Are callers at a call center in India more sincere than U.S. call center workers? Many of them are educated, and eager to please. They use false names if their call center asks them to, but many have a positive way of looking at it. “I think people in the U.S. are very busy, and they just want to make sure they get good customer service. If they hear someone with a foreign accent, they are not sure. If they have one problem with a caller from another company, they do not want to hear from another caller in India,” says one call center worker in Delhi. “I do not feel that I am being false. I am being myself, but with a name that people in the U.S. can relate to,” says Robin, whose real name is Lakshmi. “I am sincere about my work, and want to give great customer service.” Robin’s call center in India is one of the very best and most sought-after.
Call center workers at this call center in India are certainly less cynical about their lives than their U.S. counterparts, and they take work seriously. Having worked as a caller for high-end fundraising in the U.S., and having supervised numerous callers recently from time to time, I can tell you that American call center workers after a while will say almost anything to those they are calling. They will be friendly, get the credit card number, then hang up and at break time often complain about the people they called. Those who feel bad about themselves and do not like their jobs are not sincere. For example, they will sound like a Democrat on one call, and talk Republican on another, and generally try to fit in with what the caller chats about just to get along. If someone makes a comment on a presidential candidate, they will agree–not matter what they think–to make people think they are talking to a fellow American with the same values. Many are just so involved in the daily grind that they do not have any hope anymore about the political scene and life in the U.S. in general. Is this any better than using a false name?
However, U.S. callers communicate well. They provide reliable customer service, if that is the kind of call they are making. They are fluent in English, and compared to workers in a call center in India, they create a better impression that a situation will be resolved– whether they believe that or not. If call center workers in India do not know whether the situation will be resolved, they may not say that it will be.
Is this better or worse for the U.S. consumer? Is it bad customer service to be honest?