A Procrastinator's Journal

Thinking aloud…

Arrogant americans abusing Indian call-center workers

with 35 comments

The SF Chronicle has published an article on how Indian call-center workers suffer abuse from irate callers from USA. It makes an interesting reading on the reactions to outsourcing. Quoted from the article, some racist comments by callers:

The caller greeted her with a torrent of racial and sexual slurs, accused her of “roaming about naked without food and clothes” and asked, “What do you know about computers?” The diatribe ended with the comment:”This company is just saving money by outsourcing to Third World countries like yours.”

The less favorable view, though, is beginning to seep into Indian popular culture. The scripts for a new sitcom called “The Call Center,” scheduled to air this winter on the leading channel NDTV, depict Westerners as arrogant, immoral and comically rude.

One of the episodes recreates a real-life exchange that occurred in January between an American and an Indian agent that has become notorious among the call center crowd here. On the Philadelphia radio show “Star and Buc Wild,” host Troi Terrain phoned an Indian call center pretending to order hair beads for his daughter. The call quickly turned vicious.
“Listen to me, you dirty rat eater,” Terrain growled, to muffled laughter in the studio. “I’ll come out there and choke the — out of you. You’re a filthy rat eater. I’m calling about my American 6-year-old white girl. How dare you outsource my call?”

The complete article here: Outsourcing Outrage

I am surely going to watch this program on NDTV if I get to.

I have another issue with the way call-centers (whether Indian or not) work. The person who takes the call has little authority (decision-making power as well as command over the topic). I, as a user, would first try to find solutions myself, or do the preliminary investigation over the net, before calling the call-center.

When the person on phone repeats the same things that I already know (despite being told so), it is the most irritating part. And finally since the person taking care of my problem is someone else (who’s hidden from me, the call center people refuse to give their contacts), I don’t have anyone to hold responsible for, if my problem is not solved. I have rarely been able to get my problems solved through a call to a call-center (within India). I still believe in the old-fashioned across-the-counter/letter/email way of doing things!

Coming back to outsourcing of call-center work, I believe we Indians are fairly good at understanding others’ problems and solving them. Why? I am not claiming that we are a superior race — just that we are products of a chaotic system, a fact which aids development of troubleshooting capabilities.

From whatever little I know about outsourced call-center workers, they are not expected to apply their own mind, and operate according to a fixed set of rules: see if there is a ready solution for the problem already entered in the system. If not, refer the problem to your supervisor, who will follow the same procedure.

So this is not a problem of competence, but just cultural/social/economical/racial problem.

Someone should do a discourse analysis of the media coverage of outsourcing, as well as the conversations during the calls themselves. It’ll surely be one of the most interesting research topics! 🙂



Written by ppatil

November 18, 2005 at 1:22 pm

35 Responses

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  1. Hmmm… I think it would be in bad taste if I left a comment on this one! 😦


    November 18, 2005 at 1:36 pm

  2. “When the person on phone repeats the same things that I already know (despite being told so), it is the most irritating part.”

    Because the person from the call center is using a computer trouble shooting software often I am 10 steps ahead of them on the phone. I have already tried all of the obvious stuff, yet am forced to “go along” with their suggestions or they get lost!

    ” I have rarely been able to get my problems solved through a call to a call-center (within India).”

    Within India or not, I have very rarely ever gotten the problem solved period! Unless it involves the nuclear-bomb approach of a re-format most problems have no solution according to the call centers for Gateway & Dell. I have spent literally days on the phone and in the end they give me the choice- Live with it or Re-Format. A call to the local computer guru and a $75.00 house call and he has it going in less than an hour!

    The computer world is a whole different ball game compared to any other when it comes to Customer Support. If other merchandise worked this way the Federal Government would never allow it here in the USA.

    Jeffrey Slocum

    November 20, 2005 at 1:20 am

  3. Evil Indian Outsourcing

    Another persepctive on outsourcing…

    Thought Leadership

    January 1, 2006 at 2:28 pm

  4. We don’t outsource to India but have definitely thought about it. With how little they pay workers over there, I feel that we would be contributing to sustaining a poor culture.

    Internet Answering Service

    February 6, 2006 at 9:10 pm

  5. A classic example of this is the Dell Support Center located in India. Majority of the calls they receive are from India. The support center is blamed for not providing adequate information, their accents, taking their own sweet time and the lack of pro-active support. Well , I have one question. Isnt it Dell’s resonsibilty to provide them with all they need. People calling up should abuse the companies and not the agents. For outsourcing voice, chat, email or back-office support, visit the website http://callcenter.ramshyam.com

    Customer Service

    May 23, 2006 at 12:42 pm

  6. I love my country, but I know that other Americans are often rude to people in service jobs. No matter how frustrated or irritated I am I try to be especially nice to people in minimum wage jobs or a call center in a country disrespected for its poverty.

    I can’t understand why people feel so threatened by people from India. They look up to us and are perhaps one of our last true allies on the planet. Those call center employees have dreamed of being able to help Americans with their computer. I’m sure they innocently thought that we would all be nice, refreshing, and fun like our celebrities in the movies they watch. The upside is that we’ve spared some poor high school kid in Houston from the same ego-eroding tyrades and humiliation. It would be interesting if we could also give the call center employee quality assurance, tape-record every racist ventor and send a copy to their respective boss, family, and spiritual leader.


    October 8, 2006 at 5:59 am

  7. I think many Americans are rude because we spend plenty of money on the items we are calling about and than we have to wait forever to get through to an actual human being. Finally someone is on the other end and than you have the major problem…you can’t understand each other! Nobody has time or tolerance to constantly repeat over and over again so basically it is just a HUGE waste of time and money. People become furious and that is were the abuse happens. Companies think they save money outsourcing but it hurts the customer which is why they are in business in the first place.


    July 16, 2007 at 8:33 pm

  8. Larry Silverstein along with Bush Wanker & Co. who was paid by the SAudis planted explosives in all 3 WTC buildings and Pentagon. Should I continue or will you go to http://www.youtube.com and search for “911 videos”?


    July 21, 2007 at 4:16 am

  9. USA to me feels like a Third World country. I came from East Europe and I feel superior over Americans (and at some degree to West Europeans). I’m better educated, I dress better, I’ve seen life, I’m stronger, I’m not fat, I’m not dumb, I’m used to excellent services and huge selection of quality goods in my country in Eastern Europe, our women are by far superior to American fat arrogant overpriced ignorant retarded pigs. I feel like God in USA. And most of Americans hate me for that. They know I’m superior to them and they lick my ass to get closer to me.

    Dude from the East

    July 21, 2007 at 4:19 am

  10. Fuck Indian Call Centers. If I want to talk to an Indian who speaks poor broken English, I’ll call a curry diner and order take out. In the mean time, when I call a US based financial institution about a US only issued credit card, I want to speak with someone fluent in my language. I’m going to start boycotting US companies that outsource their call centers abroad, I’m sick of this shit. What is the world coming to when a guy can’t even get some basic intelligible information about his bank account over the phone.

    Ari Goldstein

    October 6, 2007 at 2:41 pm

  11. I hate Americanos who talk of democracy and freedom peace terrorism and all that bullshit There is no democracy if they force one upon other to Suite them American, freedom! What freedom? all they want is freedom for them as long as other are suppressed. Peace! What peace? They don’t mind their business in their country and frame up other country where is WMD what a fabrication and bulling UN, thousands innocent are being killed every day by them NOW what for they have done nothing wrong to Americans they are making terrorist (I call them victim, ordinary people who are suppressed and demoralised) BUT Indian (not Asian) will love USA, kiss the ass, if staunch racist goes to India they will kiss his feet (just because if that person is WHITE) this is fact, American know how they treated them in cold war yet they Just love them guys man I hate call centres and I am an Indian


    October 17, 2007 at 5:45 pm

  12. What the hell is this? You call someone and they try to help you out and when it doesn’t work out you call them names and abuse them. Do you think they are robots and have they ever guaranteed you americans arrogant liars and war-makers that they can solve ALL your pitiful and shameless problems. Americans are arrogant bullshits, they are on a fall…they are jealous and envy is their food. India and China is rising and that sents down a shivering warning down the spines of americans, “Dont mess with us”


    November 11, 2007 at 8:56 pm

  13. About the language….India is the largest english speaking nation in the world….most of the guys in the call centres do know better english than many stupid americans. English is not the first-language of India and yet american bullshits want everyone to speak their language when they dont even know how to speak proper english themselves. I know many english speaking guys who dont know how to spell properly. Americans dont have shame…they are the most hated arrogant people in the world. These bullies will learn their lesson one day.


    November 11, 2007 at 9:03 pm

  14. Why do american think that their english is the best in the world ? Did you know that indians have consistently finished top in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.How many americans can even spell america correctly. Indians have better grammar and spelling skills than Americans. There were three Booker prize winners from India in the past decade. How many Americans can speak a second language whereas most indians can speak 3 languages …..Indians are not idiots and are as smart hardworking and educated as most Americans. Indians community is the most well-off ethnic community in USA. A sizeabble percentage of NASA scientists are indians. Most Call centre workers have a college degree , some even have engineering degrees. Americans are highly xenophobic….if they want to survive in a globaly competitive world , they will have to learn a lil modesty and tolerance .they will have to learn to compete rather than show contempt ….and yes american accented english doesnt sound sophisticated …it sounds outright funny …..british english is sophisticated…and yes we are not rat eaters …most indians are pure vegetarians …they dont even have eggs .


    December 13, 2007 at 1:40 pm

  15. Why are Americans “arrogant” because they hate outsourced customer service?

    It is time for Americans to stand up and tell American corporations they will no longer be taken for granted and forced to talk to Apu (fake anglo call center name= Pete Smith) when they should be talking to a native American speaker in their part of the country.

    Maybe it will take racist rants and angry callers to make corporate America wake the F up and treat their customers with a small amount of dignity!

    —-Ray Parker,

    one of America’s last union workers

    Ray Parker

    January 17, 2008 at 3:43 am

  16. Its not the question Why do Americans hate call centres .
    I am in United States working here.
    The first question they ask me where has this call gone?Who am I? Why do they have to ask me all this.When i mention to them i work here in US and respond to them with basic ethics…why do they not have the courtesy to continue with the call…many have just hung up on my face or mention Good bye.Its hurting..Disgusting Im
    Cant these phony arrogant people have the basic respect and knowledge to respect another individual.So rules change when it comes to their part.Ridiculous!!!

    there are some guys who just laugh over the phone and tell me stop twisting your tongue and stop answering calls…These guys are sick in mind.What should we call them…Ignorent racists.

    they can respect a dog and not a human being.Mean people.

    whatever glitters is not gold…This is the lesson…these type of sick men wouldnt have contributed much to the country too.They think by avoiding they are patriots.Silly .

    Their own people are making money by outsourcing and here they get angry on callcentres which have been outsourced.

    I do find here in malls people call themselves US citizens but still they havnt lost their tradition by speaking their own native country language…from grand parents -parents -kids…They still follow the tradition.they do ask me whether our people still speak our language.

    Why do they have to show as if Engligh has to be spoken in that particular style.

    Atleast the call centre people have the patience and talent to handle calls with diffenrent styles…Here these guys think as if call centre guys might misuse their personnel data…rubbish…

    There are more Identity theives here than in an outsourced country.These arrogant type hypocrites should not forget this.

    Even if Engligh is not my native language…to my knowledge I have never had a miscommunication problem though I dont have the so called accent .

    If incase Americans have a problem in speaking with a non native person,they can go and ask their establishments Why in the first place they have to outsource.Who is profitted the most?

    If the understanding is because of cheap labour it is outsourced..then the people who are outsourcing are cheap in mind…they themselves are not interested in promoting American economy.


    January 24, 2008 at 10:44 pm

  17. I work in a Canadian Call Center. I was born in Canada. I am a mix of Irish, British, Scottish and Romanian. When you call me and talk like that Mentally Challenged idiot, I will try to get you on track with your reason for calling, once and only once. If you persist in being a racist pig…then you get a disconnect.


    February 21, 2008 at 1:02 am

  18. i work in a us based call center in india, i’v gone through all the articles pasted above ..
    i know many guys would not beleave me but if you will try and help these american guys they will really admire your work besides where you are what u do..


    April 27, 2008 at 6:16 am

  19. There are multiple angles to this issue. I do not mean to offend anyone, these are simply some observations I have made…

    1.) The Hindi-based languages are very different from English, so these is naturally some language-barriers that need to be remedied. Perhaps support can be rendered via email.

    2.) The people they have working in these call centers are not educated enough in the field they are working in… For example I called HP because I need the cable that goes from the inverter in the LCD panel to the notebook, and the lady was recommending the power-adapter to me, and didn’t understand what I was requesting. Another example: I was trying to dismount a Dell HDD from a computer(Dell’s use custom mounts and stuff), the person got all of my contact info wrong, and by the time he was able to assist me I had discovered I forgot a hidden screw was still in it.

    3.) In defense of the call-centers, many Americans are very rude to them, and do in-fact “abuse” them. I have never disrespected the call-center personnel as I would probably not have the patience to do that job, so I respect that…

    Francis G

    May 2, 2008 at 11:47 pm

  20. Americans (that’s me) should not extend their frustration to personal attacks on call center agents. PERIOD

    As to the quality of the English language spoken, it is not the American’s issue if the English is not proper. It is the customer that is to be catered to – not the other way around. I believe a major part of Americans detest for dealing with an Indian call center is the severe lack of “communication”. I once spent 15 minutes with an Indian call center agent arguing that she had resolved my problem because her script said so. Forget that the customer is telling you “I am looking at it and the problem is still here” This was the 16th call or Tech Support for the same problem where every agents insisted that I walk through their script steps even though they were told “been there, done that, many times”

    Its not that we dislike Indians. We are frustrated by the inability to communicate with the person on the other end of the phone and not getting our issue resolved.


    May 12, 2008 at 10:18 pm

  21. I worked in Tech support for 3 years and have been in the Industry for 8 years.I worked entirely in India for Amrican companies.

    First let me make it clear.The “scripts” which the agents use is also provided by the company which outsources it.
    They usually record calls for quality assurance and when they find that an agent did not follow the script even if the issue is resolved they take it seriously.

    As for the issue of stealing American jobs or undermining American economy.Many have got it wrong.First the American shareholders of the company profit by outsourcing.This raises the quality of life in the outsourced country who inturn prefer Kellogs for breakfast,Coke to quench the thirst ,gillette for shaving,Lee Cooper for wearing,IPod for music and Budweiser for weekend party etc….Guess where the money goes.It goes back to American economy.

    As for the quality of service from the Indian Call Centres.
    Yes it needs to improve. service industry as whole is not matured in India as yet. In many companies (Non IT) people do not treat customers with care.They are not service oriented.Most of the companies are profit oriented.If they are service oriented profits evidently would follow.There is definitely an improvement area.

    Switching to email support wont do any good either.Many times I encountered, due to cultural differences the way each party interprets the mail is quite different. As simple gesture of courtesy of an American thanking the agent will be taken by the agent as ” Customer Delight” and creating a false sense of quality service.

    Well I am tired now.will post later if possible.


    May 13, 2008 at 2:21 am

  22. Welcome to the club. Americans abuse American call center agents too. You have been initiated, congrats. 🙂


    August 21, 2008 at 5:37 pm

  23. I had a call on my land line at about 9.30pm, call was from India call centre, caller ID as International caller, male caller on contact started giving instructions as follow

    Caller: what’s yo name
    I: ……….
    Caller: speak clearly to me
    I: I have spoken clearer as I possibly can what is the nature of your Call?
    Caller: none of your business to ask me
    I: if you do not tell me then I am not interested in talking to any one at this hour of night
    Caller: Listen Buddy boy
    I: don’t buddy me
    Caller: I will buddy you ..Buddy, Buddy, Buddy and buddy..

    At this I hung up

    He called me again and this how it went:-
    Caller: how dare you hung up on me
    I did not answer
    Caller: hay You speak to me now
    I: you are rude and I do not intend to speak you
    Caller: you will speak to me
    I: and How?
    Caller: I have your name and your full address with postcode
    He started reading my address and at the end said “ I have your full details, I will come or send some one to kill you, I will dam kill you

    I hung up

    I am concerned about my details in hand of such people
    I am old and disabled and frightened with such calls


    August 25, 2008 at 10:47 pm

  24. General Americans are soo arrogant. They dont realize that they are really dumb ( dont understand anything). They have extreme self vanity(false) for which they are always in problem. Look at the law and order system >very strict and ruthless. No way of correction. This law and order system is best suited for wild animals. Then think of them what they are . I lived in Europe and USA both places.


    December 11, 2008 at 8:16 pm

  25. Ok Let me continue . I was tired other day and discontinued. Probably American do not have any idea how eupropeans hate them > I think this is so much true that americans are being hated by rest of that world for their arrogant nature. Eeen look at thie domestic life., cihildren are extreme arrogant, dont listen to their parent. Of course whom to listen.. If they have proper parents. Type in google ” The other Woman” in google. Look at their nature and behaviour and you can see whay their society is lhorrible. there was a news that teenage girl being slapped by her father for not studying( she never used to listen) called 911 and got beloved DAD to put in 6 months jail. BULLSHIT. THAT GIRL DOES NOT DESERVE TO LIVE. Ok let them do whatever they like. I taught in a Univ for sometime and I had horrible experience. Most students are EXTREMELY CUNNING in falsly getting mark, , fwhen they see Indian teacher ( so educated and speaking english so elegantly), they feel frustrated and behave soo erratically in the classroom. One of them ( I heard) talking to other like” I am from New York and you know have no patience” I feel like BULL. I dont like student like you BULL. I lived in Italy for 3 years. And I have seen them so civilized, humble., respect for other. And at that time I heard from them how they hate Americans ( just for their arrogant nature). This arroagnt race should disappear from this World like Dinausaur fight in fluture. Extreme shrewd, Extreme cunning, arrogant whatever adjective -or negative quality just name it., All these fit them. One of friend mentioned about their so strict law and order system. You will not see any correction in their law, only very very harsh punishment. This best suits wild animal. You will never try to pat a wild animal , rather chain them. Of course it is not their fault. This is in their gene. Who will teach them. They parents/grand parent behave same way. These race will not survive. Look at the arrogant roman history. Totally abolished. History says, only convict, pirate these type of people came, killed red Indian and setlte here. Look at their background. One of my american collegue was saying that his brother was in Europe tour and made a comment about Britsh people that ” They only know how to suffer”. I must stop now.


    December 18, 2008 at 4:56 pm

  26. Let see how the Americans react when the chinese get them. Soon they will be learning chinese . it may be a good idea to star learning now, looking at the way your economy is going.

    smart chick

    August 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm

  27. indians are the most arrogant people in the world.
    only a few poor/young indians are humble and that’s only because a rich/old indian abuses them.


    February 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm

  28. Indian offshore call centers ‘not doomed’
    Offshore call centers are expected to continue growing, despite the fact that some companies are bringing their customer care services back home.

    Quality Inbound Processes Through Call Centers

    Inbound call center attends to all the needs of the customers. Many customers are calling the Company to assist them in proper working of the product or services. Such services are made available to the client’s customers through inbound call centers. Executives at call center are working day and night for the benefit of the customer. Many off-shore companies have night when its day in India. Then the executives have to work in the night to serve their customers in their day. Such facilities are available in Call Center India only…


    April 8, 2010 at 6:36 am

  29. […] what I mean. These people are terribly low on self-esteem because they spend all their time being pulled down by their American callers, and so they try to be nasty to […]

  30. americans are pissed because you Indians invaded our country that we build and destroyed and robbed our country. and no, we didn’t rob you first: that was Britain 200 years ago. and no, you were never the richest country on earth – that is a lie your corrupt govt had to tell you to cover up for the fact that it wasted 50 years on failed communism. if you have been the richest country you would have built ships and come to America first.

    but you didn’t. Or couldn’t.


    September 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  31. People feel threatened by India because everywhere you people go you cause economic collapse. Problem is, you’re so delusional you actually think other countries need you.


    September 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm

  32. I have worked in Technical Support for many, many years. In my experience, Indian Tech Support Reps are so incompetent they should not be allowed to even LOOK at a computer. Time and time again I have seen them mess up a customer’s computer and then dump that poor soul onto paid support’s lap. They lie to our faces, steal from customers (I personally have gotten many of the fired for scams they ran on customers at Dell), cannot do a simple phone transfer without disconnecting the customer, and if worthlessness and piss poor work ethics were Olympic events, Indian Tech Support would take the gold medal every time.

    But, I have a solution. All I need to fix the sheer incompetence of Indian Tech Support is a round trip plane ticket to India and a baseball bat. After the first person was rendered a cripple, I am confident the others would suddenly learn how to do their job.


    August 1, 2012 at 2:04 am

  33. Deserve it. Majority of people in call centers in india are at best, and mostly downright dishonest. Deliberately hanging up on customer to avoid cancellations, performing every dirty trick to reach sales target. Generally quite an untrustworthy race.


    June 29, 2013 at 1:09 pm

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