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   ► KBIT Water-Coo...American I.T...Off Shoring   Print This    All Groups  
  From the January 2016 Issue of Prestwood eMag
AmericanIT Off Shoring:
Off-shoring: You CAN fight back!
Posted 15 years ago on 5/7/2009
Take Away:

Are you fed up with calling a company and finding yourself speaking to somebody in a foreign country? 

I am, and I've just learned of an effective way to fight back, help return jobs to America, and keep them here.

The best part? We don't have to wait for government to do a thing.


If you're anything like me, you're fed up with calling a company and discovering that they deliver customer "service" offshore, and with people that are nigh-impossible to understand.

It's bad enough that many "American" companies have transferred their customer service operations overseas, but to add insult to injury, it's maddening trying to have a conversation with somebody you can barely understand. (Nothing against those poor, underpaid people in foreign lands. This isn't about them.)

Well, I've just learned that there is something we all can do about it.  It may seem small, but if word gets out, and if enough people take advantage of the following little "trick," American companies will have to reconsider the economics of off-shoring customer support.

I can't take credit for this idea, nor can I vouch for it working every time.  It came my way as an email forwarded by my wife.

It doesn't matter what kind of company it is. Sure, tech companies are notorious for off-shoring technical support, but banks, mortgage companies, department stores, mail order vendors, and web-based businesses are all guilty of off-shoring customer service jobs.

This is the "trick:"  As soon as you suspect you're talking to somebody in another country (usually not hard to tell), ask them to transfer you to somebody in America.  The writer of the email I received says she's done it with all kinds of companies and, inevitably, she gets transferred to an American with whom she can discuss her business and get matters handled quickly.

What do you accomplish by doing this?

First, you cause the offending company the expense of your initial, international phone call, a call for which they gain nothing.

Second, you transfer the actual work, the job, back to an American.

And what does this stunt cost you?  Nothing!

You may think it costs you the extra time needed for the call transfer. Not! Consider how much longer it would have taken had you stayed on the phone with the foreign person.  Nine times out of ten, you'll realize a net gain (or lesser loss of your time).

The following is the text of the email I received:

How many times have you called a company's  phone line and found that the rep could barely speak English?  With a major mortgage company it was so bad I demanded to speak with someone who spoke English. Right at that moment I broke the code;  the secret password for customer service.

Come to find out that every American company using overseas operators must transfer you to an American rep. by you saying...

****** " I want to speak to a representative in  America  ".    (Don't take no for an answer on this)

This was confirmed by the American rep..that they must transfer you after that request. I've tried it on a half a dozen major companies including cable, bank, phone and mortgage companies. It works every time and I actually get my issues taken care of.

***** Last thing to help save even more jobs.... don't use the automated check out lanes they are pushing at the big box stores and grocers.I found out that if we use those check outs rather than cashiers,people lose their jobs too. I've refused to use the automated check outs and have had two cashiers already thank me for help saving their jobs.

Start doing it today. Spread the word to all your friends and relatives.  If a few million Americans consistently demand American service, we can win those jobs back. 

Do not wait for your government to do it for you; we can "vote" these jobs back into the U.S. right now.

Please feel free to email this article's URL to all your friends.


Share a thought or comment...
Comment 1 of 3

Thank you for this. Its two days late for me.

I enjoyed  one of the usual AT&T nightmares,which eventually cost me my wi fi connectivity at home: A tech in the Philippines inappropriately directed me to set a modem in bridge mode. When it was done and the system no longer functioned at all, he referred me to what I assumed was Tier 2 service, but which turned out to be a new pay for support ($30 +) system AT&T is trying out. I was told by the usual over apologetic Indian agent there several times that I was in the "right place" and they could "solve my problem" without any apparent comprehension of the problem for about half an hour. When I finally barked "cut to the chase", she spent another ten or so minutes looking for my "account", came back. When I finally asked "is this a paid service", she apologized and affirmed.

Knowing your trick in the beginning would have saved me not only more than five hours but the connectivity to the router, which is no longer accessible after reset under the standard IP. (Which means anywhere from $50 to $100) Thank you, Grazie, Merci, Gracias.

To return the favor let me  share a trick to get out of voice automated robot mode.  AT&T is also toying with a robotic voice driven diagnostic and support system, which took up at least an hour and a half of my six hours spent on the simple purpose of reconnecting a modem. The apparently inescapable mechanical voice is actually escapable.  The system will eventually give up if it can't understand what you say. Animal noises work best. Grunting, babbling, whatever you find amusing. It takes about six tries. Shouting German also works fairly well.

On a sodden note, let me add that your trick does not work with Mastercard off shore service. They just hang up.

Posted 13 years ago

Comment 2 of 3

The reason jobs are going to people in other countries are not just for cutting costs. There are not enough educated and qualified people in America. Get more young ones to go through college, and the jobs will come back.

Posted 9 years ago

Comment 3 of 3

Hi Kate,

In a few cases, it may be true that there aren't enough qualified Americans.  I would say that, in the great majority of cases, the employer says there aren't enough Americans when that assertion simply isn't true.

Some of the largest companies in IT actually lobby Congress to increase our already too-high H-1B visa quotas.  The way they lend credibility to this nonsense is to run ads for IT workers, shred the resumes that come in and proclaim their diligence by pointing at these fake ad campaigns.

I learned about this from my former colleague, Kim Berry, a brilliant programmer. Before coming to Prestwood, Kim worked for one of the U.S.'s largest makers of computing hardware. There Kim was told that his job was going to a newly imported worker. To make matters worse, they told Kim that, in order to get his severance pay, he'd have to train his replacement!

Train his replacement? What? In addition to being downright insulting, that tells me that the imported worker wasn't qualified at all! He wouldn't be qualified until Kim trained him.

You can find much documentation about these matters at The Programmers Guild of which Kim is President.

I encourage you to visit that site; even reach out to Kim.  He'll get back to you.

Posted 9 years ago
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KB Post Contributed By Wes Peterson:

Wes Peterson is a Senior Programmer Analyst with Prestwood IT Solutions where he develops custom Windows software and custom websites using .Net and Delphi. When Wes is not coding for clients, he participates in this online community. Prior to his 10-year love-affair with Delphi, he worked with several other tools and databases. Currently he specializes in VS.Net using C# and VB.Net. To Wes, the .NET revolution is as exciting as the birth of Delphi.

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