Thursday, April 17, 2008

You mean to tell me the XBL Call Center isn't in India or the Philippines? BS!

I call bullshit.

So for the past several months I've been charged on my credit card, for the Phantasy Star Universe Guardian membership... a game I haven't played in well... several months! I just never got around to playing it as much as I had wanted to, and I was always lazy to cancel the membership. Until today that is. Being that I'm in a position to rid myself of CC debt, I decided to get my financial shit together and pay off the remaining balance. All the stuff I bought online, and at restaurants that only take cash or credit, GONE. Credit clean! And then there was the 16 bucks being charged every month that kept haunting me from PSU, that I should cancel.

I call up the 1800 whatever xbox number. Being that I've never called the line before I didn't know what to expect. Some surfer dude who sounds like he came from MTV lent his voice to the pre-recorded phone menu. Pretty funny how they get a voice to relate to the young people calling, and it actually responded to voice commands. After a bit of a wait, I was connected to an actual person.

Now I have nothing against accents, but with the popularity of outsourcing call centers these days, one has to assume the the call center they're speaking with is a world away. The guy on the other line clearly had a non-north-american-english-as-a-second-language accent, and he was trying to disguise it to pass off as a regular West coast English voice (whatever that is). But it was pretty difficult for him to do so. Sometimes I could barely understand what the heck he was saying.

After an exchange of security questions/answers, I finally had my PSU membership canceled, and I hungup. So I do a quick search online for anything that would shine some light on the call centers Microsoft uses and I found this.

The call centers apparently are in Austin, with other offices in New Zealand and Australia... of course the official XBOX site posts a story about visiting a call center to make us the consumers more comfortable by putting a face to the people behind the scenes who deal with our account information.

While I don't believe people should all speak like they all came from California, or eliminate their own accents to fit in with society, I do understand the psychology behind the call centers needing to fit in, as to make the caller feel more comfortable on the line. I remember seeing a documentary on the CBC called Bombay Calling, which pretty much explained the whole scenario.

I never asked where the dude was based, but he definitely sounded Filipino, like one of my uncles. He could be based in Austin, Australia, or New Zealand... or maybe they opened up an office in Manila. You never know.

Here's a video about a call center., unrelated to Microsoft or XBOX Live.

No comments: