I always wondered about this: someone calls support by phone and the support person is clearly from another country, yet she presents herself with a name that belongs to the language/country where the phone call is made. This is specially true in US/UK where call centers from India are very common since they speak the same language, yet their names are very different.

Another scenario: I live in Argentina, and it's very common for me to receive calls from people who speak Spanish with a really different accent to Argentinians, and use words and expressions that are very uncommon to us. Yet all of them claim to be in my country (which could happen, since there's a huge immigration wave from other Latin American countries). However, at some point I could verify that at least one of those calls, supposedly from Buenos Aires, came from Costa Rica.

Another example: some years ago, a friend of mine was working at a call-center taking orders from one of those infomercial companies. He was ordered to mimick Spain's accent even though he didn't have to lie that he was in Spain, just a Spaniard living in Argentina.

So... why is this? Cultural issues? Racism? User's familiarity? Are there any studies that show this brings more benefits than the obvious losses that came from users catching the company in a lie? Additionally: I used fakeness for lack of a better word, but does this have a name in customer experience?

  • This reminds me of a personal story: some years ago, I had to do cold calls to potential leads to companies on my home country. After making the initial calls in my native language, I decided to start using English and improved my leads around 73%. Why? Because I thought on the end-goal to get the person attention and "trust". I wasn't cheating on the end product/service I was selling, I just needed "something" to get the user attention and trust. Was it fair? Didn't care because we were there to talk about my product/services and with the sales I had, the client was happy and I was happy. Commented May 10, 2017 at 6:45
  • @JoaoCarvalho, this is a very good reason, hence why I ask
    – Devin
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


People like to have names that they can pronounce when talking to people, it puts them more at ease, same with the accent. This largely stems from a feeling that someone remote in a company may be powerless to actually help them if they feel like they have an issue that can only be solved locally, even if it's not true.

Directly lying about location varies from company to company, chances are, if the customer is asking where the other side is, it's either due to unfamiliar accent, name, or poor line quality issues, or being worried that their issue is going to be unresolved.

Also some people have troubles understanding accents (especially over the phone) mimicking what the end user expects makes this softer.

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