What happens when corporate greed becomes more important than customer service? You get a total lack of common sense and employees saying “I vas only following orders.” Holy Nuremberg, Batman! We made reservations online with an airline that almost monopolizes Charlotte’s airways (I will call them U.S.Aryans). The web site screwed up the dates and when I tried to change them via an outsourced (seemingly Nazi-trained cloning) call center where the customer service person barely spoke English wanted me to pay an additional $1750 to change tickets I had already paid $835 for.
So. A while back, we were making reservations for a trip to Vegas. The U.S. Aryan (real name withheld due to pure disgust) website defaulted to whatever was the cheapest flight, despite the time frame I selected. I was trying to be smart by booking four months in advance. I THOUGHT we were making reservations to leave on Sunday, July 17th, 7:55am to get a whole day’s vacation without having to pay for a Saturday night’s stay in Vegas. Wait for it.
On Friday, July 15th, I get an email reminding me to check in online. I thought that weird, being two days early, but whatever. Saturday the 16th about 10pm, I go online to check in for the following day’s flights and my reservation says call U.S.Airways. Okaaaaaay.
Indian Call Center Nazi#1
After 30 minutes of being on hold, the Customer Service Rep (in my head I think of her as “Indian Call Center Nazi #1, or ICCN#1) answers and tells me that my flight left at 7:55pm that day (2 hours ago). this is the sound of me taking a deep breath and trying to keep my cool. This when she tells me that to change the two flight reservations (that I originally paid $835 for – $750 plus taxes/fees/etc.) will cost me an additional $150 per person, plus the difference in ticket prices ($700 each), plus $25 per ticket for talking to her on the phone. (Pay extra for ordering our services via a PERSON! What a WONDERFUL idea!) For those of you who went to public schools, that’s about an additional $1750 for something I had already paid $835 for. Essentially, I can get the same seats I already paid $835 for, for $2585. What a deal! That wasn’t even for first class!
“This is our policy.” – This is Call Center computer screen translation in Indian for “I know nuffink! I vas only following orders!”
Indian Call Center Nazi#2 (or #1 again, I’m not sure.)
15 minutes later of being on hold, I am speaking to ICCN#2 who sounds remarkably identical to ICCN#1. So much so I think that ICCN#1 is messing with me. They sounded exactly alike. As far as I know, the ICC is cloning them with all traces of the personal initiative or common sense genes bred out of them.
When I asked if paying double (again) for changes (for what I can just go out and buy NEW tickets for on another airline) made sense? Two guesses what she said.
“This is our policy.”
The Other Side of the Coin(?)
Let’s go with full disclosure here.
- I am not anti-outsourcing. Okay, maybe I am. American companies should employee Americans. Our unemployment is way higher than it should be and these are jobs that don’t require tons of skill as can be evidenced by the call above.
- I am not anti-India. Okay, maybe I am. A little. While they do have an amazingly high amount of educated people and I applaud their multi-language skills as much higher than U.S. standards… have you ever been to India to actually smell it? Plus, don’t get me started about the poverty level. I am not saying this is the fault of the Indian people. Okay, maybe I am. You get the government your earn and their society and government has developed this poverty level and quality of life. That’s not to say we are not earning the government we deserve…
- I am not anti-profit. Okay, maybe a little. American businesses need to start putting U.S. interests into their balance sheets.
- I am not pro-government intervention. Okay, maybe in this case, I am. The U.S. government needs to make outsourcing so expensive that corporations hire Americans. tax outsourcers prohibitively. Use that money to bolster the budget deficit. Put OUR college and high school graduates to work instead of India’s.
- I am not pro-English only. Okay, I definitely am. I call for customer service from an American company., I expect to speak to some that really understands English and can speak it fluently and understandably. If I can’t understand what you are saying through a thick accent (I apologize to Alabamans), you do NOT need to be making a living talking on the phone to English speaking customers.
- The seats are still empty 9 hours prior to the flight I was supposed to be on. This is a LOSS of revenue for U.S.Aryans and yet…
- While seats are still empty, the U.S.Aryans want me to pay an additional $1750 for a flight I already paid $835 for. This would be $2585 for coach seats.
- We never received an email confirmation of the date our original reservation was scheduled for or I would have noticed the wrong date.
- Instead of using some semblance of customer service, they are forcing me to buy tickets on another airline… for a mistake their web site made.
- They are generating truckloads of ill-will which I am releasing into the blogosphere for all time so that in the infinite lifetime of the web, I hope hundreds of people will read and re-think their decision to fly U.S.Aryan.
- I spent hours on the phone on hold or being stonewalled by people (still not convinced it was two different people) that English is definitely not their first language (or possibly a language they know, except for “That is our policy.”)
I know these may not always be practical or the most inexpensive, but the only way we can get these corporations to start paying attention is to hit their P&L statements.
- Do business with businesses that DON’T outsource labor, especially call centers. I know it is more affordable for them to hire some poor Malaysian for $1.00 per hour than to pay a U.S. citizen a fair wage. But until the U.S. government makes it unprofitable for them to stop that, the only deterrent they may respond to is a public backlash. For example, HP uses a foreign call center for customer support. I don’t buy HP computers anymore.
- Some outsource call centers will transfer you to an American Call center if you request it. If you are already doing business with a company that outsources, request an English speaking/American call center manager as soon as you get on the phone.
- Alternative airlines to U.S Aryans. I don’t know if they outsource call centers but U.S. Aryans have pissed me off and I don’t do business with companies that treat their customers like crap, so…