Kumar has almost taken it as his personal goal to provide customer service of increasing
levels. Else, why would he remain in the support business for the last 10 years? While he
has been in Tata Telecom as General Manager, Customer Support, since 1995, he had earlier
been the Technical Support Manager at HCL Corporation since 1988. His educational
qualifications as an electronics engineer led him to join Philips R&D in 1979. With
these varied experiences, he appears driven to using the web to provide the most
cost-effective link to his customers.
How would you describe the business
of your organization?
Tata Telecom, a JV between Tata and Lucent Technology, is a lead player in business
communication solutions. We are marketing a complete range of equipment that cater to the
needs of today’s businesses, offer solutions and applications that help our customers
enhance their business revenue, improve productivity and help them get connected. We have
solutions for almost everyone, be it hospitality industry, finance, office communication
or networking across various locations. Our products cater to the mid- and hi-end needs of
Can you describe the IT
infrastructure of your organization?
Tata Telecom is a company
which is approximately 12 years old. Born in an era of IT awareness we have emphasized on
IT infrastructure from the beginning. Being a manufacturing company, we have an elaborate
IT infrastructure to support our factory and finance applications. Today, IT is at the
center of all business strategies across the various industries, and similarly in Tata
Telecom. We are now in the process of putting up an intranet to connect our various
offices. We have a LAN in each regional office. This helps to make business inputs
available to our front lines. On this network we have also put up a Customer Call
Management application, called ‘Smiles’, and in due course we will be putting up several
other applications. Our priorities are to have those applications on the net that will
help us serve our customers better and faster.
On what basis do you select a
software development vendor or a systems vendor?
The process starts by
outlining a comprehensive company and division strategy, which translates into need
indentification. It is at this stage that we start looking around for solution providers.
In today’s IT world, there are some clear leaders. Then there is also a tremendous amount
of learning and updating that we need to do for ourselves to be able to make correct
decisions. We look for vendors with similar industry experience and innovations in
solution and capability to support us.
As an IT user, how do you keep
yourself updated with the trends in customer application developments?
It is primarily the trade magazines, seminars and of course, the inputs from our
supplier and business partners that help us move with the current trends.
How soon do you see your
organization using the Web for improving customer access to your organization?
In less than three months.
What are the current limitations in
your organization’s IT capability, to improve the timeframe for web deployment?
I don’t think there are any limitations, we are moving forward and should be there soon.
We will need to change some of our internal processes, which should also be in place by
the time we are ready.
Are there any key technologies, skills,
capabilities that you consider critical for improving customer satisfaction levels in
For me, customer satisfaction is dealing with humans. All organizations and customers in
the end consist of people and they need to be taken care of to meet our business
objectives. IT is there to help improve the productivity of an operation. If we all align
to a single idea of understanding our customer’s business, maintain constant touch to
inspire confidence and be proactive, customer satisfaction or customer delight whatever
you may like to call it, will be achieved. And of course, your people must be motivated to
deliver what you conceive. This exactly is what our ‘customer service strategy’ is at Tata
What is your goal for improving the
customer satisfaction level?
We are targeting at ‘no