What to do when your ISP off-shores tech support

Jay Hennigan jay at west.net
Sat Dec 27 18:42:03 UTC 2008

Skywing wrote:
> I find those speech recognition menus quite annoying.  American Airlines has one that's just not good enough over a lower bitrate cell voice link in a crowded situation when you're trying to determine what's the deal with cancelled flights or whatnot along with everyone else in the plane.  Always have to waste a minute for it to decide that it's going to punt to a real person.  It would be nice if there was a way to bypass it.


> Jay wrote:
>> But, the reason that US-based $TELCO and $CABLECO use off-shore tech 
>> support is that they don't want to pay for the training and supervision 
>> to do it right in-house. 
> Jay, that's an interesting misstatement.  It implies that they're going to
> be paying a lesser rate to do it right somewhere else, which typically does
> not seem to be what happens.

Perhaps my wording didn't convey my meaning.  They don't care about 
doing it right nearly as much as they care about doing it cheap.  This 
often means outsourced, which often means offshore.

>> The same person diagnosing your IP routing 
>> issues may indeed be asking, "Would you like fries with that?" thirty 
>> seconds later. [1] 
> Does Bronco actually do that?  :-)

They actually do outsourced offshore order-taking for fast food 
drive-through restaurants.  Several big-name chains in fact.  And 
they're quite good at it, the customer probably doesn't know.  Whether 
the same people also answer the phones for $TELCO and $CABLECO, I don't 

>> And they are afraid to admit (or don't realize) that they are not 
>> capable of complicated problem solving.  They're following a script, 
>> just like the fast food order-takers. 
> Don't-realize.  The number of times I've been talked down to by people who
> don't have any clue what the "4" in "IPv4" means is depressingly high.  I
> do not need to reboot my Windows PC to know that the DHCP answer my UNIX
> box is getting from the DHCP server, dumped in gory detail, is providing an 
> IP address in a prefix that's not appearing in the global routing table now.
>> Or maybe they don't have the 
>> authority to escalate it to someone with clue, even if/when they do 
>> realize they're over their heads.
> That's definitely a problem.

Yep.  I suspect it's a culture of "What are we paying you for if you 
can't solve the problems?" aimed at the scripted call center people. 
Call center work is a miserable job. The people are thoroughly timed and 
scrutinized, graded on the number of calls they take per hour, time on 
the phone to each caller (less is better), etc.  Automated metrics with 
the goal of pushing as many calls at as few people as possible.  I 
wouldn't be surprised if many of them are penalized for escalating issues.

>> The interesting thing about your experience is that your service 
>> problems resulted in an up-sell, but only because you were persistent 
>> enough to fight through the system. 
> Plausible interpretation, but not really accurate.  An upsell would
> normally be convincing someone to buy something that they would not
> otherwise have thought to be useful; is it really an "upsell" when
> you fail to advertise your new service offerings on your web site, 
> and so leave your potential business customers with the impression 
> that the only offerings you have are the same in-excess-of-T1 prices
> that you offered last time they talked to you?

You remained a customer and signed up for for a higher tier of services 
at increased cost based on a conversation with a clueful person, and you 
were only able to reach that person after some persistence.  How many 
others gave up before getting that far and went elsewhere?

Jay Hennigan - CCIE #7880 - Network Engineering - jay at impulse.net
Impulse Internet Service  -  http://www.impulse.net/
Your local telephone and internet company - 805 884-6323 - WB6RDV

More information about the NANOG mailing list