We're here.

MAN: Cinco de Mayo?

DELL: Aqui.

MAN: What?

DELL: Here ... it's uh, it's Spanish. It was a joke. We're here.

MAN: Plague?

DELL: Here.

MAN: Pestilence?

DELL: Here.

MAN: Locusts?

DELL: Uh ... locusts?

MAN: Yeah, like a horde of locusts coming down your street.

DELL: Yessir, someone will be here for you.

MAN: Good night.

DELL: Good night, sir.

MAN: I'll call you in an hour.
__________________________________________________________________ ACTUAL DIALOGUE

[I have to navigate 18 keypresses of phone menus before I can find someone to help me. Finally I am connected with an Indian fellow.]

DELL: Thank you for calling Dell. My name is Hardik, may I have your service code?

ME: You're there.

DELL: Yes, my name is Hardik, may I have your service code?

ME: You're there.

DELL: I'm there, my name is Hardik, you've reached Dell technical support. OK, thank you, goodbye?

ME: Hello, Hardik?

DELL: Yes? I am needing your first and last name?

ME: 24/7?

DELL: Yeah.

ME: 24/7/365?

DELL: Hmm? Yes, yeah.

ME: What about leap year?

DELL: Yeah, yeah, we do work on leap year too. May I have your first and last name?

ME: What about Arbor Day?

DELL: Yeah, that day too. May I have your name?

ME: Hannukah?

DELL: Yeah. What is your name, sir?

ME: Cinco de Mayo?

DELL: [Thinking this is my name] Sorry? Can you spell it?

ME: C-I-N-C-O.

DELL: Uh, stinko? OK, fine, also I need your service code number, it's found on a white tag on the back of the computer, 5 to 7 digits long.

ME: Plague?

DELL: The numbers are printed on a white tag on the back of your PC.

ME: Pestilence?

DELL: Sorry?

ME: Locusts?

DELL: Uh huh.

ME: Like a horde of locusts coming down your street?

DELL: OK, actually you've reached Dell technical support, may I know your problem?

ME: Um, there's no problem.

DELL: Nothing at all?

ME: No.

DELL: OK, so may I know the reason that you're calling to me?

ME: I just wanted to make sure you were here.

DELL: Oh, don't worry. We're here.

ME: And "here" is where?

DELL: Sorry?

ME: Where are you located, Hardik?

DELL: India. A city called Mumbai.

ME: That's a pretty loose definition of "Here," but I guess we're on the same planet, Hardik.

DELL: OK.

ME: I'll call you in an hour.
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2005, 09:49 PM
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They will unionize and file a grievances and demand pay raises and benefits. Over time, they will price themselves out of competitive advantage. The unseen hand of free markets. Ahhhh.

Bot
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  #4  
Old 05-30-2005, 10:29 PM
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I got no sympathy for Indians in outsourced jobs.................

THere are plenty of americans who used to have those jobs dealing with the same people....those same Americans now have to fight for Walmart jobs.....since there are not enough McDonalds jobs availible due to Mexicans and Salvadorans doing all of them....you have to speak spanish just to place an order in some McDonalds these days..or Wendy's...and I have actually seen an order taker who spoke so little english they could not take an order from the fellow in line in front of me one day.
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2005, 10:30 PM
boneheaddoctor's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst
They will unionize and file a grievances and demand pay raises and benefits. Over time, they will price themselves out of competitive advantage. The unseen hand of free markets. Ahhhh.

Bot
Yes nothing like actually expecting to have Medical coverage and a living wage from your employer................damn greedy workers.
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"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  #6  
Old 05-30-2005, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
Yes nothing like actually expecting to have Medical coverage and a living wage from your employer................damn greedy workers.
Liberal Democrats are all alike.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2005, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst
Liberal Democrats are all alike.
Hey they can afford to give fat cats multi-million dollar paychecks and bonuses along with paid medical care , company cars etc...for people who can well afford their own, then they can do the same for the people who do the actual work for the company.
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"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2005, 10:54 PM
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Man, why do you persist in the self-delusion that you're a Repo-man? You're farther left than the Satanic Mr & Mrs Clinton. You hate and fear company hierarchy as much as any good party socialist. Embrace the darkside, Luke.
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  #9  
Old 05-31-2005, 04:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
I got no sympathy for Indians in outsourced jobs.................

THere are plenty of americans who used to have those jobs dealing with the same people....those same Americans now have to fight for Walmart jobs.....since there are not enough McDonalds jobs availible due to Mexicans and Salvadorans doing all of them....you have to speak spanish just to place an order in some McDonalds these days..or Wendy's...and I have actually seen an order taker who spoke so little english they could not take an order from the fellow in line in front of me one day.
BS.. the reason there are so many foreigners working the bottom of the barrel jobs at McDonalds' and the likes is because Americans won't work there unless you're some 16 year old pimple-faced sophomore in high school. Those foreigners have no problem working the ****ty jobs and are happy just to get paid anything. I don't have any hate towards them at all.. better them than me when it comes to working **** jobs.
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  #10  
Old 05-31-2005, 04:05 AM
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Regarding the original article.. I wonder how many people at the American Express cust. support based in India cried because of my dad. Sometimes they had a problem understanding the simplest requests.
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  #11  
Old 05-31-2005, 04:25 AM
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I've worked in jobs with rude customers. The trick is to be rude to the customers before they have a chance to be rude with you.


Needless to say, I don't work there anymore.
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  #12  
Old 05-31-2005, 07:53 AM
MedMech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst
Man, why do you persist in the self-delusion that you're a Repo-man? You're farther left than the Satanic Mr & Mrs Clinton. You hate and fear company hierarchy as much as any good party socialist. Embrace the darkside, Luke.
God ain't that the truth, I see a black flag hanging from his balcony.
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  #13  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
I got no sympathy for Indians in outsourced jobs.................
It's not their fault that the company they work for decided to move the call center to their country and hire them.....

....Although, if you get that upset by what someone is saying to you over the phone, maybe your fragile socialization skills would be better suited as a shepherd.
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  #14  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst
Man, why do you persist in the self-delusion that you're a Repo-man? You're farther left than the Satanic Mr & Mrs Clinton. You hate and fear company hierarchy as much as any good party socialist. Embrace the darkside, Luke.
Companies should extend the same benifits on its workers they lavish on the do-nothinggs at the top....

becasue if the people benifiting from the work of its people won't pay it then the Tax payer has to...and we all lknow htats the ultimate goal of the liberals. Nationalised healthcare.
__________________
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1971 280SE W108
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1983 300D W123
1975 Ironhead Sportster chopper
1987 GMC 3/4 ton 4X4 Diesel
1989 Honda Civic (Heavily modified)
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"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  #15  
Old 05-31-2005, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
Companies should extend the same benifits on its workers they lavish on the do-nothinggs at the top....

becasue if the people benifiting from the work of its people won't pay it then the Tax payer has to...and we all lknow htats the ultimate goal of the liberals. Nationalised healthcare.

You're there, you just don't know where 'there' is. You're a socialist.

H2O2, tell him what he's missing behind door number two.

There's nothing immoral, unnatural, illegal, or undemocratic about being a socialist. It's just another view of the relationship between gov and people. You're already there, just loose the propagandistic stigmatization that you've acquired concerning socialism and you'll be with an interesting group of people who agree with you well more than 50% of the time. You'll agree with them more than you agree with conservatives, that's for sure. Here's a bonus: They don't like Clinton, either.

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