Calling Bangalore and Chennai

haulin netWindows Automatic Update apparently misconfigured my OS, which then required re-validation after two years of good service. What looked to be a minor inconvenience escalated after Microsoft’s automated helpdesk informed me that my copy of XP was incorrectly installed by the computer manufacturer, HP.

I called HP, whose tech support told me for $50 we could fix the problem.

“No,” I argued. “I have perpetual rights to this copy of XP. I did not cause this problem. I have two Dells and one other HP that are unaffected. I do not need Windows; I can install Fiesty Fawn. And I will never buy another HP.”

Despite my protests, no resolution was reached after a couple of hours and several HP techs: Steve, Anita, Kevin, Bryan, and Shabanna.

I went to bed miffed. When I awoke, I realized I had not yet backed up my recently filed taxes to my external hard drive. What the heck, I thought. It will be worth the fifty bucks to save that data. Then I’ll install Fiesty Fawn.

I called HP again. I told them I was ready to purchase tech support. I could sense their hesitation as they reviewed my call log from the previous night. They said we could resolve the problem and they took my credit card numbers.

After a couple more hours and a couple more techs, I was in worse trouble. They had guided me as far as unseating the battery, thus throwing off time and everything on a computer and the software that is guided by time. Still, I did not have access rights to my copy of XP.

The tech said to bring my PC to a repair shop and have them back-up my data. Then, I have fourteen days to call HP back and they would guide me through starting over.

Flustrated, I gave Microsoft one more call. I worked through to a live voice. She took my product key, acknowledged that it was valid and gave me a new key to unlock my PC. No unseating batteries, no cost.

I was livid! I called HP again and laid into them about their dealings with me. They agreed to credit me for the tech support cost . . . and I insisted they stay on the line until I had all my time-related hardware and software issues resolved.

And now the moral of the story: All the techs were in India. Microsoft’s call center is in Bangalore; HP’s is in Chennai. All but one of the techs had adopted American first names. Some spoke perfect English. Most spoke OK English. But one spoke pitiful English.

In a different day, I might have taken offense at this abomination of customer service. However, I worked hard to communicate with this fellow because the situation required some flat world understanding. (Try relaying a 25-character product key when the only common dialect is English Phonetic Spelling.)

I recognize the emergence of India as an economic super power, the sheer magnitude of its educated class, and the affect of its per capita income on corporate bottom lines.

Postscript: Later while driving my 12-year-old daughter to her orthodontist appointment, I told her I had just spent considerable time on the phone to India.

“Is that where HP is?” she asked.



“Maybe,” I replied. “But they have your jobs. And those jobs are not coming back. You are going to have to be very creative in your pursuits.”


One Response to Calling Bangalore and Chennai

  1. Joe, this story is incredibly funny…now. So my question to you is, “How is Feisty Fawn working out for you? Tried Automatic?”

    BTW, when can we Skype? I want to do a Skypecast on what you’re doing for PD and laptop initiative…you willing?

    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: