Ask LH: What Can I Do When A Call Centre Can’t Understand Me?

Ask LH: What Can I Do When A Call Centre Can’t Understand Me?

Dear Lifehacker, I have desperately been trying to contact Adobe over a problem with my Creative Cloud account. I figured support would be local (I thought that was a justification for the higher price). However, the call centre is in India. I have had excellent service from Indian call centres before, but here I’m stuck : no matter how hard I try to spell it out they cannot understand my email address. They tell me to hang up and try again. What can I do? I can’t find anybody local to talk to. Thanks, Can’t Get Through

Dear CGT,

We can offer both some specific advice for your situation and some general hints. For Adobe, you have two other possibilities to establish contact (and pass on your email address): the Adobe Online Chat page and the Adobe ANZ Facebook page. In this context, online chat is a better choice, since you probably don’t want to post your email address on a public Facebook page.

If you’re having difficulty getting in touch with a call centre or being understood, then looking for online alternatives is a sensible alternative strategy. As well as the company’s own site, check for Facebook and Twitter options. While many problems will ultimately require a phone call to resolve, being able to establish basic contact through other means can be helpful, especially in a situation like this where it’s just one key piece of information you can’t convey.

If phone is the only contact method and you can’t be understood, it’s entirely reasonable to ask to be transferred to someone else, or to a supervisor. As with any call centre discussion, the key is to stay polite and stay calm. Don’t make angry, abusive or racist comments; none of those will help to get your problem solved.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • If you’ve called multiple times, try asking for a supervisor, or even ask them if they can call you back.
    Trunking to overseas contact centres is often a mess of multiple carriers and VOIP solutions, sometimes crossing the globe more than once. It’s not uncommon for Australian calls to get to India via the US. Whereas their return call to you is often on a more direct route

  • Simple – just spell out your email address using the phonetic alphabet:
    Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta Echo Foxtrot Golf Hotel India
    Juliet Kilo Lima Mike November Oscar Papa Quebec Romeo
    Sierra Tango Uniform Victor Whiskey Xray Yankee Zulu

  • Completely agree with the phonetic alphabet suggestions. Also don’t just think the call centre is in India just because you spoke to someone of that Origen. I have worked for a couple of call centres with multinationals litres but all been based here in aus.

    Also be careful with your tone, obviously email doesn’t have a tone but you go I to the call thinking another Indian call Center they may have issues understanding you due to the anger I. Your voice as they might have just as much trouble with our accent as we may do with theirs.

  • The Adobe call centre is definately in India. At a company called 24/7 in Bangalore… I know because i am here right now training a team for an Australian Telco and have to walk past the Adobe team every morning.

  • Just because they’re Indian doesn’t mean the call centre is in India – it might be, but that’s not a 100% clue to say that it is. My friend worked in an Australian based call centre – over half the staff were Indian, and about half of the rest weren’t native Australian speakers – they had foreign accents.

  • What can you do? Stop buying there products. There plenty of software alternatives out there. The sad thing is it seems the way most companies are going everything is eventually outsourced as a means of reducing costs.

    Outsourcing jobs to cheaper labour markets doesn’t bother me so much as everyone needs a job…. what bothers me is companies expecting to same level of service and not paying for it.

    • I’d struggle to name “plenty” of Adobe software alternatives out there. Sure, there’s GIMP as an alternative to Photoshop, but software such as Dreamweaver and Lightroom are hard, if not impossible to match

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