I received an email (see below) from someone I know well with the Subject line: When Calling 800 #’s: THIS IS THE LAW.[sic]. Putting aside the xenophobic tone of the message, I thought I’d take a 10 minute break and amuse myself with a quick mental analysis of the likelihood of the proposed technique based on what I know about business strategy and call center operations.
Some people enjoy puzzles or sudoku, I like to explore possibilities. The sender thought enough of my thoughts to send it on to the folks he forwarded the message to, so maybe someone else will find it interesting too. Below is my reply, followed by the original email:
The premise: There is a law that requires non-US based phone agents to transfer callers to a US-based agent upon request.
http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/servicerep.asp (First place to check outlandish email claims.)
Most companies consolidate call centers — domestically or internationally — to contain costs and simplify operations. They are unlikely to have both for the same function (e.g. technical support) even for redundancy of non-critical operations. In fact, many outsource the entire call center operations and have no in-house capability.
And what would the law say? Every company with free phone support must maintain a domestic service center? What about foreign owned companies? What size company? What about automated phone services like the airlines use? Are hold times to be regulated also? 4000 Pakistani agents transferring calls upon request to 3 US-based agents would satisfy that requirement. 60 second hold vs 60 minute hold; Take your pick. (“Of course, for $30 we could bump you to the front of the US queue!”) Are hours of operation to be regulated too? What about mixed voice/digital services such as video/screensharing/instant-messaging/VOIP/etc.?
More likely, companies doing a substantial portion of their business in the US (or whatever standard the law would set out) would simply eliminate phone support altogether and offer only email support like Google and many others currently do. In fact, most would welcome the excuse to terminate phone services due to the “unreasonable cost burden created by meddlesome government regulation.” They’ve been waiting for a long time for just this sort of excuse.
Email support centers would remain international, of course. In fact most email support services are currently managed by distributed networks of home workers throughout the globe anyway. Frankly, that is pretty handy when I’ve needed assistance at odd hours. In fact, quite a few phone call centers work the same way, such as Denver’s own http://alpineaccess.com.
The Original Email
Any time you call an 800 number
Now that I know it is the LAW – I will do it for sure. . Any time you call an 800 number (for a credit card, banking, charter communications, health and other insurance, computer help desk, etc.) and you find that you’re talking to a foreign customer service representative (perhaps in India, Philippines, etc.), please consider doing the following:
After you connect and you realize that the customer service representative is not from the USA (you can always ask if you are not sure about the accent), please, very politely(this is not about trashing other cultures) say, “I’d like to speak to a customer service representative in the United States of America.” The rep might suggest talking to his/her manager, but, again, politely say, “Thank you, but I’d like to speak to a customer service representative in the USA.”
YOU WILL BE IMMEDIATELY CONNECTED TO A REP IN THE USA.
That’s the rule and IT IS THE LAW.
It takes less than one minute to have your call re-directed to the USA.
Tonight when I got redirected to a USA rep, I asked again to make sure – and yes, she was from Fort Lauderdale. Imagine what would happen if every US citizen insisted on talking to only US phone reps from this day on.
Imagine how that would ultimately impact the number of US jobs that would need to be CREATED ASAP. If I tell 10 people to consider this and you tell 10 people to consider doing this – see what I mean…it becomes an exercise in viral marketing 101.
Remember – the goal here is to restore jobs back here at home – not to be abrupt or rude to a foreign phone rep. You may even get correct answers, good advice, and solutions to your problem – in real English.
If you agree, please tell 10 people you know, and ask them to tell 10 people they know….etc…etc.