Technical Support

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by John Brooks, May 14, 2007.

  1. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure what it's like elsewhere, but in North America these days, when calling for technical support you're likely to find yourself talking to someone in Bombay or Calcutta; so many companies having outsourced their support to India in order to cut costs.

    Imagine that your computer network stops working and you call the "Help Desk". Somebody did this and, faced with the tangle of wires at the back of the computer, was completely overwhelmed. Their response to the technician was classic: "Tell you what I'm going to do, I'm going to hang up now, go to college for a couple of years, then call you back".

    I wish I'd thought of that response when facing the same dilemma a while ago and being told by someone in Calcutta to "unplug all the cables". I hung up and found another solution.
  2. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    It's the same here John, with many UK companies outsourcing their support functions to India.

    A few years ago before I became self employed, I worked for a company who did this - but for internal support - I ask you!!!! So, if any employee had an issue with their PC, they called the internal help desk, and was transferred to India... phah.... was a totally **** system I must admit.

    Of course, the support technicians were extremely helpful and always did their utmost to help, but one felt they were always on a lost cause.
  3. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    This is a bit close to my heart at the moment. I work on an IT helpdesk supporting a piece of software for a very specific market. After a recent merger with a competitor which made us attractive enough for a take over, we are now very much wondering what the future holds. The people now in charge are completely unaware of just how specialised our software is, and even more unaware about how the market works. They have alienated the staff and the customers in just 3 months by charging more for things that used to be free and reducing staff dramatically. Only this morning it was announced that training costs will be increased by 25%, and the trainers expenses will be charged on top of that increase, instead of being included as previously.

    I think it may be time to find a new job before my department is closed (it won't go to Calcutta; it would go to Huntsville in Alabama). Anybody need a senior customer support person? ;)

    Alternatively, pleeeeaaase start buying more music so I can just do that instead!! :biggrin:
  4. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Tell me about it. I develop and support a UK government Web application. All the servers are in the UK.
    If anything goes wrong we get called out by people from Kuala Lumpa, Indonesia who cannot speak any english at all except count from one to 10. Sometimes they forget who they are talking to completely and speak in their own language. After the phone cutting off about 3 times, you can just decipher a string of numbers they quote at you which is the automated problem number. After searching around the logging system for a few minutes we can find what the problem really is. If it is a network problem or requires that a server is re-booted then the fun really starts. We have to ring back Kuala Lumpa and try to make ourselves understood that the problem needs to go to the network / server guys. Kuala Lumpa then ring the server support people in Bombay India many who can't speak english either. After an hour or so you inevitably get a telephone call giving you the same problem back as the Kuala Lumpans and Indians couldn't understand each other. Finally when the Indians understand what the problem is they get Kuala Lumpa to ring the Person on-call or in the UK operations centre at Birmingham who then ring the people at Andover where the server actually is.
    Total time to resolution - never less than 3 hours sometimes half a day or more.

    The old system before outsourcing was guys in the Birmingham operations centre got an automated message on their screen saying there was a problem. They were astute enough to read the problem and if they couldn't remote in themselves made one phone call to Andover to get the server rebooted. Total time 2 or 3 minutes.

    Apparently the way we do it now is cheaper and more efficient - although its still same UK guys who used to do it themselves who eventually do the work.
    I reckon it might be something to do with the senior management having a performance objective to off-shore 25% of support activity by 2008. But thats the problem - the objective is as simple as that just a number. If the inefficiency and true cost of the systems they implement was honestly analysed they would all be sacked. But they will get hansome bonuses. Poor old me will be woken at 3am by someone talking unitelligible gibberish.

    Don't think we haven't complained bitterly - but the complaints fall on deaf ears the closer it gets to the senior managers who stand to lose money by bringing things back 'in-house'
  5. Ipswich trom

    Ipswich trom Member

    It's not just IT help desks either is it! Ring your bank, Dell pc's, etc and chances are you won't be able to understand a word. Luckily Nat West, Sky and others that I sometimes have to call haven't done it.