Outsourcing is so yesterday, or last night, or whatever time it is in Bangalore

Nonsourcing is the way to go. And to ensure quality service, this article may be monitored for quality control or training purposes.
Crosscut archive image.

Customer support: There's no one there!

Nonsourcing is the way to go. And to ensure quality service, this article may be monitored for quality control or training purposes.

My computer freezes frequently. About twice a week I must shut it down and restart. Using Windows XP, I view computer freezes as a force of nature, as unavoidable as rainfall.

Mac users claim their computers seldom freeze. Can this be true? It must be like experiencing San Diego weather.

I am inured to rainfall, but computer tornados still rile me. Occasionally, a tornado strikes, forcing me to spend days on the phone begging for assistance.

I never beg from Microsoft. Microsoft has gone beyond outsourcing. Microsoft has nonsourced customer service.

Contact Microsoft about a software problem. After fits of uncontrollable laughter they will direct you to the computer manufacturer. Microsoft reasons that since they wrote the software, the least the manufacturer can do is to fix it. This is the beauty of non-sourcing.

My recent attempt to install some new Microsoft software unleashed a tornado that left nothing standing.

I called Microsoft and heard the recorded announcement, "You have reached Microsoft's customer service department. Customer service has been non-sourced. We do not exist. Go pound sand."

I called Dell customer service. They provide service after weeding out dilettantes unable to tolerate being placed on hold, finally reaching a human being, explaining the problem, being handed off to someone else who leafs through the manual and hands you off to someone else who can't help, then being placed on hold, explaining, and being handed off again, etc.

Passing this test in less than two hours, I reached a CSR named Priyaranjan in Bangalore. It was 3 a.m. in Bangalore.

Priyaranjan was very knowledgeable and would have been very helpful had I spoken Urdu.

As happens at 3 a.m. in Bangalore, the phone went dead. It was not possible to reconnect with Priyaranjan. I had to restart in the U.S., holding, explaining, and being handed off again for hours before, this time, reaching Ramesh in Bangalore.

It was still 3 a.m. in Bangalore. No matter what time of you day you call, it is 3 a.m. in Bangalore, and the phone lines are problematic.

Ramesh was both knowledgeable and understandable. I believe he would have solved my problem had not the phone line gone dead.

Ramesh was better than Shankesinh, Pranab, Hansraj, and Ashwani, with whom, after two-hour waits, I spoke consecutively. Eventually, Ragnuvansh solved my problem. All of this was accomplished in less than 72 hours of total phone time.

Unlike demagogic politicians, I do not condemn non-sourcing. nonsourcing is integral to a robust economy. It is part of the "creative destruction," the engine of economic growth.

My complaint is that we are nonsourcing the wrong things.

We have nonsourced TV repair. There are no TV repairmen. If your TV breaks, you throw it away and get a new one. We have nonsourced the repair of most household electrical items.

We have nonsourced gas station attendants, plumbers who show up, and classical music recordings. We are halfway toward nonsourcing print journalists and competent public school teachers.

Why are we nonsourcing TV repairmen and print journalists? We should be nonsourcing meter maids and Dick Cheney.

Think of receiving this recorded message: "You have reached the office of Vice President Cheney. He does not exist anymore. He has been nonsourced. Go celebrate."

My preferred among the candidates for nonsourcing are:

  • Houses with great rooms.
  • The Seattle City Council.
  • Celebrity profiles that reveal a star's vulnerable side.
  • Celebrity profiles that do not reveal a star's vulnerable side.
  • Executive compensation consultants.
  • The Oklahoma City Sonics.
  • Supply side economics.
  • The plaintiff's bar.
  • Tattoo parlors.
  • Wine writers who discern a hint of tobacco, cedar, eucalyptus, coffee, cranberry, chocolate, or gunmetal in the nose.
  • The Iraq war, the Iraqi cabinet, and speeches citing progress in Iraq.
  • The National Hockey League.
  • Ring tones employing motifs from a Wagner opera or Beethoven symphony.
  • Vintages of the century.
  • Federal subsidies for mohair, needed to assure materials for military uniforms if we ever fight World War I again.
  • Texans.
  • Parameters and metrics.
  • Paintings that articulate, confront, make a statement about, reframe, place in context, or bring into question a social or political issue.
  • Color coded threat levels, especially the orange and yellow varieties.
  • Careers in telemarketing.
  • Televised poker.
  • Red states.
  • Half-time marching bands.
  • Comprehensive strategic plans.
  • Coca-Cola, including New Coke, Classic Coke, Cherry Coke, Diet Coke, Feudal Coke, Pentecostal Coke, Rococo Coke, and Paleolithic Coke.
  • The doughnut hole in Medicare drug plans.
  • The King County Council.
  • Complaints about political pundits.
  • Lack of complaints about political pundits.
  • Political pundits.

Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors