I don’t watch much TV but even I have seen those funny “My name is Peggy” commercials for Discover. I have a Discover card and I when I called customer service a few months ago, I did reach an American rep (in Tucson, I believe) who quickly resolved my issue.
When calling other customer service centers, I often reach someone in India. I once talked to Betsey Johnson, who was a Comcast rep in Mumbai before she made it big with her perfume. I have a hard time understanding a thick Indian accent.
I’ve also talked with “Pinoys” (Filipinos) when calling customer service. I like talking with them, for two reasons. First, I can understand a Filipino accent since I heard it for 18 years. Second, when I realize the rep is Pinoy, I talk with a Filipino accent, make sure to mention that I was born and raised in Manila and that I’m “mestizo” (mixed); that can’t hurt if I need a favor. (Pinoys helping Pinoys.) It may not be “fair” but neither was the financial bailout; I’m getting my bailouts whatever ways I can.
So I think it’s “good news” to learn the probability is increasing that I’ll be speaking to a Pinoy rep in future calls to customer service.
I’m not at all surprised that my birth country is going to be playing a greater role in the call center business. Although India has more folks who speak English, the percentage of Filipinos who speak English is twice that of India’s. Due to the numerous dialects in the Philippines, English is widely spoken and is one of two official languages.
Even folks who didn’t grow up hearing a Filipino accent will find talking with a Filipino rep easier than an Indian rep. The Filipino accent is much softer.
But it has its own idiosyncrasies. An “F” is pronounced as a “P” and vice versa; a “V” is pronounced as a “B.” Words beginning with “S’ are pronounced as “es” And words beginning with “Th” drop the “h.” And words with three or more syllable may be accented incorrectly.
Ob course, ip yor nut bery come portable espeaking wit Pinoys, den ferhaps eats bitter to ask por “Peggy.”