A name, your preview to the world, may mean everything to someone, but in call centers in India they choose an alias name for themselves to make Americans life easier. Whether they are able to do it or not is a separate issue altogether.

You all must be surprised to know that the U.K. companies are much more broadminded as compared to the U.S. ones in the accent, name and even the culture of an employee (maybe because of our past).

In fact all the voice-based processes in India are divided into the U.K. and U.S. units. The U.K. ones generally do not require you to choose an alias name or to make your accent British, in fact they let you keep your original name and ask you to try speaking in a neutral accent.

Indian youth just go totally ballistic in choosing an American name. Famous ones are "Mr. Anderson" or "Mr. Smith," more Hollywood names like "Tom", "Will" for the Adams and for the Eves it is "Nicole" or "Marie," etc. They do this so that you people will get a feeling that you are talking to someone American and not some Indian dude.

But as far as I know, many companies are letting the employees use their original names instead of the fake ones. Is it helpful or not is what you people have to analyze. So what do you think: Should the Indian call center executive welcome you with an Indian name like "Mr. Rangaswamy" or with much familiar name to you like "Mr. Smith"?-- Vivek Seal

Comments

The idea behind outsourcing this blog was whether cheap Indian labor could replace the American workforce. So far, it's USA:1, India:0. Vivek, did you ever actually READ this blog before you decided you could edit it? How many articles did Rogers ever write about outsourcing? Certainly not 4 in a row as you have. The readers of this blog don't come here to read about outsourcing every single day. Workbench is popular because Rogers blogs about al kinds of things. Movies, politics, family life, etc. Can you write about ANYTHING else but outsourcing? Because if you can't, you're not much of a replacement editor for this blog.


 

I prefer to speak to someone who's name I can easily recognize and pronounce. I always write down the name/date/time and content when I speak to customer service reps of any kind; incredibly useful during the inevitable follow-up call. I hate it when they pick up and say, "Thank you for calling Dell Support, my name is kryzsgytikhani, how can I help you".


 

I prefer to speak to someone who's name I can easily recognize and pronounce

Thats your problem...or dare I mention..your ignorance.


 

Vivek, did you ever actually READ this blog before you decided you could edit it?
I don't think that Vivek asked for this oppurtunity. He just left a comment in one of the threads..supporting outsourcing.
The original author of this blog contacted Vivek (as you can READ in his post).

As far as I understand it, Vivek was brought aboard to write about outsourcing.

Because if you can't, you're not much of a replacement editor for this blog.
Who are you to decide ?


 

I think this has been a fascinating experiment....to outsource a blog. (I may have to do that myself!)

As for whether or not I prefer an American name when I talk to someone at a call center, that really doesn't matter to me. The only thing that concerns me is whether or not the person is easy to understand and if they can understand me.

This whole topic of using an "alias" is interesting to me, though. In my neighborhood there are many people who have immigrated from the Middle East and they almost *have* to change their names because of the anti~Middle~East feelings that so many people have had since 9/11.

In many ways I find that sad. These people that I know are wonderful, but they must change their names in order to fit in.

So I guess that was a long winded way to say....Keep your original names. I want to embrace other cultures.

Ok....I'm rambling. But thank you, Viveck....I enjoy reading your input.


 

No need to change a name unless you are hiding or you feel that your name is difficult to pronounce. What is important is to keep the same name and not hide behind an alias.

One thing these non-personable, call-centers don't do is provide a method of continued communication. Every call is re-inventing the wheel and I've found that the "professional", providing the service, seems to think that the caller is an underling. That in itself is reason to make up a name. If I could reach through the phone line sometimes .....

That goes for outsourced as well as locally manned positions.

It is unfortunate that an outsourced person can't speak English that I can understand. Within the USA, there are manners of speech that strain the ear of both sides of the conversation. To be confronted with a faceless voice who's 1st language is obviously not American English is frustrating, especially when there is no common ground for communication.

I'm not in favor of being a part of this "New World Order" where the entire population of the world is supposed to blend into a bland, pasty-grey, mass of myopic sludge.

I see no reason to "punch 1 for English".

Communication is what is important, regardless of who is speaking it. I think there is a better chance of communication when both sides come from the same society.


 

I think there is a better chance of communication when both sides come from the same society.

US companies started the trend of globalization/free worl economy..in order to sell more products, reach more people and extract more profits. They have been reaping benefits for a past few decades.
Now with increased competition, Americans are begining to fear/loathe this very idea. Sounds a bit strange.


 

It's not U.S. companies speaking. It's a U.S. consumer.

Trade was opened initially as imports. It was VW's, English Fords, Hammered Indian brass, Japanese copies, Wines, perfume, etc. that helped Europe's economy rebuild and gave Japan hope for the future. Most of what left the U.S.A. has been food, aid and jobs.

That is neither here nor there at the moment. With all humility I can muster, I wish no harm or detriment to anyone of another country who is not wishing me dead. By the same token, I don't feel that it is in my best interest to suffer acceptingly just to allow another a paycheck.

Names are sacred. One should be able to use his own name, or a facsimile of his own choosing.


 

By the same token, I don't feel that it is in my best interest to suffer acceptingly just to allow another a paycheck

I fully agree with this, but I can't seem to figure out your suffering ?
Were you laid off because of outsourcing ?


 

I probably wouldn't like it at all if an employer wanted me to change my name or to use a different name at work.

However, I think names are identifiers in communication, so it is good for a name to be pronounceable, spellable and yet unique enough to identify a person. I think it follows that parents should pick usable names to begin with. (I am not suggesting that Indian parents should choose English names, but in pragmatic terms, Vivek is a lot easier on foreigners than one of those really long Indian names.)

I think my parents had clue when they gave me a name that is ASCII-safe, does not look or sound foreign in Finnish but works as a male name in French and English (by pronouncing it like Henry) as well.


 

I encouraged Vivek to cover outsourcing, though he has license to blog about anything else he likes.

This is a bit different than truly outsourcing my blog the way American companies outsource. To do that, I'd be paying Vivek and use him as a ghost writer or insist he adopt an Americanized pseudonym so my readers never catch on.

Regarding that, I don't see how it's sustainable for American corporations or their foreign call centers to use aliases to hide outsourcing. It's contemptuous to both sides of the equation.

Indian workers are being asked to disguise their nationality and ethnicity, which I can't imagine they accept without unease. Would an American company ask their Hispanic workforce to change names like Jose and Carlos to Joe and Carl? It would be a national scandal.

Also, if outsourcing is something we're to regard as a beneficial trend, why the concentrated effort to hide the nationality of the workers? I think it demonstrates the true attitude of our companies -- our customers won't accept this when they realize what's going on.

I was a loyal customer of Dell for around eight years, buying its PCs exclusively, and the biggest reason was its rep for sterling customer support.

After I started getting support from workers who were clearly outsourced and not particularly good at their job, I stopped supporting Dell.

I don't see how any of this can change the world for the better, as Vivek believes it does, when it relies on subterfuge and the expectation that Americans are too dumb to recognize a foreign speaker of English.


 

I prefer honesty.

A few months ago, I called my ISP for support, and a woman with a heavy Indian accent started with "Hello, my name is Susan". My first impression is "she's lying": that's not a good way to start a conversation.

When I call for tech support, I rarely feel like addressing the person by name. The same ISP had a call center in Georgia (the state, not the country), and I had a hard time understanding those folks' names as well. (For those of you who don't talk to people in deep South often, you might be surprised that the name "Jan" can have one, two, or even three syllables.)

I would strongly prefer "My name is HardToPronounce, but you can call me Tom" than a lie.


 

KEEP THE JOBS IN THE U.S.A. AND STOP BEING SO GREEDY.YOU ARE DESTROYING AMERICA AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT,BY ONE COMPANY AT A TIME. YOU ARE ALL DOING YOUR PART IN DESTROYING AMERICA.SHAME SHAME ON YOU FOR OUTSOURCING.


 

I dealt with Microsoft support a while ago, and the gentleman that helped me was named Sirguha. He went by 'Guha", which made it easier for me and I was more comfortable with the fact that he didn't try to hide behind "Joe" or "Bob". Anyway, he was quite helpful.

Since we're talking about outsourcing-- I'm not a supporter of outsourcing. I think it drives wages down here, displaces American workers and has certainly affected companies like Dell and Cisco, as far as support goes. The quality of their support is way down. I won't even call Dell anymore.

I think it's all part of a race to the bottom, and when wages go up in India for example, the jobs will get outsourced again to China, or other countries.

There's another side to outsourcing that goes largely unnoticed. It's the importation of cheap labor through programs like the H-1B visa. Many American tech workers have lost their jobs due to the H-1B. A foreign worker is brought in, the American worker trains them to do their job, and is then shown the door. Corporations constantly lobby our government to increase the limits on this program, always saying there aren't enough qualified Americans to do the work, or that there is a shortage of [insert job catgeory here]. The employer holds the visa, and can send the foreign worker home when they choose, or it can be renewed for a total of 6 years. The foreign worker basically becomes indentured. (Although I think there may be a portability clause now, where the guest worker can move to another company.) If the foreign worker has no green card , they go home.

Either way outsourcing or insourcing-- I think Foreign workers are being exploited for profit.

There's a big increase in H-1B in the current Senate Bill S.2611. (Hidden in the bill is an increase to 115K, with a automatic 20% bump every year the cap is met) And, the cap for 2007 has already been met.


 

Either way outsourcing or insourcing-- I think Foreign workers are being exploited for profit.

Getting paid $40,000 instead of $60,000 is not considered exploitation (in the dictionary of foreign workers).
There is no way American companies can fulfil their demands if they stop H1B visa .
A cursory look at the enrollment in Masters and Phd programs in top engineering schools will give you a clear picture. More than 80% of the students are "foreigners". How do you expect US companies to satisfy their demands from this small pool of American students ?


 

So... the US competes with the UK. Which center (US service or UK Service) pays more or is preferred by the CCE (Customer Care Executive). I do like the fact that my call is handled by an Executive. I'd expect that the entry level workers handle calls from France... where they love people of all ranks and origins.

I just haven't figured out how starting in French can lead to a well versed English speaking Executive named Tom Smith. But Outsourcing requires hundreds of PhD's to manage such a scheme.

I should have started by saying I'm trying to be humorous. My bad.

"Raj" McD


 

The phony americanized name - this is such an insult to both the american caller and the call-center operator in India. It just is a dehumanizing experience, knowing the corporations are trying to save a buck, but trying to keep the customer from finding out about it.

I feel like saying, ok, I get it. I am a a clueless, racist American. But do you have to rub it in with the phony name?


 

A few years ago, I bought my mother a new Dell Computer and paid $200 for the Lifetime Tech Support. Soon after, Dell outsourced their tech support to India. My mother could never understand anyone from Dell's Indian tech support crew - it made her frustrated with Dell ("I can't understand the guy on the phone!") and with herself ("Am I racist for not wanting to talk to an Indian because I can't understand him?"). Me, I was pissed that I'd thrown away 200 bucks for nothing. So though my mother had been a lifetime PC user, she agreed to switch over to a Mac (I've been a Mac user since the mid '90s). Now she avoids the whole what-did-the-guy-on-the-phone-say problem altogether - when she has n issue with her Mac Mini, she brings it to an Apple Store and talks to a repair geek in person.


 

Getting paid $40,000 instead of $60,000 is not considered exploitation (in the dictionary of foreign workers....

Maybe not, but if you are here on an H-1B then the job should pay the prevailing wage, since the H-1B program requires that the employer do so. Getting paid 40,000 instead of 60,000 would be against the rules of the program, (if 60K is the prevailing wage wage for Job X) and I've read of many cases where a foreign guest worker was not paid the prevailing wage.

It's not fair, because you're not being paid for what your skills are worth, and it also contributes to the downward push on wages and the displacement of American workers.

As far as enrollments go, I know there is a high percentage of foreign students. That's OK. But there's also an exemption to the cap on H-1B if you hold a Masters or Higher from a US educational institution, and that was added last year when congress passed the "American Workforce Improvement and Jobs Protection Act" (Originally HR 4166 ) It exempts 20,000 a year from the cap. Perhaps that's a contributing factor to the higher enrollment numbers.

I'm sure American companies can meet their needs if they are willing to pay the appropriate wage. Which they aren't in a lot of cases.


 

A little perspective please. A Susan or Thomas can be Indian as well. If Christian names came with Christianity, they came to South Asia before they even got to the US.

Similarly, a Kuppaswamy can be an American as well.

I hope some people posting comments here realize that there is an inherent superiority they assume.


 

My personal experience has been that Indian call center workers are much more helpful/"useful" than the ones that we had in America.


 

The latest news is that Apple has dropped its plans for the support center in Bangalore. I think this is a very smart move by Apple for the following reasons.

1. Bangalore is no longer cheap. Real estate is more than most parts of the USA.
2. There is constant job-hopping with avg time being 6-9 months between jobs.
3. Although the pay structure is competitve (read 24 year olds make less when on their 1st/2nd jobs), the stigma of being "Dell-ed" is something I believe Steve Jobs doesnt want to deal with.
4. With Intel on a hiring freeze in India, I think other companies will take note of the non-existent infrastructure and things return to mean, rather than continue obnoxious irresponsible growth.


 

Rogers opines, "I don't see how it's sustainable for American corporations or their foreign call centers to use aliases to hide outsourcing."

I worked for JC Penny's in their IT/IS Helpcenter about 11 years ago. When answering a trouble call, I was told to pick another name from my real one, but to use it consistently so that the company would know who to contact over any complaints from the customer(s.)

How was this an attempt to disguise the nationality of the Helpcenter?

Was Penny's lying to me when they said that this was to protect my real-life anonymity; specially for calls in the general area of the Helpcenter and where any retaliation might even be a probability with some people?

"Indian workers are being asked to disguise their nationality and ethnicity, which I can't imagine they accept without unease."

How can they hide it!? It has been a cause celebre of the Left that outsourcing is a Republican and big business plot to ruin the economy and repress US citizens who will become unemployed due to the flood of jobs overseas!!! Besides, I don't suppose Microsoft or Xerox will advise them to lie when asked if they are an outsourced Help center. . .

"Would an American company ask their Hispanic workforce to change names like Jose and Carlos to Joe and Carl? It would be a national scandal."

Vivek expresses his prejudice in favor of the British in so far as their lower level of discrimination against accents and "names" is concerned, and you appear to agree that Americans are unsophisticated bigots; demanding slavish obedience of their foreign help and who can't get assistance unless some anglicized name is used . . . !

Just too much!

"Also, if outsourcing is something we're to regard as a beneficial trend, why the concentrated effort to hide the nationality of the workers? I think it demonstrates the true attitude of our companies -- our customers won't accept this when they realize what's going on."

See? Corporations attempt to assist customers and encourage their patronization of services and products -- not lie and cheat as a matter of standard policy. They aren't out there to hide anything, except to attempt a path around potential hazards.

I wouldn't be surprised if the adoption of anglicized names wasn't done by those managing the Helpcenters, overseas, and not because the US corporations want to hide the outsourced jobs. Indeed, Vivek makes it a significant portion of his responses, and which he explains as attempting to help Americans with their difficulty with unfamiliar names -- not hide that they are Indian or Pakistani nationals.

For that matter, perhaps Vivek would like to explain which nationality and difficult names he has trouble understanding . . .?

Any on your part, Rogers?

". . . I started getting support from workers who were clearly outsourced and not particularly good at their job, I stopped supporting Dell. (paragraph) I don't see how any of this can change the world for the better, as Vivek believes it does, when it relies on subterfuge. . ."

I think the "subterfuge" is in your own mind and that Vivek is interested in customer satisfaction, rather than characterising "it" as prevarication . . .

You don't like the outsourcing because it is a Republican "thing" (so you've been told) . . . but that will change just as soon as a Democrat is in the Whitehouse and makes their interests in turning the world into a "village" is spooned out to you yellow-coated dogs . . .


 

I appreciate McD's contributions at Workbench, but did he forget that calling himself 'Raj" might not be so funny to an Indian? It's the name for the British occupation of India.


 

Maybe McD should call himself "Rerun."


 

Uncle Mikey -- you win at the Internets. :)


 

What's in name? You are right but US people find it difficult to accept any non english name.
read my blog related to outsourcing
Global outsourcing market


 

I'm sure Vivek is a nice guy, but the "Culture Clash" rears it's ugly head when he says: "They do this so that you people will get a feeling that you are talking to someone American and not some Indian dude." "You people?" Excuse me? Remember how Ross Perot blew up his presidential aspirations in front of the NAACP? "-- hey, look, I don't have anything to prove to you people to start with." BZZZZZT...next, please!! It's not that their culture is necessarily bad, or ineferior or anything, it's just not *our* culture, and when we call tech support, or whatever "us people" do, we want to talk to someone who understands what's going on, and that's simply not going to happen across thousands of miles and dozens of time zones.


 

SG says, ". . . 'Culture Clash' rears it's ugly head when he [Vivek] says: '. . .you people will get a feeling that you are talking to someone American. . .' 'You people?' Excuse me? . . . BZZZZZT...next, please!!"

Ah, the voice of political correctness! You can always count on the word tyrants to stake their victim to the territory they choose . . .

Then, of course, the mandatory non-sequitur: "It's not that their culture is necessarily bad, or ineferior or anything, it's just not *our* culture, and when we call tech support, or whatever "us people" do, we want to talk to someone who understands what's going on, and that's simply not going to happen across thousands of miles and dozens of time zones."

Amazing!


 

US is country which started Globalization and send cheap items across globe during Industrial Revolution around 1960-1980. Goods were manufactured cheap in US due to mass production. US started advising other countries to open up economy so that they can get cheaper items. This in turn let to BIG JOB LOSS across world. During that time everyone here were happy. Now, case is reversed...Some cheap solution is available outside US, then why you are blasting? Job Loss....But didn't same thing happened to world because of your industrialization?
This is cyclic phenomenon...We have to wait till cycle again turns a full circle and US will have Job Gain...and it will again move on........


 

Look how many jobs the Japanese create in America. All of this works both ways.

Americs will survive this hysteria.


 

u r an ugly fufulafa dat has an ugly face dat id round a nfd pipmly n i dnt like u cause u r famous
get

got it
ok
done wit it


 

Outsourcing To India-asiawebmedia technology
I've used Indian national talent in the past with excellent results on some tasks. The cost is low. The quality is high.

I prefer Eastern European talent for some tasks (programming and writing) because the culture is more similar to the western world. I tend to have to edit less and explain less about how a user interface should look with Eastern European talent.

In the past, I have always used individuals. The result is that I have a high turn-over. I stop using the individuals who aren't performing. Those who are performing tend to move on to bigger and better things.

It is with this background that I read with interest Tim Ferriss' (http://www.FourHourWorkWeek.com) experience with two large Indian outsourcing firms. One is called Brickwork. The other is called YourManInIndia.

I immediately went to check them out. My experince so far is very disappointing. I really don't understand how anyone could get anything useful out of either company based on my experience so far.


 

Good day! Thx for your great post and Im thinking about how to introduce my ugg boots to you cos Im not sure if u like this. Many people who live in the cold area like the ugg boots, especially the north-europe.


 

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