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Has Shaw hired reps who used to work at Bell? I have come across many reps recently with heavy accents and a poor command of the English language. This makes them very difficult to understand. It used to be that when you called Shaw Direct, 99% of the time you would get a rep with fluent English. I realize that they have a call centre in Quebec but I am originally from Montreal - I am not talking about French Canadian accents.

If I didn't know better, I would guess that they now have call centres offshore.
 

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When you are asked if you want English (push 1) or French (push 2). Push 2 and you will get a Quebec operator and then ask for an English (most are bilingual) operator.
 

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There are no non-Canadian call centres, but if you think of the diversity in Montreal, Mississauga, and Calgary, it shouldn't be surprising that not all agents speak the best English.
 

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I could care less where the person is from, but if they cant communicate with me when COMMUNICATIONS is essentially their job description, I look elsewhere. I think it's awesome though that a Punjabi customer from Mississauga can get excellent customer service from the person on the other end. I digress.......
 

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It's as simple as asking for another operator. If you cannot get over the fact that Canada has immigrants, maybe you should just live in the country on solar power - because the world is definitely not for you.
 

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As JCM said push 2 for french, when the op comes on say you meant for english, 99 percent the op has good command of english and will help you. I used that trick with dell in the past, no offence against foreign accents but I find they are hard to understand.
 

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To be fair, if these individual arrived in Canada with the last little while, and they came from a country where they spoke very little English, its unfair to say they can't speak English. I could say the same thing about people from Australia, New Zealand.; They speak with accent and its sometimes hard to understand them as well.

There working at job that pays somewhat better then mini wage. So to say they shouldn't work at it because there skills of speaking English are not the greatest is unfair. You could say the same thing about those working at Tim Horton's, other establishments that serve the public.They have right to work at job that pays way more then minimum wage just like anyone else that has better speaking skills then they might have.
 

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What a fascinating but sadly very true topic

Well folks you do all realise that this subject is oh so touchy!

BUT, sadly the problem is not always where the call centre is located or where the person was born, it is very often their lack of ability to communicate CLEARLY in English or French, AND, so very often the call centre employees really don't have a clue as to what they are talking about.

The fault however is not the immigrant in Canada or the call centre employee in somewhere like New Delhi who is trying to make a living but is being employed (directly or indirectly) by a cheapskate Canadian company - and we all know there are lots of these; we deal with them daily!

One call centre employee off-shore that I had a very productive discussion with actually thought our household Electric supply current in Canada was 400VDC!!!

For the record, I came to Canada from Ireland in 1965 - and people here still have trouble understanding my accent!
 

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Really, if you are difficult to understand verbally, how does it make sense to employ you in a call centre? Seriously lets place people in the right jobs that they are able to do. How does it help to employ people who can't do the job? Not good for the company, not good for them when they have irate customers.
BTW MCIBUS there is their, then is than ;) .
If I cannot understand someone who is supposed to communicate with me as a major part of their job and I speak one of the official languages, who is that unfair to?? Both!
 

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its unfair to say they can't speak English
The other side of this coin is when an employee is unable to communicate effectively with a customer. What does this do to business? If the employee doesn't understand English well enough to take your order, what's the outcome?
 

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Well gzink,

I've never worked in a call centre or in customer service - I knew my limitations - and at 72 I'm happily retired from the GTA rat race!

But the problem we face nowadays is not always just lack of CS reps ability to communicate verbally in English.

They just have very little knowledge of the business or products they are representing. All too often people are parachuted into jobs such as CS at Shaw with minimal training or understanding of what they need to do or be able to handle.

It's a no-win situation for everyone; irate customers, frustrated employess and then corporate management who have no idea why customers are mad at them!
 

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^^^^
Try watching some British TV shows. You wonder if they're speaking "English". ;-)
My Grandparents are from Yorkshire. I understand when they speak perfectly as if I am listening to any other Canadian but my wife can't understand them at all! :D Hell, I can even understand Brad Pitt's character - with effort - in Snatch. :p My Dad also has a bit of a Russian accent. I can't hear at all but my wife pointed out immediately when she met him for the first time. Yet god forbid you ask me to listen to a French Canadian speak English, I can't understand a word they say without effort.

I have worked in my share of call centres through my life, and nothing upset me more than when someone would call in and get one of my co-workers who immigrated to Canada from Pakistan or India. They would get sworn at, yelled at, called everything under the sun and people would complain about foreign tech support, yet these guys had been in Canada for years, knew the nuances and quirks of he English language like anyone else and the only thing they had going against them was an accent. I will never forget the time that someone hung up on one of those guys and called right back into the queue, got one of my Canadian-born co-workers who got an earful about being "thankful" they got an "American speaker" to which he replied without delay that he was just talking to someone sitting next to him and if he would like to speak to that person again. Shut that customer right up fast.
 

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Thanks snickerdoodles - well said!

Your quotation about a customer praising an "American speaker" really is funny - almost as ridiculous as "US English".
 

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That support queue was primarily for American customers. Most of the tech support I've done has been for Americans, but I will say that Canadians are no more polite or friendly on the phone than Americans are. In fact, some of the worst dealings I've ever had have been with Canadians who thought they were speaking with someone in the US. The air of superiority and arrogance that flows from those customers is mind-numbing.

My own personal experience with Shaw Direct earlier this week involved me talking to a very friendly woman out in Calgary who had a bit of an accent. It wasn't harsh or heavy, it sounded like they weren't born here but had lived here long enough to know the language for conversation and not be afraid of the words they used. I learned a long long time ago to *never* assume that someone with an accent on the phone is foreign. We live in a multicultural country with a lot of immigrants who have come here for a better life. They take tech support and customer service jobs just like anyone else. I can completely understand not being pleased with someone's ability to perform support or help out with an issue, but an accent has zero to do with any of that. If you can't understand the "Canadianized" foreign accent of a fellow citizen or permanent resident, I would politely and respectfully point out that you might need to adjust your perception because those accents are here to stay and are not going anywhere, and perhaps you may wish to reevaluate your position on "effective communication" to also include effective listening.
 

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Oh Dear! We've strayed a bit off topic

Folks, Perhaps we're getting a bit sidetracked and losing sight of the original post topic.

We are all probably victims of this situation, one way or another.

However, when we place a call to a Canadian company for service or help we should be able to speak to someone IN CANADA. Accent is really irrelevant in most cases but the person we speak to should be properly trained, knowledgeable and proficient.

Often times we deal with someone who tries to talk down to us, even when it should be obvious that we are more knowledgeable than them on the topic of our call. Most of us on these boards have experienced this, usually needing our call to be escalated at least one tier in order resolve issues.

If I may offer advice to anyone placing calls to outfits such as SD or Bell, try to call between 10am and 4pm Mon-Fri (head office local time) as this is when you have a better chance of your call being answered in Canada.
 
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