Does Outsource Customer Service Really Help?

I have recently had problem with one of my prepaid cards because of the continued transfer of money from my bank account to my expired prepaid card.  The problem started when I can not even log in to my online account, and because the card was about to expire and I had just received a message from American Express that they will no longer issue the same gold American express prepaid card and I had to change to American Express Serve to continue the benefits I get from AmEx.

This made me decide to just kill the American Express prepaid gold card and apply for Serve, but when I tried to log in it would not even let me.  So I called the customer service number they flashed on the screen and my headache started.  At first I was surprised that the customer service representative is now from India.  I have nothing against Indian customer service representatives because they can be very helpful at times, but when the CSR could not help me, the CSR transferred me to another representative who sounded very Asian.  in all fairness to the Asian representative, he tried so hard to help with the technical solution, however the communication has just gotten worse and to sum it up, the solution to the problem was not provided.

So I let it go out of frustration thinking that since my AmEx Prepaid Gold card was about to expire, any transaction will no longer valid and the transfer of money from my bank account will automatically stop, but it did not happened.  Upon learning this I called the customer service representative again to seek for help and this time I got a female CSR.  The conversation started well but as it progressed the communication is getting more and more unclear. I could not even understand the word she said and to make things worse, she is getting more cocky.  I asked her to slow down so I can understand her better, but she did not seemed to hear what I said.  When I politely asked her to repeat what she had just said, I can sense that she was getting irritated.  So I apologized and say I did not understand her words, and to my surprised she wants to end the conversation by saying, “Is there anything else I can help you with?”.  What the hell??? She has not even solved the problem and yet she’s got the audacity to end the conversation.  Out of frustration I just hang up without even saying thank you.

I know and I understand that most US company wants to reduce their overhead expenses and outsourcing is one of the best way to do that, but the quality of service was not being capitalized.  I know these people are trained and they have the scripted manual to tell the customers and to be able to help find a solution.  My point here is that, I used to work as a customer service representative from Verizon and our training was very rigid and one of the main focus is good command in communication, until I found out that I was not directly hired by Verizon but by a union and I had to quit because of how the union commanded us to work according to what they want, but that was a different story to tackle.  I know that English is one of the most complex language to learn and understand, but when your business is based on communication, I believe it is just right to have someone capable enough to send out the proper information to the customers.

I know that there are two countries who are big on BPO or Business Process Outsourcing, the Philippines and India.  Among the two the Philippines is the one I prefer to talk to over the phone, their language construction is much the same as the western language.  Letters and words are pronounced like that of the western language.  I am not saying that India is not as good as the Philippines when it comes to customer service but the communication really varies.  One thing about India is that most companies like them because they are more business type.  India wants to get right into the subject without the tete-a-tete, unlike the Philippines who wants to go personal and claim the problem as their own.  Going back to the quality of customer service, the Philippines tend to be more respectful and up to the point of just taking the atrocity of some customers without arguing. Again I am not saying that Indians are confrontational but my two encounters gave a bad taste their customer service. I had this problem with T-Mobile Indian Customer Service Representative before where I was told that there is nothing he can do about the problem without giving me an option.

One thing I heard, though this is not a definite fact is that more and more company doing business in the Philippines are pulling out because of the change in their government.   Now some companies are shopping around and would like to give other Asian countries a chance, I hope that this will not jeopardize the quality of service they provide.

What is really the primary objective of every company outsourcing to different countries? Is It Really Customer Service ? Or they just want lower expenditures? Lower cost? Whatever happened to capitalizing customer satisfaction?  Are they really providing what is due for their paying customers? Is it really worth it?


This post in not a rant or complain but because of my frustration regarding my recent phone conversation with a Customer Service Representative and I do not mean to discredit the American Express or the BPO company they outsource to.