I remember taking two assembly language classes in college with a professor from India. Dr. Gupta had a great sense of humor, but most of my classmates didn’t realize it at first. They were too busy trying to decipher his thick Indian accent. Since I had his classes twice a day, three days a week, I quickly got past “What did he say?” and on to “I can’t believe he just said that!”
These days, encountering an Indian accent is alot more common for everybody, especially when something’s not working. I work with a bunch of folks originally from India, so I hear their accents all the time, and like Dr. Gupta, I don’t have problems understanding them. But, when I have a computer problem at work, it can be a challenge. If the accent of the helpdesk technician on the phone is too strong, or I am too tired, I have to ask them to repeat everything a couple of times. It’s frustrating.
But, ya know what? I don’t pick up the phone anymore. I still have computer problems, but I use instant messaging to get them solved. I log into the instant messaging application, and enter a chatroom full of helpful technicians. “I have a problem,” I type. Someone there types back, “I will help you.” We go into sidechat, a normal person-to-person IM chat with that technician, and they help me to solve my problem! No Alpha Bravo Romeo spelling. No “let me repeat that back to you”. And best of all, no “can you repeat that, please?” Just a brief exchange of questions and answers, the solution to my problem, and we’re done! As long as my problem isn’t “I can’t connect to the network”, or “IM isn’t working”, it’s a breeze!
So, next time you have a service problem, check the company’s website and see if they offer a chat as a service option. You won’t hear a friendly, reassuring voice, but you won’t have to ask them to repeat the question, either.