I Blame the Boomers
To all the c-level a-holes who, in the 1990s, decided that outsourcing labor was the way to go: I will one day find all of you and kick you right in the privates. With cowboy boots.
To my great chagrin, over the last month I have assumed the role of interim leader of our company customer service representatives (CSRs). Since people are leaving this sinking ship in droves, the remaining buffoons are running around trying to patch up one leak after another. The things I witness daily in this new role have further eroded my already pitiful opinion of corporate America and humanity in general.
Problem # 1: These people don't speak English. Plain and simple. Our CSRs reside in India, Bangladesh and Laos. Whenever I assign them a task stemming from a client inquiry, they fire back a day later with an incomprehensible email. I could forward these emails to the FBI and the CIA and even they wouldn’t be able to decipher wtf is going on. I routinely get emails from our CSRs that don’t have any verbs or a direct object:
“Computer system issue Thursday, Email, Access Request”
What!? WTF am I supposed to do with this? Did you suffer a seizure while trying to answer my email?
You think that’s bad? In a Business to Business (B2B) environment, things are even worse. Why? Because our clients have their own outsourced staff whose job is to handle their various inquiries. Our clients are too important to ask us directly, they can’t be bothered. Thus, they send an email to someone in the Philippines and tell him to “handle it”. That person then emails my Model U.N. team who promptly punt to me. Try deciphering the subsequent email thread at 645 AM Pacific. It feels like someone took a drill to your temples.
Prashant does X, Jomari does Y, Li Tran does Z... none of them talk to each other. None of them speak English property. None of them understand what the ask is but all are too afraid to admit it. I have to harass everyone and chase them down across 14 time zones to try and piece together what is happening. Like a 4th grade dunce, they quiver in fear my questions and try gauchely to preempt them.
“I do not have access to that system.”
“System? I’m not talking about any system, Prashant. I’m just trying to understand the genesis of the client’s question.”
“I understand the next steps.”
“Jomari, we haven’t laid out any next steps yet.”
God forbid I inadvertently use a common American idiom; our entire supply chain would go haywire!
Problem 2: Critical Thinking. Our Customer Service Reps simply don’t do it. Last week I got an email from one of our CSRs.
“Customer called. Very upset. He sent document explaining. I did not record name. Say we not pay enough. Call from 617-384-1—3. Document attached."
Once I got past the Chinese fortune cookie level English, I opened the PDF attachment. The document contained a long list of names with associated payments. The client had circled three of the payments and put a big question mark next to them. Nothing else.
I checked the time zone in Laos, it was around dinnertime. I figured I would repay my colleague for the early morning headache by interrupting his supper.
“Li Tran, did you open the document while you had the client on the phone?”
“And did it make sense to you?”
“So why didn’t you ask him some questions. Or at least take down his name so I could call him?”
“He sent document explaining.”
DzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!! I clenched my teeth and shook my head but couldn’t rid myself of that damn drilling sound in my brain.
Problem 3: Our offshore staff have no incentive to care: I have equity in the company and even I don’t care enough to do any in-depth problem solving. The crumbs management threw my way when I signed have already lost 70% of their value. If I sold my shares today, I could maybe buy a 2009 Subaru. If I’m this indifferent, do you think that Ganesh in Jaipur who gets paid 11 dollars an hour gives a shit?
You C-level jerks pay our offshore staff $11 an hour. Contrary to your racist logic in 1996 when this trend started, this is NOT a fortune in their home country. You bigot. I know it and so does Ganesh, and for this reason, he doesn’t apply himself. It's not that they aren't talented and can't think critically, rather, you don't pay them to do that. When you pay a guy minimum wage to dig a hole in your yard, he’s not going to think outside the box and assess how this hole will affect your overall decor or any underground infrastructure.
From my standpoint, I have a headache... all day... everyday. I am the guy who must tell our customers/clients what is going on. You know why that's hard? Cause I don't know wtf is going on!
Bring those jobs back to America, goddamn it! Cost savings my ass. We have a world in which 10 people make pennies an hour doing terrible work and another 30 onshore must decipher wtf is going. Ya, we’re really running a lean six sigma shop over here.
If you’re a CEO over the age of 55, fuck you. You boomer piece of shit. You fooled 1990s Wall Street into paying you out a big bonus cause you "achieved savings". You then invested your bonus in the market and made 10x returns cause you happened to live during a time when the greatest technological revolution since the steam engine made everyone a bunch of loot. Now, 25 years later, life is really sweet for you. You sit behind your giant desk in your in-home office uttering vapid platitudes during Zoom meetings. Underneath the keyboard, a wrinkled, saggy scrotum peeks out of the tighty whities in your 5” inseam khaki shorts. Fat checks rolling in for doing nothing, gnads catching a refreshing breeze.
The truth however is that you are a moron, you screwed over Corporate America, and YOU are the problem. You and your peers ushered in an economy that rewards fleeting, short-term profits at the expense of actual value creation. You have been driving American business into the ground for the last 25 years while shipping jobs overseas. You’ve been relying on bailouts and the sugar high of excessive government stimulus to keep you afloat since the dot.com bust. Thanks to you, nowadays, unless one is bilking some naïve pension fund out of their hard-earned retirement money through some bullshit financial instrument (e.g., SPAC), showing off their implants on Only Fans, or generating YouTube traffic by being an even bigger moron than all the other wanna-be social media stars, there is little money to be made in the American economy.
Thus, the poetic justice of it all for you, Mr. Boomer CEO: The same avarice and disguised incompetence that made you wealthy has made life impossible for your progeny. You paid $200k for your son to get a bachelor’s and a master’s, but he still can’t afford life. 30 years old and he still lives at home. When he’s not driving your car for Uber, he’s in your basement speaking softly into a microphone and giving pretend haircuts for his ASMR YouTube channel.
No soothing tingles for you though, sir. Quite the opposite in fact. As you watch your deadbeat son snip the empty air and whisper nonsense into the computer, the weight of shame, guilt and disillusionment will jackhammer in your brain with the fury of a 30-paged email thread from our CSR Team.