Posts Tagged ‘communication’

Tech Support from Far Away

The virus protection software on my new laptop wasn’t working so I called tech support. A man with an accent I assumed to be from the south of Korea took my call and instructed me to remove then reinstall the software.

Even in the States, I’ve been in the habit of asking phone support staff where they are  physically located, and what the weather is like there, rather than wait in silence as the computer does what it needs to do. I’ve found out that the GEICO call center is located in Virginia Beach and Amex often answers calls from India.

I didn’t even question the fact that my man was in Korea, but I asked anyway. He told me he’s in Shanghai! I asked him if he’s Chinese, and he told be he was! He told me he provided tech support for China, Japan and Korea.

Korean is a pretty obscure language, and very few foreigners picking it up. I am guessing my man was from the handful of ethic Korean who live to the north of North Korea. It’s not uncommon to talk to an Indian customer support representative in the US, but I was pretty shocked to find outsourced phone support even in Korea.

Korean hyper-efficiency

I was truly awe-struck by the speed at which things get done in Korea. If you request things like telephone service or buy something and ask for delivery they come the next day! Not only that, the service provider will either call you, or SMS you in the morning to confirm that you will be home, and set up a time, and they arrive on time! None of the 4 hour window thing.

So in single day, the movers came to moved our stuff from my parents place where we were staying temporarily, and as we were unloading the truck, the people came to deliver and install an A/C unit we bought the previous day, and another delivery team to deliver the refrigerator and yet another team of people to measure and install blinds. All in the space of 2 hours. Still another team of workers were sent by our landlord (whom we called that morning) to cut and reinstall a kitchen cabinet unit because the space to fit the over was too tight.

When they SMS you to confirm the date of the delivery (which is usually free) you even have an option to postpone the delivery and schedule it for another date, all through SMS messenging. Whenever I use my creditcard, I get an SMS message confirming the usage to prevent fraudulent usage.

Another day, we had internet service, cable service, telephone service, oven delivery and installation, gas connection, and washer delivery and installation, all done in a single afternoon. And when they leave after the installation or whatever, they give you a businesscard with their photo on it and the number to their mobile phone, and tell you if there is anything wrong or if you have any questions to call them immediately. They will take personal responsibility. No rescheduling for another appointment.

I’m not sure if I like this super-connectivity, hyper-efficiency of service or not.  But then I think about how long it takes to get the cable guy to come in the States and I think, I can get used to this. Did I mention cable costs $20/mo?

I also wonder how Korea came from a backward war-torn agricultural no-country to an ultra-industrialized, technology crazed powerhouse in just one 50 years.