The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

27 March 2008

A plan in abeyance

News Item: The head of the top U.S. phone company AT&T Inc. said on Wednesday it was having trouble finding enough skilled workers to fill all the 5,000 customer service jobs it promised to return to the United States from India. "We're having trouble finding the numbers that we need with the skills that are required to do these jobs," AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told a business group in San Antonio.

Memo to Mr Stephenson: I've been in an AT&T customer service job. You couldn't pay me enough to take another one; in fact, I took a pay cut to get out of the one I was in.

(Seen at the Consumerist.)

Posted at 4:00 PM to Dyssynergy


Indeed. I don't have the attitude to be good at customer service -- typical undoubtedly, but not good.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:29 PM on 27 March 2008

Well, I DO have the attitude, provided I'd be allowed to actually serve the customer. (Have made a living doing so.)

But...

Spending the day in a powerless position, making excuses for a lousy company, and at minimum wage... no thanks.

Posted by: Old Grouch at 8:43 PM on 27 March 2008

C'mon, show some sympathy. The U.S. labor force comprises dreadful, selfish, lazy people who won't accept 1970 wage levels in a 2008 economy, expect to be treated like human beings, and sometimes even take pride in our their work and don't like being associated with crap products and service. Didn't you see poor Bill Gates's recent Congressional testimony? Poor fellow is just trying to make a living in a country where young people won't acquire massive educational debt to qualify for his dead-end entry-level jobs. Why, I've even heard tell these poor lambs are now beset by rising wage levels and worker expectations in India, and they have to go scrounging further afield for enough wage slaves qualified workers. Will their torments never cease?

Anyway, it' all b.s. I seriously doubt AT&T has made much effort at all to recruit American workers. It's all a dog and pony show put on for cretinous and/or corrupt congressmen and journalists during visa season. I mean, gosh. Customer service. I understand those kinds of jobs usually require rocket-science level rare skills. One couldn't expect a huge multinational to provide the needed training for that sort of thing. Only a community college in Bangalore can provide that level of education!

Odd, isn't it, that sometime around the late '90s not only did the educational system collapse, leaving companies with no place to recruit customer service workers, but the thousands of Americans doing those jobs at the time mysteriously lost their rare and precious customer service skills almost overnight, and, sadly, these companies had no choice but to lay them off and replace them with foreigners. Though I recall that sometimes the skill-shorn locals had to train their replacements - in what, I don't know, since the foreigners already possessed not only the requisite, but almost god-like customer service skills.

Posted by: Moira Breen at 8:15 AM on 28 March 2008

C'mon, show some sympathy. The U.S. labor force comprises dreadful, selfish, lazy people who won't accept 1970 wage levels in a 2008 economy, expect to be treated like human beings, and sometimes even take pride in our their work and don't like being associated with crap products and service. Didn't you see poor Bill Gates's recent Congressional testimony? Poor fellow is just trying to make a living in a country where young people won't acquire massive educational debt to qualify for his dead-end entry-level jobs. Why, I've even heard tell these poor lambs are now beset by rising wage levels and worker expectations in India, and they have to go scrounging further afield for enough wage slaves qualified workers. Will their torments never cease?

Anyway, it' all b.s. I seriously doubt AT&T has made much effort at all to recruit American workers. It's all a dog and pony show put on for cretinous and/or corrupt congressmen and journalists during visa season. I mean, gosh. Customer service. I understand those kinds of jobs usually require rocket-science level rare skills. One couldn't expect a huge multinational to provide the needed training for that sort of thing. Only a community college in Bangalore can provide that level of education!

Odd, isn't it, that sometime around the late '90s not only did the educational system collapse, leaving companies with no place to recruit customer service workers, but the thousands of Americans doing those jobs at the time mysteriously lost their rare and precious customer service skills almost overnight, and, sadly, these companies had no choice but to lay them off and replace them with foreigners. Though I recall that sometimes the skill-shorn locals had to train their replacements - in what, I don't know, since the foreigners already possessed not only the requisite, but almost god-like customer service skills.

Posted by: Moira Breen at 8:24 AM on 28 March 2008

My comment was so great, I thought you might like to read it twice.

Posted by: Moira Breen at 8:33 AM on 28 March 2008

and at minimum wage...

Phone bank CSA jobs rarely pay minimum wage, in my experience. As far as entry-level employment goes, the pay isn't all that bad and the advancement opportunities don't completely suck (at some places). Few can afford a middle class lifestyle from it, but it's solid resume padding to move on to more professional pursuits.

There have been a lot of phone banks in every city that I've lived in. No matter who the employer, no matter how good their product, no matter how relatively high the pay (starting at $11.50/hr at some places), they have trouble filling their chairs. It's not surprising to me that they have difficulty filling their slots. Most entry-level, customer service employers do.

Posted by: trumwill at 4:49 PM on 28 March 2008