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GraciesGoneShopping
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Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

I called NOOK Support this morning regarding the problem with the dead spots on my NOOK, and I tried to fix a long standing problem with my e-mail while I had them on the phone. This required hanging up in the middle of the conversation, calling TimeWarnerCable, and then calling NOOK Support back.

 

I hate what I am going to say and I hate that I am the one saying it, but it needs to be said, and now that I'm saying it, I hope that if this is an issue for you, I hope you say it too.

 

I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE PEOPLE AT NOOK SUPPORT!!

 

I am not a raciest or a bigot and I hate this conversation and the fact that we even have to have this conversation, but I strongly feel that B&N needs to know what a problem this is. I'm not sure where I am calling when I dial NOOK Support, but I am now more certain than ever that it is outside of the United States. I call them because I have a problem with my NOOK, not because I want to insult somebody or to make somebody feel bad about their nationality. But after having to ask them so many times what they said, they do start to get irritated at which time I am already fed up. They speak broken English or very poor English and then they are offended because I ask them to repeat themselves? HA! There's nothing wrong with my English!!

 

Maybe B&N should open a NOOK Support Center here in the United States. Maybe they should be willing to pay people here to keep it open on the weekends and on holidays because it would be worth it to their AMERICAN customers to be able to speak to a service representative that can be understood.  If I have to call there three times, I feel very strongly that at least once out of the three I should be able to speak with someone who speaks and understands my language! I certainly don't want to speak with anyone who thinks I am insulting them because I don't understand them.

I am at a crossroads now where I know my NOOK needs to be replaced. Do I really want to buy another NOOK when I already know what is at NOOK Support? Do I really want to do this to myself again? Maybe in between now and the time I buy the replacement I will get phone numbers for all the support people (iPad, etc.) so I can find out in advance who, if anyone, speaks English.

 

I should not have had to write this post. Luckily, I am angry enough that I don't care that I did.

Please forgive any typos and have a very nice day!

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deesy58
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!


GraciesGoneShopping wrote:

I called NOOK Support this morning regarding the problem with the dead spots on my NOOK, and I tried to fix a long standing problem with my e-mail while I had them on the phone. This required hanging up in the middle of the conversation, calling TimeWarnerCable, and then calling NOOK Support back.

 

I hate what I am going to say and I hate that I am the one saying it, but it needs to be said, and now that I'm saying it, I hope that if this is an issue for you, I hope you say it too.

 

I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE PEOPLE AT NOOK SUPPORT!!

 

I am not a raciest or a bigot and I hate this conversation and the fact that we even have to have this conversation, but I strongly feel that B&N needs to know what a problem this is. I'm not sure where I am calling when I dial NOOK Support, but I am now more certain than ever that it is outside of the United States. I call them because I have a problem with my NOOK, not because I want to insult somebody or to make somebody feel bad about their nationality. But after having to ask them so many times what they said, they do start to get irritated at which time I am already fed up. They speak broken English or very poor English and then they are offended because I ask them to repeat themselves? HA! There's nothing wrong with my English!!

 

Maybe B&N should open a NOOK Support Center here in the United States. Maybe they should be willing to pay people here to keep it open on the weekends and on holidays because it would be worth it to their AMERICAN customers to be able to speak to a service representative that can be understood.  If I have to call there three times, I feel very strongly that at least once out of the three I should be able to speak with someone who speaks and understands my language! I certainly don't want to speak with anyone who thinks I am insulting them because I don't understand them.

I am at a crossroads now where I know my NOOK needs to be replaced. Do I really want to buy another NOOK when I already know what is at NOOK Support? Do I really want to do this to myself again? Maybe in between now and the time I buy the replacement I will get phone numbers for all the support people (iPad, etc.) so I can find out in advance who, if anyone, speaks English.

 

I should not have had to write this post. Luckily, I am angry enough that I don't care that I did.

Please forgive any typos and have a very nice day!


Here, IMO, is the nub of the problem:

 

Students in other countries tend to receive better educations than Americans when it comes to technology.  Not all other countries, but some other countries.  Many young college students and graduates in places like India, China, Taiwan, P.I., Singapore and other Asian countries have a much deeper education and understanding of technology than most young Americans.  That's just the way it is, and even companies like Microsoft contract their technical support responsibilities to companies in Asia.

 

Unfortunately, a student who is busily studying Information Technology, Engineering or Computer Science does not have a lot of time left over for improving his/her English.  Some technicians speak better English than others, and you can be sure that it is as frustrating for them as it is for you.  When we Americans speak their languages, we speak it with heavy accents, too, and they often have difficulty understanding us.  Until the entire world speaks a single language (I won't hold my breath.), this problem will probably be with us. 

 

If you can't understand the technician to whom you are speaking, you should always request that the issue be "escalated."  This almost always leads to a connection with a more senior technician with a better ability to speak English. 

 

Good luck!

 

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GraciesGoneShopping
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎03-14-2012

Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

First of all, when I posted this did it enter twice? My apologies to everyone if I did that.

 

@Deesy58:

 

I did request a supervisor, and that request was denied. By the time I made that request I was incredibly frustrated and I think she was getting there. I truly believe the reason she denied the request was because there wasn't anybody there who spoke my language clearly and concisely. She spoke it with too many uhs, duhs, and "holl n plezz" or "jes a meenit".


Please don't lose sight of my point though. If I were the owner of an American company selling an item purchased by mostly American born and raised people, and I offered something like customer service over the phone to those same people, I would think, "I'm going to need somebody to answer that line who speaks English." Honestly, isn't that just common sense? Why even offer a service that is likely to cause acrimony? Apparently the people calling are already upset or already have a problem with something I sold them or my company sold them. They might already be angry. There's bound to be frustration. Do I really want to drag this out for them in a situation where one side or the other has to keep repeating themselves? I don't think that's a service at all! And I think they know it. They hire whomever they hired because they can pay those people the least amount of money. Once they sign their paychecks they really don't care if I can understand this person they hired to help me.

 

Later today instead of calling back to NOOK Service I called one of the local stores where I was helped by a delightful young man who spoke clear and concise English. I think I had to ask him twice to repeat himself, but that was no fault of his - someone else in the store was talking at the same time as he was and standing too close to him while doing it. We were on the phone for a very long time and I knew none of the frustration I felt earlier in the day. THAT is Customer Service. He also told me that if I decided to buy another NOOK, if/when I had problems with that to call him. He would help me anytime he could. Chances are good that Barnes and Noble is not paying this man enough money to keep him!! What a shame!

 

How many Americans could be put to work if ALL of these companies moved their customer service back to America and put Americans back to work? And how happy would Americans be if they never again had to call another customer service rep who was located outside of our shores? 

 

Thank You.

 

 

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deesy58
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!


GraciesGoneShopping wrote:

First of all, when I posted this did it enter twice? My apologies to everyone if I did that.

 

@Deesy58:

 

I did request a supervisor, and that request was denied. By the time I made that request I was incredibly frustrated and I think she was getting there. I truly believe the reason she denied the request was because there wasn't anybody there who spoke my language clearly and concisely. She spoke it with too many uhs, duhs, and "holl n plezz" or "jes a meenit".


Please don't lose sight of my point though. If I were the owner of an American company selling an item purchased by mostly American born and raised people, and I offered something like customer service over the phone to those same people, I would think, "I'm going to need somebody to answer that line who speaks English." Honestly, isn't that just common sense? Why even offer a service that is likely to cause acrimony? Apparently the people calling are already upset or already have a problem with something I sold them or my company sold them. They might already be angry. There's bound to be frustration. Do I really want to drag this out for them in a situation where one side or the other has to keep repeating themselves? I don't think that's a service at all! And I think they know it. They hire whomever they hired because they can pay those people the least amount of money. Once they sign their paychecks they really don't care if I can understand this person they hired to help me.

 

Later today instead of calling back to NOOK Service I called one of the local stores where I was helped by a delightful young man who spoke clear and concise English. I think I had to ask him twice to repeat himself, but that was no fault of his - someone else in the store was talking at the same time as he was and standing too close to him while doing it. We were on the phone for a very long time and I knew none of the frustration I felt earlier in the day. THAT is Customer Service. He also told me that if I decided to buy another NOOK, if/when I had problems with that to call him. He would help me anytime he could. Chances are good that Barnes and Noble is not paying this man enough money to keep him!! What a shame!

 

How many Americans could be put to work if ALL of these companies moved their customer service back to America and put Americans back to work? And how happy would Americans be if they never again had to call another customer service rep who was located outside of our shores? 

 

Thank You.

 

 


No, GraciesGoneShopping, you did not post it twice.  I quoted it so that it would be clear what I was replying to.  Many of us do that if we believe another post or two could be inserted between the post we are replying to, and the post we are replying with.  I just did it again.  :smileywink:

 

Tech support reps will often resist a request for an escalation.  It does not bode well for them in their jobs if they are subject to too many escalation requests.  In such a case, it is advisable to be insistent.  If the rep still refuses, take down his/her name and the case number and end the call.  Then call back a little later and immediately ask to be connected to a supervisor.  It is inexcusable that you would not be allowed to speak to a supervisor, although it is not uncommon to be forced to wait "on hold" for several minutes before a supervisor will come on the line.

 

I understand your frustration and, believe me, I can relate.  More than once I have found myself shouting at a tech support rep who knew less about the product and the issues than I did.

 

At one time, all of the tech support call centers were located in the US.  Then, technology exploded.  The United States was not able to train skilled tech support representatives as fast as they were needed.  It is quite difficult to find technically qualified people here in America due to the generally poor and deteriorating quality of our education system.  So ... US manufacturers began "outsourcing" more and more of their technical needs.  Cost is, of course, part of the issue.  But the lack of skilled personnel is an even bigger factor.  No American or European company really wants to alienate its customer base by providing poor service and support.  Unfortunately, many of them have reached the conclusion that they have no other choice. 

 

I used to do customer support over the telephone.  I think I speak pretty good English.  I was born and raised in America.  Times have changed dramatically since I did this kind of work.  The company whose products I supported sold out to a different company.  Competing products became available at lower prices.  The market for my services began to dry up and I sold my business to another person who continued to run it for a couple of years.  I don't know what ultimately happened to it. 

 

You need to understand that those people who have so frustrated you do not work for Barnes and Noble.  They work for technology firms located in Asia that specialize in technical support functions.  They are subcontractors.  It is virtually certain that good language skills are called for in the contracts entered into by these firms and the American manufacturers.  It is not possible, however, for an American firm to police the staff of an Asian support company on a continuing basis.  If a sufficient number of complaints are logged by the Asian firm about a specific technician, that technician will be replaced.  If you do not speak with a supervisor, then no complaint will ever be logged. 

 

You are exactly right about moving customer service and technical support back to the United States.  Would you, or most other Americans, be willing to pay a significantly higher price for your products in exchange for an increased level of tech support?  Would you be willing to pay, on a per-call basis, every time you needed assistance? 

 

It is an imperfect system that will have to do until something better comes along.  :smileysad:

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keriflur
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

The tech support reps are not more highly educated, the system operates the same as it does here in the US, where the first level knows very little and reads from a script, the second level knows a little more, etc.  If these folks were more highly educated, they would be writing code and building apps, not working in a call center.

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kamas716
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!


deesy58 wrote:

At one time, all of the tech support call centers were located in the US.  Then, technology exploded.  The United States was not able to train skilled tech support representatives as fast as they were needed.  It is quite difficult to find technically qualified people here in America due to the generally poor and deteriorating quality of our education system.  So ... US manufacturers began "outsourcing" more and more of their technical needs.  Cost is, of course, part of the issue.  But the lack of skilled personnel is an even bigger factor.  No American or European company really wants to alienate its customer base by providing poor service and support.  Unfortunately, many of them have reached the conclusion that they have no other choice. 



Are you sure about this?  Seems to me that most of the outsourcing was a result of financial considerations rather than educational ones.  I've had family members that worked in customer service call centers.  It was an entry level position with no prior knowledge needed.

 


It is virtually certain that good language skills are called for in the contracts entered into by these firms and the American manufacturers.


 

Having to deal with foreign students/faculty at the local university has proven to me that what may qualify as fluent understanding of language is quite often fudged.  In order to be enrolled or have any teaching duties they need to pass an english proficiency test, yet they can't seem to understand when an officer explains to them why they are getting a ticket (and it's not just cultural differences, they simply can't understand the spoken language).

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deesy58
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!


kamas716 wrote:

Are you sure about this?  Seems to me that most of the outsourcing was a result of financial considerations rather than educational ones.  I've had family members that worked in customer service call centers.  It was an entry level position with no prior knowledge needed.

 


It is virtually certain that good language skills are called for in the contracts entered into by these firms and the American manufacturers.


 

Having to deal with foreign students/faculty at the local university has proven to me that what may qualify as fluent understanding of language is quite often fudged.  In order to be enrolled or have any teaching duties they need to pass an english proficiency test, yet they can't seem to understand when an officer explains to them why they are getting a ticket (and it's not just cultural differences, they simply can't understand the spoken language).


I was a developer and manufacturer of high-tech products.  We investigated the matter of outsourcing our tech support.  We found that, as a general rule, it was easier to find Asians who had a good foundation in Math, Computer Science, Engineering and IT than to find Americans with the same qualifications.  It's not so easy to find such people in the US, and those who are qualified often do not want to do this kind of work.  If they are well-qualified, they have other options and opportunities in America.

 

The Laws of Supply and Demand hold in the labor markets as well as other free markets.  Well-qualified American technical people will not work for the kind of wages, and under the kind of conditions, required to operate an efficient and productive technical assistance call center.  Why would any American producer outsource such a vital aspect of its business to a foreign organization that consistently irritates customers if they could hire Americans for the same, or nearly the same, wage rates? 

 

Entry level personnel in a call center can handle only the most basic of questions and problems.  Very soon, problems arise for which they are unprepared and unqualified to assist.  It makes sense that the second- and third-tier support personnel be located at the same facility.  In the past, some companies tried to locate the different tiers in geographically diverse locations, and to rely on a sophisticated telephone switching system to tie everybody together.  This technique does not appear to be used as much in recent years. 

 

I do not dispute your assertions regarding fudging a knowledge of English.  In fact, the experience of the OP, plus a lot more of us, pretty much confirms what you say.  However, the contracts between an American supplier and an Asian support contractor virtually always stipulates minimum requirements for staffing, and those requirements virtually always require proficiency in the English language.  Shame on the contractor for not making sure that all of its employees are understandable when they speak English, but how would you test that in a place like, say, India?  I might be able to understand an Indian technical support employee perfectly well, despite his/her accent, because I lived in Asia for a time and I am used to hearing such accents.  Somebody else, however, might have great difficulty understanding heavily accented English.  In any event, the person performing the test, in all likelihood, would himself/herself speak English as a second language, so it might be perfectly understandable to him/her.  :smileyfrustrated:

 

 

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deesy58
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!


keriflur wrote:

The tech support reps are not more highly educated, the system operates the same as it does here in the US, where the first level knows very little and reads from a script, the second level knows a little more, etc.  If these folks were more highly educated, they would be writing code and building apps, not working in a call center.


That's an interesting perspective.  Are you suggesting that countries with high population densities like India, China, Taiwan and other Asian countries can provide employment as computer programmers and software engineers to all of their qualified graduates?  Are you aware that many of these countries graduate more technologists than they can employ?  Have you seen and heard about the Americans with Master's degrees and PhDs driving taxicabs because they couldn't find jobs in their chosen professions?  Did you know that there are Medical Doctors in the United States working as housekeepers and security guards? 

 

I think this issue is a bit more complicated that it might appear on the surface. 

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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

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bobstro
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

Didn't someone post recently that Amazon's tech support centers speak "Amercian" English? If so, why does the formula work differently for them?

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Wulfraed
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

JUst as a counter perspective, I would recommend that you never visit a Bay area Fry's Electronics. 95% of the staff will have heavy Philipine or Indian accents. Not just the check out registers, but also the floor staff handling thing like computer memory (it was fun when I doubled the memory of an old Dell system -- I only needed ONE memory module as Dell had done some trick using a dummy card in the second slot to let the system function; store staff insisted I had to buy a pair).

 

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flyingtoastr
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

[ Edited ]

 

If you want US based support you better be willing to shell out a lot of extra money for your toys. American consumers "demand" nil-margin costs for their electronics. At that price, a company can't afford to pay for American call centers and have to outsource to a place where they can get comparable support at pennys on the dollar.

 

If you want US support, vote with your wallet. Buy items from the US with US support and pay the extra 20%.

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keriflur
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

[ Edited ]

flyingtoastr wrote:

 

If you want US support, vote with your wallet. Buy items from the US with US support and pay the extra 20%.


I get US support from Amazon, and it costs less for me to shop there.  So, I should take my business there, is what you're saying?

 

And since it seems some folks are confused, the ability to fluently speak a language has nothing to do with race.

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bobstro
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

[ Edited ]

I generally do pretty well understanding English, regardless of the speaker. The two I've had the hardest time with were a Scott and someone from the deep south. Inability to understand somebody, whether due to dialect, intonation and accoustical qualities of a phone line, does not make one racist. My son has a booming, authoritative voice. Put him on a cell phone, and it's nigh on impossible to understand him due to the limitations of the device.

 

So, FT: What basis do you have for assuming that the OP and the call center folks are of a different race?

 

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keriflur wrote:

flyingtoastr wrote:

 

If you want US support, vote with your wallet. Buy items from the US with US support and pay the extra 20%.


I get US support from Amazon, and it costs less for me to shop there.  So, I should take my business there, is what you're saying?

 

And since it seems some folks are confused, the ability to fluently speak a language has nothing to do with race.


Amazon has been outsourcing their CS to India since 2005.

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keriflur
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!


flyingtoastr wrote:

keriflur wrote:

flyingtoastr wrote:

 

If you want US support, vote with your wallet. Buy items from the US with US support and pay the extra 20%.


I get US support from Amazon, and it costs less for me to shop there.  So, I should take my business there, is what you're saying?

 

And since it seems some folks are confused, the ability to fluently speak a language has nothing to do with race.


Amazon has been outsourcing their CS to India since 2005.


But somehow they manage to speak fluent, American English.  Hmm, so what's B&N's excuse for their CS?

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bobstro
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

flyingtoastr wrote:

Amazon has been outsourcing their CS to India since 2005.

 


I think the OP's issue is inability to understand the tech support people, not where they're located geographically. 

 

 

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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!


keriflur wrote:

 

But somehow they manage to speak fluent, American English.  Hmm, so what's B&N's excuse for their CS?


BN obviously went with a cheaper call center in Indonesia (having a whole lot more money to throw around certainly helps baldy and co). I'm not excusing BN's awful support (it is awful), but unlike Amazon there's a good 30 thousand native American English speakers employed by BN who are just as capable of helping with NOOK problems if you just call or visit them instead.

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GraciesGoneShopping
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

@deesy58

 

I want to clarify something that I thought I had said but obviously didn't. I did ask on more than one occasion to speak with her supervisor. But it quickly became apparent that she was NOT going to transfer the call although when I first asked I could hear her doing some "Uh. Ah, jes a meenit". What she was doing right there was looking around that call room to see who else might be available, and realizing they all spoke the same language she did she refused the transfer request. As her made the request the second time and the third she became more adamant that she wasn't doing it. I asked for her name and got it. I asked her if she had an employee I.D. Number and got that too. She could have transferred my call five times and I never would have spoken to a single person who spoke any better than she did! THAT is why she refused. I felt this at the time the conversation was going on and the gentleman I spoke to at B&N last night confirmed my suspicions. In an ideal situation I would have called back, but I still had the same problems with my NOOK to take care of and I really just wanted to get that done. Had I been the troublemaker some people might think I wanted to be, I would've put my NOOK aside and made that call.  Getting her fired or in trouble was NOT the purpose of my call.

 

I think somehow I've given you the impression that I'm a younger person than I am. I was around when the call centers were located in the United States. I was also here when we trained people to be Customer Service Reps, either at the store in person or on the phone. (I was also one of them.) And I was also here when all of these big companies discovered the money they could save by moving south of the border. My husband of thirty-five plus years lost his job building tires to one of those companies, and he's lost several other jobs since then for the same reason. And while I do agree with a good deal of what you've said, I don't agree that these companies sold out for any other reason than the glorified buck. The almighty dollar. The bottom line. They took their business south of the border because everything there from the employees working the lines to the buildings housing them was cheaper. Why stay here and pay people a decent living wage when you can get people down there to do the same damn thing for peanuts? People will happily live in a dive when that dive is a lot better than some of the other options. So companies here put the land up for sale and the CEO (or the owner) took the business down south and reopened it. And while American sat around and watched, it happened over, and over, and over again. I cannot tell you how many jobs just my husband and I have lost for this reason only.

 

I also disagree with your comment that they don't work for B&N. Come on! The company they work for may in fact be a company from their country, but that company signed a contract with B&N agreeing to supply these people to answer the phones at a cost. And they are billing B&N regularly for that cost. B&N may not directly sign their paychecks, but because of the money they get from B&N they are able to pay these people, so yes, they do work for B&N.

 

Finally, would I be willing to pay more for something to have their customer service located in the United States or to pay a fee every time I called Customer Service? To the first part of that question my answer is no - I may never need Customer Service and shouldn't have to pay a higher cost for those who do. But I would be willing to pay a small fee, something which isn't ridiculous, for every time I needed to call Customer Service. I most certainly would. But for that fee that Customer Service Representative had better be able to speak my language, and that includes slang, and other things known to the citizens of the United States.

 

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GraciesGoneShopping
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Re: Called NOOK Support Twice Today - I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM!!

Yes, this I agree with. What I was told yesterday is that a lot of these people probably hired in as college students. They were given a folder which they were told to learn in a very small amount of time. If they didn't' learn it, they were fired. If they did, they were aloud to stay and might make some money by being Customer Service Reps for American companies. There is very little incentive in not learning what is in that folder. How well you know the contents will determine how long you will be welcome at this job and how well you are able to perform at it. If the company receives complaints about how you do your job, chances are good that you do not know the contents very well, and you either have to pass the phone call on to someone else or you are very slow in helping someone because you are trying to look up the answers as you go along.

 

In this manner foreign countries do appear smarter than we are. They will learn that folder to keep that job. But they are also willing to start out at a job like this for pennies while nobody in America would do this job for minimum wage. If there were a way that foreign citizens could look up what Americans were paid to do this same job and insist on being paid the same, what would happen to these companies? They never would've moved to begin with. It wouldn't be financially beneficial for them to do so.