State's first customer call centre inaugurated

BANGALORE, NOV. 15. The State's first customer call centre was inaugurated by Chief Minister, Mr. S.M.Krishna, at the International Technology Park Limited (ITPL) here on Wednesday. The service is being offered by 24/7 Customer.com, a seven-month- old company that is targeting the global 500 companies for its primary customership. The company currently has four contracts, said Mr. P.V.Kannan, founder Chief Executive Officer (U.S.).

IT-enabled services are set to go the route of the IT revolution. The role of customer call centres in this process is expected to be significant. A simple query about one's bank balance, or services of police and/or ambulances during emergencies, information and action is just a phone call away.

A typical example would be a customer requiring a specific service from his/her telephone company. The complaint or query would be handled by an employee at a call centre run by the telephone company itself or by a service provider on behalf of the company.

Any business that had a large customer base and constant interaction with those customers could do with a call centre. Slowly, businesses in the West are waking up to the possibility of outsourcing their call centre requirements to service providers in India.

Currently, the total outsourced call centre business in the U.S. alone stands at about $ 30 billion. The largest chunk of this business goes to Ireland. Part of the business even goes to countries such as Philippines. India's share today is negligible.

According to a study by NASSCOM and McKinsey, the global market for IT-enabled services is expected to touch $ 142 billion by 2008. The corresponding figure for India is $ 18 billion. The corresponding number of jobs in the IT-enabled service industry is expected to be 1.1 million.

Mr. Prakash Gurbaxani, founder Chief Executive Officer (India), 24/7 Customer.com, told presspersons that the first phase of the facility at ITPL had been completed and could accommodate 1,200 people over three shifts (400 per shift). The second phase, expected to be completed in three months, would be an extension of the existing phase. It would facilitate a capacity of 2,500 personnel over three shifts. At present, the company had a work force of 100 personnel.

In the first round, the company had raised Rs. 3 crores and another 10 crores was being raised through U.S.-based venture capitalists, Mr. Kannan said. The bulk of the funds would be used to develop infrastructure in Bangalore, he said.