We all know that Call Centers cater to the Western market. To generate more revenues, companies outsource a portion of their work to us. And the commonly outsourced work is that of a Call Center, where customer service executives are suppose to solve the queries of Western customers. India is a prime target for the same as we have cheap labor, good English and neutral accent or we can adapt to a neutral accent after some training. So that when we are talking to a Western Customer he/she is able to understand us. Its not only a good English that helps in communication with the people residing in other part of the world but also the accent. You might be saying the right word but if its pronounced differently, without proper syllable stress the customer might not understand it. We do all this hard work to make sure that customer feel the same connection and is satisfied with the service.
Now when I say that the alias is necessary for an executive its not because the customer might come to know that the call has landed up in India, but to save the executive from any awkward situation. Indian names are difficult for them to pronounce, and in a zest to pronounce the name…whatever they pronounce is totally different from what it is.
So once what happened … I was on a call, which was a transfer from a different department. The representative from the other department was suppose to connect the call, inform the customer that she has connected to the right department and there’s xyz on line and then drop off. I simply said, “Thank You for calling Your Spending Accounts. This is Garima“. She must be in a hurry as she dint confirm if she was right and said, “Hi Kameena… I have a participant on line who would like to know about her Spending Accounts”. I don’t know how a normal person would react to this as Kameena in Hindi is used as a gaali (an abusive word). What I did was put the representative on mute and laugh uncontrollably as if I have seen the expression of a person after he watched RGV ki AAG (though the movie was not released that time, that comparison was thought of right now). Every one around me wondered what has happened to me, and the rep on phone was wondering where I have disappeared so she kept enquiring saying “Kameena.. you there?”. I had to get back to her on call.. I could only manage to say ‘Put the participant through”. Again she was on mute and I laughed as I could hear the rep informing the participant that ‘I have Kameena for you on the call, who would be able to answer your questions’. All this while I was laughing like a crazy, end result… my face was all red, I was gasping, struggling to carry on with the call… but I had to as I was suppose to do one of the most important things of my life – tell the person on the other line that my name is Garima and not what was told to her. I did that, I did complete the call, I did drink water.. while keeping her on hold, I did answer her questions, I did calm down, I did tell this to others and laughed with them with the same intensity again.
I hate when people distort the pronunciation of my name. I Love my Name. Garima….
PS. There was one person who always used to call me Jareema (this was one of the distorted forms of my name I used to listen from Western People over the phone). I warned him once…twice…thrice…he dint stop. His name was Vikas…so I started responding to him with the distorted version of his name…Vik-as = Weak-a$$ (in full on accent 😛 ). He immediately stopped… and I had no intentions to carry forward.