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A Wake-up Voice Call

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DQI Bureau
New Update

Seeking to cut costs in a sluggish economy, the US and European companies

capitalized on the latest buzzword in India: BPO. But this buzzword has now

started agonizing both the worlds. And this is pretty much evident from the

recent developments that happened in this sector. Dell, followed by Lehman

brothers, shifted back part of their operations to the US from India. The stated

reason: quality of manpower.

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On the face of it, it seems that the recent developments occurred because of

the backlash against outsourcing. That could be true to some extent, but the

real issue that Dell and Lehman cited for withdrawal was ‘quality’. Quality

is still a bone of contention for MNCs, coupled with infrastructure-related

issues.

Can’t

Compromise, They Say
Dell has

stopped routing calls of its corporate customers to its call center in

India after receiving complaints about the quality of service.


Lehman stopped outsourcing its IT help desk, which handles employee

reports of computer problems. The issue: low customer satisfaction with

service levels.


Steps taken by companies



No to fresh undergraduates.



Yes to experienced people with specialization in certain verticals

Lehman stopped outsourcing its IT help desk, which handles employee reports

of computer problems, to Wipro. According to sources, Lehman wasn’t satisfied

with the level of service. "The level of quality-of-service was not up to

the mark," the official spokesperson of Lehman Brothers said, hinting at

Wipro. Last year, Lehman Brothers hired Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro Ltd

to manage some of its IT operations. The company has stopped outsourcing

help-desk job to India but it still continues to outsource other IT functions,

including software application development, applications support ,and some IT

infrastructure support. In fact, now they have decided to double their workforce

in India for other IT-related activities. Therefore it’s quality issue that

forced the company to shift their help-desk to the US as this voice-related job

requires good English speaking manpower with proper accents.

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Similarly, sometime back, computer manufacturer Dell took a similar step and

stopped routing calls of its corporate customers to its call center in India

after receiving complaints about the quality of service. The calls are now being

taken by customer-service centers in the US. Some of Dell’s North American

customers have been demanding for long time to shift the customer care back to

US. Here also, the issue has reportedly been quality of service and scripted

responses.

Although analysts have predicted that these instances will have negligible

effect on outsourcing business in India but it’s definitely a wake-up call for

most of the outsourcing admirers. It’s no longer cost-effectiveness that will

continue to attract companies to outsource work to India. Quality manpower and

good infrastructure are required to trigger the growth that India is looking for

in this segment, especially in the voice space.

MNCs’ concerns are true to some extent that by outsourcing to India they

don’t get the quality of manpower that they are looking for. These companies

have now become careful, especially when they are working with middle-tier

suppliers, as it is more likely that they might get inexperienced staff to work

with. Christine Gambacorta, vice-president, quality and process engineering, GTL

Limited said, "Cost effectiveness is one advantage that we have in India

but quality is still a bone of contention for us. The major issue is with the

accent."

It is important to ensure that overseas staff adds value to your work. Even

when a supplier has a recognized quality standard, it doesn’t mean that the

same knowledge is embedded in all its teams. Gone are the days when fresh

undergraduates were considered perfect for outsourcing jobs. Now companies

(especially third-party solution providers) desire to get experienced people

with specialization in certain verticals. That helps companies to serve in a

better way. Diana Christine, director, quality and training, Infowavz, said,

"We reject around 50% of recruitment applications that come because of the

quality. Even after proper training, these guys don’t match our

expectations."

Rahul Gupta/CNS in Mumbai

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