<a href=http://www.dell.com>DELL</a> and Outsourcing, stories, Ben Oostdam, India, numbers


A day or two ago I sat down at my desk when I came back from my late afternoon swim in the College pool, to quickly Google something before starting to prepare dinner. Annoyed with the heavy bottom drawer sticking out too far, I pushed it in, at which time my monitor turned black, perhaps because of the shock although that was well below Richter scale 1, I thought.
I anxiously tried to fix it, assuring myself that the connecting wires were plugged in right, but all to no avail. What a nuisance, especially since all the info about the computer, service and tel numbers were inside the computer. When I turned everything off and then on again, I heard the welcome tune of the tower, but the monitor remained blank, and unless I hooked it up somehow to another monitor, the only one I had available was the Gateway which has monitor and computer integrated in one and had been abolished a year ago for its antics. "Hurrah!", I remembered having a notebook and stack of DELL documents, but where? After a long search I found them two foot away, under a small side table.
I called the DELL Technical Support Number and was answered by a celestially sweet voice of an apsara professing to be named Chevanie. She hailed from India, and was all over herself to help me, but first I had to give her some numbers on my computers, and my address and phone to verify that I was who I am.She then said that my service contract was fine, expiring in November 2008, but did I have the Extended Telephone Service? Sorry, I don't know.
Nevermind, we can quickly take care of that but we will have to charge you one penny to do so. I hardly believed my ears, but she insisted and said that all she had to do is transfer me to a division that would take care of that charge, and that they would tranfer me back to Technical Support (but probably not to herself in person). I was a bit loath to do so, but she assured me and even gave me the number to which she was to transfer me, in case we would get disconnected, and she also gave me a large case number. Thank you very much, Chevanie! Thank you, Sir, for calling DELL!
Back to Earth . . .

To my surprise, we did not get disconnected but I got a male named Lane to whom I had to give another set of numbers and info to proof my existence. When I asked if he was Indian, he denied it and substituted New England. Maine perhaps? Yes. He took care of the business, including taking down my credit card number so I could be charged the one penny (yes, one American cent) even though I suggested that he let me send him a one cent stamp and trust me to do so. He then assigned me a new case number, 10 or 12 digit to make it more heavy with importance. Finally, he thanked me and was sure to give me the new number to which he was going to transfer me, together with a 7 digit extension, just in case . . .
The "just in case" came handy when some phone operator said that the number called did not exist, please contact ...... Instead, I called the number and extension and got the request to give them my express service code number. Where's that? On a black slip on the side of your tower. No, it was not, since I had just taken it off and put it "ready" among the many invoices and papers in my DELL file. I could not find it (till just after our call), so I told the operator that I did not have it. She punished me my letting me wait a few minutes, after which I was transfered to Technical Services to a man named Praveen - again an Indian, this time from Southern India. Whereabouts, near Cochin? Yes, in Chennai. Any problems with the tsunami? Yes, but things are much better now. Good. Nevertheless, I had to verify the identities of myself and my computer, but it was not necessary to give him the case number for the payment of the penny. He settled down to give me some real service and asked me to first read the 20 digit or so number on the back of the monitor (which fell when I tried to read it, so I thought that now it was certain to be dead), and we had to find out if some were letters or numbers. Anyhow, the hard part followed: I had to walk around to the back of my desk, at the end of my telephone scope, to see if four letters A, B, C and D were alight. I found them and they were OK, I shouted into my phone which had fallen down while I needed both hands to lift up the tangle of wires. Fine, said Praveen, I want you to change the power cables. Which ones? That of the monitor and that of the tower of your computer. Perhaps I should turn off the computer first before turning off the power, I suggested, and he allowed me to do so. Perhaps you do not mind - quoth he - if I put you on hold for a few minutes while you do it? Go ahead, said I and gave him my telephone number just in case we would get disconnected.

It was tough but I managed to untangle the writhing (no, do not exaggerate) snakepit of wires and change the power plugs. That on the monitor was hard to access and remove and even harder to plug in. But when I turned on the tower, all lights turned on, and after the usual long (prayerful c.q. embarasada) pause everything appeared to work as well as it had earlier that day. I was greatly relieved not to have to have the monitor replaced, which apparently they would have done under the warranty if necessary. Here it was barely 7 p.m. so the whole kit-and-caboodle had taken jus about one hour! I thanked Praveen who just then came back on line and he promised to send me an Email with all required info. I did get that the next morning, and also decided to collect all the necessary DELL numbers for Service Tag, Invoice Number, Monitor Serial Numer, Technical Service Telephone and Express Service Code and put them in a paper notebook, in addition to rather than just on a file inside the DELL or on my Website. And I felt somewhat better about outsourcing and about giving these kind, helpful and polite Indians more opportunities.

P.S. I forgot to tell that I asked Praveen if they still used lakhs (10,000) and crores (100,000) in India - yes, he said surprised, we do. I guess he felt as strange about this question as if I had asked the Maine man if they still used "thousands" and "millions" in the USA?
also click for divine APSARAS and more mondain stuff about Lakhs and Crores!!