Tuesday, April 24, 2007

who's to blame?

If you have ever owned a computer, perhaps you can relate to my recent experience.
Our laptop crashed over a month and a half ago and I am stii;yep, without a computer!
After sending it off to the Dell plant, we went weeks without hearing a word, except that "it was delayed for reasons they were unsure of at the time".
I immediately called Dell to give them a piece of my excellerated frustration and dissapointment in the company.
After having waited on hold for a good 20 minutes, I was put through to a what sounded like a young woman from India.
Within the first five minutes of our conversation we were having difficulty understanding one another due to language and pronunciation. And, she really had no idea of the status of my computer, she was simply reading the prescripted replies on paper in front of her.
As my frustration grew I suddenly realized the unethical reality that I was encountering.
Who was this woman? Maybe she was a young mother, who in order to pay bills, leaves her small children each night to tend to angry costumers; mostly from the US. Perhaps she was a promising young girl who had graduated from high school with hopes to become a doctor, but she was manipulated into starting this new job "that will make a few honest dollars"...way below minimun wage and without benefits. My frustration turned into sympathy for this woman who was upset as I that she could not help me.
Who's to blame? As I hung up the phone, I wanted to call the Dell exec, probably swinging his 5 iron out on the country club greens. I wanted to call him, probably a white man, and tell HIM of my angst and disgust at the dirty lengths he'll go to make a buck.
That's what I wanted to do.
So, I sit here finishing this blog from my husband's tiny Blackberry wishing I had a computer and wishing for humane treatment for all around our world today.
Anybody listening?


Blogger Mandy Mc said...

I hear you loud and clear! We had a similar experience with Dell last year when our desktop died. There is no telling how many people Chad had to voice his "frustration" to before he got his computer back.

I like the title of this blog by the way. I think that all too often we forget to ask this and end up blaming the wrong people!

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Steve Vellines said...

Hey Lori, I saw your entry on Ethicsdaily.com. Way to go!! As you may know, I work with a group of young Indian people who work and live in Bangalore and so I have humanized the "outsourcing menace" and you are correct. These are great people who are working hard to help support their families. We should not put any blame on them.

BTW, are we going to get to see you when you visit Atlanta? The kids miss Jacob and you (of course Karol and I do too).

6:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I have recently purchased a Dell and am not happy with their outsourced customer service, but when one asks "who is to blame," we might aught to look at ourselves. I bought a Dell because it was cheap. Why was it cheap? Because they outsource the computer parts to China and Malayasia, they outsource technical support to India. We get a cheap computer, the company has record profits, and folks in India have jobs. Ok, so technical support doesn't understand American English. So what if our computers vanish into a Dell "black hole" service maze? It was cheap.

If we want to pay more for our computers so that our technical support folks can understand us, let's tell Dell that bottom line, cheapness doesn't work for us but we like dealing with Dell. Quality, understandable, helpful customer service and technical support do.

By the way, I learned a sure fire way to move past the legendary India connection. I have started asking for a person whose first language is American English. I don't budge. I am nice but firm.
Before long, I get some nice person in the Midwest. My experience is that it doesn't really matter. Technical support in any language is pretty much figure it out for yourself or call someone you know.
Michael Chancellor

12:28 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Sorry the computer still isn't working. And I think you might have convinced me not to buy a Dell when it's time to get a new laptop.

I must find my copy of The End of Poverty... Jeffrey Sachs has some really interesting ideas about outsource workers and other people paid less than our minimum wage. I know it's somewhere here amid all the boxes and clothes and books and half-empty suitcases.

9:55 AM  

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