India is famous for lots of reasons and one of it is its call centre. In Transfromers, there was a scene where the army called the bank and the call was answered by a call centre agent in India. Most laughed at the scene (including me) but there was a small tiny room in my heart which said, "Don't."
Being a call centre agent or customer service representative was not easy. I climbed my career ladder from this line and I could understand people's frustration. -either from customer's side or from the CSR's side. Please share with me one of the experiences I had with an Indian call centre:
One night, I received a phone call from an Indian agent who wanted to discuss with me regarding the customer's situation. We have our own Standard Operating Procedure:
This is Shasha, how may I help?
Laddu: From ***? (he asked my department)
Me: That's right.
Laddu: Hi Asha. This is Laddu from Bangalore.
Me: I beg your pardon, Laddu?
Laddu: Noooo...noooo...my name is Gladwyn!
Me: I'm sorry...you mentioned Laddu just now?
Laddu: Nooooooooooo...Ashaaa...Listen to me! It's Gladwyn!
Me: Alright then, I'm sorry. How may I address you. Do you mind to spell it for me?
Laddu: It's G.L.A.D.W.Y.N
Me: Ooooo...I'm sorry, Gladwyn. How can we help the customer?
Laddu: Seee...Asshhaa...This customer has no money. Little-little he will pay the money into the account.
Laddu: Yes...today 10 pound, tomorrow 20 pound. You think we can do that?
Me: We'll see. I'm sorry for calling you Laddu just now.
Laddu: It's okay, Asha. Laddu is a food!
Me: Errr..my name is not Asha.
Laddu: But you're Indian. How can it be not Asha?
Me: I'm not an Indian. I'm a Malay.
Laddu: Malaysians are Indians too.
Me: Not necessarily, Gladwyn.
What made me wanted to laugh about this Gladwyn was his effort to ensure that he would be accepted. I knew things were not easy, considering that he had to take care of his accent which eventually caused me to call him Laddu. I was also influenced by Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, I guess:) I can assure you that it was very hard to understand his accent because our Indians here in Malaysia sounds Malaysian:)
Since our customers were westerners, it was not easy to pronounce our names as well. Why Shasha instead of Sha? Because those westerners thought Sha/Shah meant to be for men only. Since Shasha was also my name, I used that instead of Sha. So, it was not so surprising when my friends were using all sorts of names - Anne, Allan, Jimmy...so on!!!
The phone was ringing again...
Man: Sasha...this is Rocky from Hyderabad.
I gasped and controlled myself. Rocky Balboa?!!!! The boxer?
So, to all Rockies, Laddus or Gladwyns out there, HAPPY DEEPAVALI. It's good that Deepavali is on Saturday this year, you're getting your leave:)
If I ask you to choose one western name for yourself, what will it be?