It is one of the most successful ventures of Tata Teleservices

Sir, vanakkam sir….. Madam, vanakkam madam….,” the hall reverberates with voices of young men and women at this BPO run by visually challenged people.

Located on the premises of the Indian Association for the Blind (IAB) in Sundararajanpatti village, 10 km north of Madurai, the TATA-IAB Call Centre is being hailed as one of the most successful ventures of Tata Teleservices in the country.

“We wanted to break from the tradition of involving visually disabled people in cane work, embroidery or furniture repair. Here, they use technology to reach out to the world,” says S.M.A. Jinnah, founder of IAB.

Twenty visually challenged people are employed at the fully automated BPO, which calls mobile users with offers of new plans, value additions and services.

The daily routine includes uploading numbers of list of customers and messages to be conveyed into a server with automatic calling facility. Once the customer comes on line, the call is routed to the BPO.

The visually challenged person interacts with the customers updating them on offers from Tata Teleservices. The response is recorded in a computer with user-friendly open source software. The average performance of a person here is 200 to 250 calls per day, almost double the range of 100 to 120 calls per day per worker in other regular BPOs.

Work at the BPO is tailor-made for the visually challenged people. The workforce includes full time employees and students.

They earn a salary of around Rs.8,000 per month, with free hostel facility.

More than the money they earn, their involvement results in an enhanced self-esteem, feels Mr. Jinnah.

M. Sankar of Karaikudi is happy to prove that he is also capable of using computers.

A. Arunmozhi, who is pursuing B.A. (Tamil) in the distance mode, enjoys her work.

“Besides giving me self confidence to face adverse situations in life, the BPO work has sharpened my communication skills,” she says.

J. Mohan Raj of Coimbatore lost his job in a medical transcription company in Bangalore when he lost his vision at the age of 26. He thought his life had come to an end. Not so. It has resumed with redoubled vigour at this call centre. Mr. Jinnah does not see any compromise in quality here. “This is not a service they do for us or we for them.”

The quality of work of visually challenged people is on a par with that of normal people. The IAB has plans to add a toll-free number to its call centre, expand its services and also throw it open to persons with other disabilities, he said.