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Hello, My Name Is Ashley

September 2, 2021

A couple of years ago, I was constantly forced to call various utilities by phone such as our satellite television or internet service providers. The purpose was almost always to correct a bill they had screwed-up. After battling through the mine field of automated menus, scratchy music from decades past and endless inputs that never got inputted to begin with, I arrived where I wanted to be; speaking with a real, live (or at least semi-live) human being. Great! Then came the familiar greeting. In a voice that was unmistakably Pakistani, my customer service representative said, “Hello, my name is Ashley…. how may I help you today?” But of course, before he would actually help, I had to endure the “Vee have wary special deals today for our bestest customers.” After my refusals were finally understood, we moved on to my problem at hand. But guess what? Problems can not be resolved by reading from a rehearsed script card.

These encounters always ended in partially resolved issues, compounded by the frustration of dealing with someone who did not indeed speak or understand my language fluently. The result? After an honest effort on my part, I simply cancelled these services and replaced them with those offered by companies whose employees spoke American English.

My encounters with these captains of American capitalism always begged the same questions. If I was indeed a “wary” special customer, why treat me like an unknown assailant from the street? Why do you employ people who can’t communicate in my language? Would none of our unemployed be willing to do this job in America? And lastly, Do you really expect that I am going to put up with this nonsense forever?

Unfortunately, “American” business is no longer done in America. The business model of today’s communication giants is simply “get them in the door with ludicrously low rates for 12 months then feed them to the wolves.” There is no honor in this approach but it has been adopted by virtually everyone.

A look at the fine points. No, I am not prejudiced against Pakistanis or any other particular group. However, I do not think it is too much to ask that services provided in the United States of America be accompanied by customer service representatives who speak fluent American English. I have the same complaint when the fellow on the other end of the phone is from Liverpool, Mexico City or Leningrad; if we can’t fully understand each other, where is the hope? Any country in the world expects as much; why not the USA?

By the way Ashley, I don’t care at all that your actual name is Farooq. I just want to be able to understand what you’re telling me and vice-versa so that we can solve a problem together.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

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12 Comments
  1. One of my favorite parts about being put on terminal hold while you wait to speak to a “representative” is when the non-descript music is interrupted by a recorded message saying that “your call is very important to us.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This happens in Italy too, as you must know

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, “Customer Service'” is a wonderful thing. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cheap foreign labor = profits, quantity not quality drives the machine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And if they sound like a native American, they’re probably sitting in a jail cell doing five to ten.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Well, the USA ( Italy and all other states), should paid them more.
    In any case the problem won’t be solved at all. There will be more of it.
    There are jobs for which the full-fledged citizen has no appetite for.
    Someone else has to do it.
    Let’s face it, it is just like complaining that the cleaning lady/janitor at the local hospital [bar, restaurant, shopping center, etc.], that works early morning hours, doesn’t speak our language.
    They don’t need to, snd the ones that do, won’t do the job.
    Let’s get used to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Too many reasons to list on ‘why this is so’ on the other hand, even after my stroke when at BEST I sounded like Elmer Fudd or Porky Pig of Loony toons, or at worst, folks figured I was drunk or high or making a prank call/secret shopper request to ‘test them’ for their bosses? Somehow, there were folks in many countries, whose native language was one I couldn’t even begin to know how to say, please, thank you, hello, goodbye in” and yet, through their patience and I, we usually managed to figure it out or clarify terms/words used, etc., etc. My absolute fave memory? Some tech support person far away in lands collectively known as ‘Russian’ by ignorant of geography/changing nation lines, american (me!) and I said, “Please slow down, can you repeat? I didn’t catch that….” and he did! and we laughed at each of our attempts to say/understand what the other one was saying – but overall? My main memory of that night spent on troubleshooting, knowing how to fix the problem and/or getting it fixed??? His kindness and when he said, “Do not be concerned. I’m making notes in English and will send you full email with links and I’m on duty for the next few hours – just reply and I’ll help” – 😀 BEST support service overall, for an American Titan company, to date!! Although, one company I do biz with hires folks around the globe in order to provide 24/7 service and also give their employees some semblance of regular work day for their local time zone – that company? The Team from Australia is just great!! But, that company pays them just as well as they pay Americans – and none of their folks are viewed as ‘cheap help so we can have better profits’ – so – well – Not sure what the overall answer is, except, one should always have the option to say, “I’m sorry, I truly cannot understand you, could I speak with someone else?” – 😀 I just ask – if I’m struggling, usually, it happens and transfer, or conference call and no skin off my nose or harshness against the worker trying, it just is in Global corporate world and the modern version of ‘colonialism’ (reap the raw resources, while only investing in the local area as little as you have to ….) sigh –

    Liked by 1 person

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