What to do when your ISP off-shores tech support

I think I've touched at least 15+ countries with Cisco HTTPS, and minus a
few language issues, they're pretty decent.

Thanks, this makes sense. I'm not sure if I support off shoring or not as
related to quality, but there is certainly a a business case to to be made
supporting it as this thread ending up pointing out. There are trade offs
which matter more to some than others.

Overall, my own off shoring experience is a mixed bag. United Airlines does
it and I usually suspect they are off shored when bad recommendations for
reservations or changes are relayed and I end up asking the possibly off
shore agents to make no changes and let me get online or stand in line to
get it done right. Cisco does this and while I haven't spoken to the Belgium
TAC in some time, it was pretty darn good and an example of how to do it



Martin Hannigan wrote:

I'm not sure if I support off shoring or not as
related to quality, but there is certainly a a business case to to be made
supporting it as this thread ending up pointing out. There are trade offs
which matter more to some than others.

I'm quite fascinated by some of the examples given of "offshoring". Cisco use Sydney as one of their locations for around the world coverage. From our point of view (being Australians) this isn't offshore - we have a local TAC who are closer and we tend to be able to get the same group of SP TAC people everytime to deal with our issues. My experience is that, given global companies like Cisco rely on locations to provide wide language support to people everywhere that the language issue is a bit moot. Some people in the Belgium TAC are easier to understand over the phone then people in the US TAC because the US TAC people have been employed for their Spanish skills or other language skills where as many Europeans have better English skills than, well, a lot of people. Some of the people in the TAC in Australia don't have English as their first language and are tricky to explain why my GSR crashed with an IPv6 issue over the phone (but fine via email). Some people on the other end of the phone just suck no matter which country or land of origin.

(I use Cisco's TAC as an example purely because I'm familar - but the example can be reused).

I think offshoring is more an issue because often it's built around a lie. If I'm talking to someone in another country, then I'm okay with that but I hate it when they're forced to lie about who they are and where they are. They're representing a company I deal with and as a customer I want it to be a good experience - if a company doesn't care about the overall customer experience and looks at it as a cost to be squashed and reduced then that (as someone else has said) is really the problem. Give them the tools and desire to help me as a customer no matter where they are or which god they pray to.

The offshoring I think can be a problem isn't the customer facing part, but the anonymous part where backends of companies are taken offshore where data privacy laws etc aren't the same and suddenly my private data can be compromised in a way that is out of control of the laws of the country where I live. (I'm thinking banks, health care etc).


I used to work for DSL Extreme for about just over 3 years. They use
local loops and connect via DS3's and OC3's to get into the partners
networks. In area's outside of california they may resell, but at
least in norcal and socal they run their own network.

Matthew Black wrote:

I've had difficulties reaching anyone with a brain
at my DSL provider Verizon California.

I can reliably ping the first hop from my home to
the CO with a 25ms delay. But if I ping any other
location, packets get dropped or significantly
delayed. To me, this sounds like Verizon has an
internal routing problem rather than a problem
with my phone line. Note that it rained recently
in our area and the cable vault in front of my
is usually covered with stagnant water because
the gutters don't drain it away.

I have tried to explain this to tech support but
they refuse to go off script, even the supervisors.
They keep insisting on sending a tech to my home
when I suggest this should be escalated to their
network operations team.

Anyhow, if I can reliably ping the first hop
from my home, would that eliminate my telephone
connection as part of the problem? Just a sanity
check on my part. Thanks.

matthew black
california state university, long beach

Are you seeing drops or slow response times for the Verizon hops but not for the last hop destination?

If so, remember that most of the larger ISPs will be rate limiting non-admin (ie from their support network ranges) traffic directed to the enterprise equipment. This means they will either ignore or delay responding to ICMP requests directed to their own IP addresses vs forwarding traffic.

If your seeing about the same for the destination and for the intermediate hops then it's more likely an issue on the Verizon network.

Assuming that what you're getting from Verizon is copper and not FIOS,
there should be a number of small to medium-sized ISPs that will provide you
with Layer 3 Internet Service using that copper.
It will cost you a few dollars a month more, but not a lot more,
and you'll not only have more chance of getting somebody with a clue
to answer questions,
but you'll be able to do things like running servers from home if you want.
It looks like Sonic.net doesn't cover Long Beach, but Speakeasy does,
and you should be able to find a range of other small clueful ISPs.

The off-shore call-center business has changed a lot in the last decade;
in addition to Bangalore undercutting the Nebraska and Utah call centers,
there are cheaper places like the Phillipines undercutting Bangalore,
and Canada's been trying to address unemployment in former fishing villages
by promoting call centers (which has the advantage of good English),
and VOIP has simplified work-at-home distributed call centers in the rural US.
But still, if your company is outsourcing first-line support to script-readers,
then they need to be good at recognizing when to get past the initial script
and escalate to somebody with more training.

The fact that work is offshored also acts as a disincentive to people
who might otherwise enter the field. Instead, they pursue work that
is much less likely to be offshored. Witness the increase of
healthcare workers in the US who might have otherwise entered various
engineering professions, but do not, because they are concerned that
they may not keep their engineering jobs.