May. 14th, 2012

terriko: I am a serious academic (Twlight Sparkle looking confused) (Serious Academic)
I had a not so great experience with a customer service rep on one of those live-chat things today, so I sent in a complaint after suffering through statements like "when u log in with yr used id and password what does it comes?"

I got a response back, which was nice, but it included a variant on "she's a great rep but English isn't her first language"

And while they don't really try to claim it's an excuse, it got me thinking... is our collective distaste for outsourced customer service and non-native speakers part of some internalized racism?

It's got a some of the hallmarks, but I don't really think it's the core issue. The core issue is communication and failure thereof. If I'd gotten that sentence above from a native speaker (and believe me, I've seen worse chatting with folk in games) I'd still have made my complaint that she didn't seem very professional with her tendency to abbreviate words that were already three or four letters long. It still would have been a problem that despite me telling her explicitly 3 times that I was not a student, she was still telling me to click on a "student" tab that doesn't appear in my interface and thus couldn't help me with that part of the question.

So then the question is, why tell me that she's a non-native speaker? Are you just trying to make me feel guilty about complaining about her? She still did a poor job today; it doesn't really matter to me if she's normally better at it or if it's harder for her than it would be for me. I just wanted to report that so that she could be helped with her listening and writing skills, as well as her knowledge about the differing interfaces to the system.

I'm used to making allowances for poor language skills (native and non-native speakers alike) within the university system, but when communication is the job she's being paid to do, I think it's fair for me to complain when her language skills are not at the level I expect.

In conclusion, it's always good to examine internal racism, but making a complaint about poor customer service seems fair regardless.


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