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to wish call centre workers would use their real name

(55 Posts)
moogster1a Tue 27-Sep-11 10:19:44

being able to get through to customer services to be able to actually speak to a person is frustrating; to find it's based in India and you can hardly understand the accent is more annoying; but the most annoying thing is when an obviously Indian man tells you his name is Steve. NO IT'S NOT!!!
I now refuse to engage in conversation till they tell me their real name. I also tell them that I'm complaining that the staff aren't allowed to use their real names ( that would really pmo if it was my name).
last week, I was told by "Steve" that my 'phone wasn't registered to me as it was registered to someone else. Ater lots of trying to figure out the name he was saying, he spelt it. The name of the mysterious use of my 'phone..." nonameset".
Please stop pretending these people are based in London. we are not stupid.

Empjusa Tue 27-Sep-11 10:25:49

I agree with you, however I worked for one company where one of the telemarketers was American but with a Chinese name, and he got complaints about his name so often he had to pretend to have an anglicised name instead. So I think there is an element of damned if they do, damned if they don't.

itisnearlysummer Tue 27-Sep-11 10:28:42

Haha, we've had this too.

We've had a Sarah, Michael, James... all very decent "English" names spoken by people with very thick Indian accents.

My DH also refuses to engage with them "now that's not your name is it?" "I know it's the name you've given me, but that's not your actual name".

I think it's various companies' ways of responding to the complaint of phoning their bank etc and only getting through to an Indian Call Centre. They had this great idea that they'd use the same call centres but get them to give English names. That'll fool 'em!

worraliberty Tue 27-Sep-11 10:31:21

If you can't understand their accent, you're hardly likely to understand their real names.

Calling themselves 'Steve' and 'Pam' just cuts down on having to repeatedly spell their names to those who can't understand what they're spelling.

itisnearlysummer Tue 27-Sep-11 10:32:02

Empjusa I've known plenty of people who've 'Anglicised' their name for daily life. That's not an issue for me, and IME it's very common with Chinese people, but it does seem to have become a recent trend for companies to do and I don't think it's anything to do with it making it easier for people to understand the name and is more to do with trying to hoodwink customers.

If I can't understand an Indian call centre workers real name, then the chances are I won't be able to understand anything they are saying!

Stoirin Tue 27-Sep-11 10:33:02

If he told you his name was Gajananvihari you'd need to ask him 10 times and you still couldn't pronounce it.

What interests me is why this is done.

Why should someone pretend their name is Steve? Is it because this has been shown to get better results? Will more people talk to 'Steve' than to Saakaar?

If that' the case, then that's more of a problem than someone calling himself Steve, isn't it?

Or it could be an attempt to convince people that the call centre is based in the UK, I suppose.

Empjusa Tue 27-Sep-11 10:35:56

"Empjusa I've known plenty of people who've 'Anglicised' their name for daily life. That's not an issue for me, and IME it's very common with Chinese people"

Yes, I know. But in this one case, he was told to change his name due to complaints. He didn't do it because he wanted to.

wannaBe Tue 27-Sep-11 10:36:02

I think it's degrading.

Also, while I understand the frustration, I think being rude to the operative isn't the answer - it's not their fault that the company they are working for make such ridiculous demands. And yet they probably need the job.

moogster1a Tue 27-Sep-11 10:36:46

But I'm not going to repeatedly say his name during the conversation. He can say his real name, I say hi, then the conversation continues whether I've completely heard the name right or not.
I detest the fact the companies think we're so stupid I will believe their name.
Try quizzing the people where they live. It's good fun. they say they live in London and know not the first thing about living in England. they are taught basic story lines in eastenders as it's thought this will help them engage with paople here.
Just say your real name and if asked say you are based in Jaipur or wherever.

itisnearlysummer Tue 27-Sep-11 10:37:35

Stoirin Maybe, but then he should use a shortened version of his name. I doubt his family/friends use the full length version every time they speak to him.

I don't think Steve or Michael are short for any Indian names.

NotADudeExactly Tue 27-Sep-11 10:37:56

I used to work for a call centre in the UK that dealt with complaints on behalf of other companies back when I was at uni. We were given the choice of whether or not to use our own names - but hardly anyone did.

There was an official pseudonyms register to ensure information was traceable. To be fair, though, I understand completely why people would use a false name.

The amount of abuse call centre workers get is often simply incredible. People asking you to spell your name for them only to then threaten to kill you for something your client has done is actually really scary until you're used to it. With everyone being on facebook etc. nowadays I understand why workers would not wish to expose themselves in that way.

TBH it doesn't bother me. I can usually tell where they're based due to their accent. If not I can always ask.

Haberdashery Tue 27-Sep-11 10:38:37

YANBU. It's ridiculous. I just feel immensely patronised by the whole business (which I suppose is nothing to what the actual workers probably think of it). It reminds me of those stories about landed gentry calling all gardeners Tomkins because the first one forty years ago happened to be called that and they couldn't be arsed to remember any more names.

worraliberty Tue 27-Sep-11 10:40:23

But you'll no doubt take his name down for further contact and it can be very difficult for them to spell out if they can't pronounce the letters clearly.

Personally, I wish they'd just employ people who can make themselves understood without too much effort.

It's ridiculous to put a person on customer service if no-one can understand a word they're saying.

Embarrassing for both them and the customer.

itisnearlysummer Tue 27-Sep-11 10:41:47

I think it's an attempt to make customers think the company is based in the UK. That's why it irritates me.

I know a lot of Asian people who use shortened versions of their name because it easier for English people to remember/say them. That makes sense. One of my friends has shortened my (very English) name, even though I don't, because she finds it easier to say. But I don't pretend to have a completely new name.

slavetofilofax Tue 27-Sep-11 10:47:26

OP made me laugh.

I agree completely when it comes to this type of call centre, but as someone that has worked on crisis type helplines, I never gave my real name out of choice. It becomes too personal and emotional when someone is facing something hugely traumatic and is begging you to help them using your real name. Totally different situation, I know.

onadifferentplanettoday Tue 27-Sep-11 10:49:25

A few years back I was spending most of my waking moments on the phone to the CSA ,the office for my area is Belfast and I realised one day when looking through a list of the people I had spoken to all had Irish counties as their surnames and an awful lot of them were called Mary!

Mandy2003 Tue 27-Sep-11 10:51:20

I got a Travis the other day - I wondered if they were now going through a list of bands and being allocated names from there smile

Thought I'd try an experiment the other day after the third episode of lumpy internet in as many weeks. I rang and said "My internet's been up and down like a whore's drawers since last night..." To give the Indian guy credit, he wasn't phased by the expression!

worraliberty Tue 27-Sep-11 10:51:22

I don't think it's to make us think they're based in the UK

I live in a London Borough and almost every Asian couple who own an Off Licence or Post Office, are called 'Dave and Sue' or 'Dave and Pam'

It's something they've done round here since the early 70's because they found people had too much trouble pronouncing their names.

DooinMeCleanin Tue 27-Sep-11 10:58:25

It's common not just in call centers. I had a two Thai friends when I was younger, one was for example, Cindy and the other Laura, expect they weren't of course, they were named something utterly unpronounceable to me.

My chinese boss calls himself John. His children have Chinese names and names which they use in their English school. The kitchen staff all seem to like to call themselves James, now that is confusing, considering there are four of them grin

It doesn't bother me that Indian call center staff use English names. It does bother me that English companies are taking their business elsewhere to avoid having to a pay a liveable wage in England and it does bother me when you get through to an foreign call center worker who can barely understand a word you are saying.

Acceptableintheeighties Tue 27-Sep-11 11:00:30

when I worked in a call centre we were not allowed to give our full name for our security but just our first name and ext no if a customer wanted our details. The number of people that were offended because I wouldn't give my surname was incredible.

I am quite happy to have people spell their names, most British names have different ways of spelling them and I check which form someone uses if I need to take their name for further contact.

I am from the west country and have to use the phonetic alphabet when giving my postcode etc as some people have trouble with my accent, and I have always tried hard not to sound too broad!

It's the blatant way of trying to con the consumer that's irritating. Either be upfront about where the call centre is or if you really think your customers want a uk call centre, then have it here!

I don't care where it is as long as I can understand what the person is saying, they can understand me and my problem gets sorted quickly and easily.

Stoirin Tue 27-Sep-11 11:02:08

So they should shorten their names to accomodate you, but not anglicise them to accomodate their employers? And thats not patronising? hmm

I used to work in call centres (foreign to customer base) and never used my own name. I didn't want to, it was much easier for me. I woud imagine its much the same for those in indian call centres. They don't want to share their rich cultural heritage with you, they want you to shut up and fuck off on the whole.

TheLadyEvenstar Tue 27-Sep-11 11:08:16

I just spoke to sky indian call centre and spoke to .........Elvis errr ok

Aimsmum Tue 27-Sep-11 11:09:03

This is something that annoys me too.

However, my friend recently started work in a travel agents in this country and was told on her first day that there was someone else in the office with the same first name as her so she would have to change her name. So she was given an email address, badge, business cards etc all with her new name and everyone in work calls her it, very bizarre! I mean how hard would it be to distinguish between them by using surnames or the fist letter of the surname??

ColdToast Tue 27-Sep-11 11:10:17

I don't mind people changing their names in call centres where the calls are incoming. What I do object to though is when I get cold callers from overseas using fake names while expecting me to give out my details.

Only two weeks ago I had a cold-call woman asking me what my name and address was. I told her I'd be happy to tell her if she told me what hers was. She hung up. hmm

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