Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The title to this post is a famous quote from Cool Hand Luke.  It was said by the warden.  He was not referring to language differences.  I am. 

We have a rental property which was, as I have written recently, damaged by pot-growing tenants.  As a consequence, we made an insurance claim.  The adjuster sent us a check.  The check is payable to my wife and me, of course, as we are the policyholders.  However, the house has a mortgage, so another payee is on the check — the mortgage company, as “an additional insured.”  Therefore, that third payee has to endorse the check for it to do us any good.  

Now, if the mortgage was held by a local bank, as is the mortgage on the ranch, we could go to the bank and have an authorized officer of the bank endorse the check in order for us to have the money for the agreed repairs.  Sadly, our mortgage on the rental house was sold to a lender we do not know, which is headquartered in another state, and which, obviously, is staffed by persons for whom English is not their primary language.  Apparently, the customer service department has been out-sourced to another continent.  I whispered to Miss Sugar, “This gal ain’t from around these parts.”

Before the politically correct amongst us attack me for a failure to value diversity, allow me to point out that the purpose of a customer service department is to, well, serve customers.  When the service is performed by the telephone, it is valuable to speak the same language.  I don’t mind (most) accents.  I even kinda prefer Southern accents, based on having married a Texas bride.  I can understand Boston, New York, and Joisey accents.  I can understand the Fargo accent in the movie of that name.  I usually understand those who speak English with a Spanish accent.  I cannot identify the accent of the lady who was in our mortgage company’s service department, which is why I truly believe that she is presently in another continent, not that she came from a faraway land and culture, but she is clearly still there, yet has been hired to help, via telephone, customers in America, 

Miss Sugar took the phone and sweetly tried to obtain the address where we were to send the insurance check for endorsement and to inquire about the process and whether it may be expedited.  The two ladies talked for several minutes.  Sugar tried to write information on a sheet of paper.  I noticed that Sugar repeated herself a lot.  Poor Sugar, the mortgage lady does not speak Texan.  I doubt she understood, “Ah preciate y’all’s hep.” 

Sugar endeavored to repeat the spelling of the street name; however, to do so, it is vital that the letters of the alphabet be mutually understood. 

We have some information.  It is not entirely reliable.  I am not clear on whether the check is to go to Ohio or Iowa.  Miss Sugar cannot say for certain; i.e. “shuh.” 

Maybe we should just put Pakistan on the envelope and hope it gets to the proper person in Customer Service. 

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6 thoughts on “What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

  1. I’ve experienced this ‘lack of communication’ many times. If I am a citizen of the United States of America, dealing with a company supposedly in the United States of America, I expect the person in customer service to speak English–clearly. So, sue me. I learned the hard way in dealing with Dell computers that customer service originates from India. The next time I had an issue with my Dell computer, I did a ‘Live Chat’. This way, all communication had to be typed, we communicated successfully.

  2. If this wasn’t so darn sad, it would be hilarious … your story reminded me of this http://youtu.be/AW1Hj4eSlIA … maybe it’ll cheer you and Sugar up a little (no worries, it’s Christian comedy … and even funny!)

  3. Too funny. Trying to discuss matters of business to customer service reps can be quite an adventure. Half the time I have no idea what they’re saying. There’s been a couple of times where I’ve gotten off the phone with someone, just so I could call again hoping for a different rep. Being a Texan (now residing in CO), I too love southern accents. Always reminds me of home.

  4. I also find that the foreign customer service agents are very unyielding. They stick to the script. I used to work in CS for an insurance company that “let us go” (fired us) and outsourced our jobs. Why? They didn’t have to pay as many benefits to foreigners as to Americans. Part of the problem has been brought on by the greed of American labor unions. I did not need all the benefits the company offered and would have kept my job without the extras, but not so my co workers, so, there went my job. . . and your understanding service.

  5. Joan/Ron on said:

    HI Alan,

    We had this problem several years ago when trying to obtain computer information and sure enough it turned out to be a “service representative” from India. Someone told us they had this same experience and called back and insisted they be to connected to a service representative in the U.S. and they were!!! We tried it an it also solved our problem as well. Ron

  6. For English, press 1. Para español, presione 9.

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