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A funny story about computers you talk to

Posted by Kathy G on 1/27/04 at 08:52 (142945)

I had made reservations for a trip to Pittsburg this summer for my nephew's wedding. I discovered, when I didn't get email itinerary, that I had left out the 'A' in the 'AOL' part of my address. I called an 800 number for Travelocity.

I got a computer that gave you no options but to give it voice commands. I gave it my confirmation numbers and the I went round and round, not able to figure out how to get to speak to a living person. I tried dialing zero but that didn't work. In desperation, I said, 'Oh, for heaven's sake, just let me talk to a living person!'

The computer, which was a beatifully modulated female voice, said, 'All right. I'll connect you to a customer service representative.' I couldn't believe it and was still laughing when I reached a living person!

Re: A funny story about computers you talk to

Suzanne D. on 1/27/04 at 16:47 (142984)

That is funny, Kathy! :) My husband gets frustrated because it seems that every time he calls for help with the computer, he gets someone in another country whom he can barely understand. Of course they have trouble understanding him, too, so something gets lost along the way.

Suzanne :)

Re: A funny story about computers you talk to

Sher A on 1/27/04 at 19:06 (142989)

Wow, that's absolutely hilarious! I can't believe they programmed that into the automated service! I would have been so surprised at that, I doubt if I would have even been able to talk to a real person! Hey, I'll remember that next time I get stuck in an endless system, and dialing zero doesn't work!

Re: A funny story about computers you talk to

john h on 1/28/04 at 10:52 (143047)

Actually some of the high tech companies have you talking to someone who is really in India or some such place to answer your questions.

Re: A funny story about computers you talk to

Julie on 1/28/04 at 11:34 (143053)

It has become customary in the UK for large companies to outsource their call centres to India. The practice has caused a good deal of job loss and bad feeling here. But university graduates in India who speak good English and are trained to sound as though they're speaking to you from a few miles down the road (with knowledge of local football teams, weather, food, etc) are glad to get these jobs, which - so we're told - pay better than others they are qualified for.

Re: A funny story about computers you talk to

Kathy G on 1/28/04 at 14:53 (143078)

I'm not a racist by any stretch of the imagination, but I had to call HP about our computer when I first got it and I spoke to an Indian fellow and the conversation was truly hilarious. He didn't understand me and I didn't understand him. I knew it was time to give up when it became apparent that he didn't understand when I told him the problem was intermittent. I tried to explain but he just didn't understand. He was so nice and so courteous that I finally ended the call by telling him that someone was at my door and I would have to call back.

A couple of days later, I did call back and I spoke with a fellow and I told him of my experience. He told me that HP actually has offices in India and that they have had several complaints about problems because of the same reasons I stated. They obviously haven't learned to screen their customer support people to make sure that they are able to speak and understand English.

Re: A funny story about computers you talk to

Suzanne D. on 1/28/04 at 15:11 (143082)

Yes, let me hasten to say that I didn't mean to sound racist earlier when I posted about my husband not being able to understand the technician. I apologize if anyone took it that way. It was just frustrating to him when the computer was not working and he couldn't get help or understand the person on the other end of the phone. I don't even know where the gentleman lived; I didn't hear him.

If I were trying to help someone on the phone, they no doubt would have trouble understanding ME - even if they were from the US (unless they were from the south)! I have had the feeling while ordering over the phone that the catalog representative was having trouble with my accent.

In fact, when I taught intersession just at the other end of our county, I had a child ask in total confusion, 'What's a 'dub-ya' (W)?'

I tried very hard after that to say 'double-you' for W!

Suzanne :)

Re: A funny story about computers you talk to

Pauline on 1/28/04 at 15:15 (143084)

This would be easy for them to fix. They just have to offer the option of speaking in 'English' on the phone to consumers. For English press 2.