Dr. Dobb's Journal, Editor Jonathan Erickson grouses about poor outsourced technical support and offers a provocative tip to avoid it:
If you call customer support for companies (like Dell), which have outsourced to India (or elsewhere), call early in the day (say, 7:00 A.M. EST) when it's likely late night or early morning for offshore support, which may have a skeleton crew (or even be closed), giving you a better chance of being routed to a knowledgeable engineer at a U.S. support site. Getting up early is a small price to pay to talk to a qualified engineer.
I'm trying hard to keep an open mind about outsourcing tech jobs, because I suspect that if we restrict the practice, we'll just give foreign companies that outsource a huge advantage over U.S. companies that don't, ending up with the same exodus of jobs. However, I have to admit that my experiences with Dell's Indian customer support reps mirror those of Erickson: Wonderfully pleasant, well-spoken people who were absolutely no help at all.
I did a little resource about customer support and it showed that DELL must be the worst in the business.
Personally I liked the support from Palm, fast and accurate ( from the UK !).
I think the only real solution is simply to not do business with companies that outsource their support to India, and make it clear when you shop that your buying preferences take that into account.
In situations where that simply isn't possible, I try to go in as a business customer. Dell recently shipped all of their business-level support back to the US, so if you must buy a Dell you can do it through their business site to ensure that you get adequate help. Many other companies have similar setups.