Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Threat to 300 call centre jobs

THE future of a call centre employing hundreds of workers is under threat.

Staff employed by Internet giant Tiscali were told nearly half the 620 jobs at the Christie Fields call centre in Chorlton could be axed by Christmas.

And the operation may even close by the end of 2008.

The centre handles calls for well-known broadband services such as Bulldog and Pipex Internet.

The businesses were previously owned by internet group Pipex but sold to the Italian firm Tiscali in September. Now Tiscali have revealed plans to overhaul the operation.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Indian call center lands in Ohio

More foreign companies are finding that hiring Americans offers distinct advantages, reports Fortune's Jia Lynn Yang.

It would be easy to imagine Reno, Ohio, as the type of place that would be hit hardest by outsourcing - a small American town losing out to the invisible hand shifting jobs to places like Bangalore and Guangzhou. Instead, outsourcing is bringing the jobs to Reno. Across the street from an Army Reserve center and next to a farm, a customer-service call center hums, its 250 workers answering phones for online travel agency Expedia. The center's owner? Indian conglomerate Tata Group.

The phenomenon has a name: "insourcing," the term experts are starting to use when foreign multinationals open offices on U.S. soil and hire Americans, at a higher price, to do the very jobs they once lured overseas. In this case the center in Reno is targeted toward companies willing to pay a premium - its workers there cost up to 40 percent more than their counterparts in India - to give their U.S. customers a more culturally fluent, less frustrating 1-800 experience. (No more hearing someone read from a script ten time zones away.)

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Indian offshore call centers 'not doomed'

Offshore call centers are expected to continue growing, despite the fact that some companies are bringing their customer care services back home.

Lloyds TSB became the latest British company to decide to reduce its use of Indian call centers. But earlier this week, Barclaycard announced that it is moving more work to Mumbai, and Datamonitor contact center outsourcing analyst Peter Ryan said it is shortsighted to predict the end of customer service outsourcing.

Investment in offshore markets will continue for some time, as companies attempt to capitalize on lower costs and high-quality client care, Ryan said, predicting that more industries "than ever before" will be looking to adopt outsourced customer services.

This year "will be one of the most challenging in contact center outsourcing's history," Ryan said.

Ryan said, however, that call center operations will have to invest in Web-chat, SMS and e-mail technologies if they want to attract new customers. They also must offer systems tailored to specific vertically integrated industries, he said.

Companies will be looking for suppliers that can satisfy demand from multiple contact channels rather than just voice, he added.

Datamonitor predicts that outsourcers will start to focus on higher-value services--such as business-to-employee care and technical support--that are likely to lead to higher revenues and profits over the long term.

Steve Ranger of reported from London

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Winners announced for CCF European Call Centre Awards 2007

The Hilton Metropole in Birmingham played host to the CCF European Call Centre Awards on 26th September 2007. The awards, sponsored by Garlands, served to celebrate the successes and achievements of the call centre industry over this past year.

The evening proved a great success, with 1,200 guests attending on the night. Comedian Frankie Boyle was the compere for the sell-out evening, in which 20 awards were given out. The evening also raised an incredible £1,500 for the Samaritans with a charity race card, where guests could predict the eventual winners of each award.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

12 Principles that Drive Profitable Customer Relationships

A dozen time-tested fundamentals that will help your organization achieve greater success.

If you’re still trying to sort out what customer relationship management really means, you're not alone. The term has been so hyped and so broadly interpreted that it remains a source of confusion. And once codified as a popular business movement, terms tend rise and fall with the trends of the day.

But it’s important to remember that building profitable customer relationships will never go out of style. From the days of the corner store in centuries past, to the global enterprises of the future, the following 12 principles will remain the backbone of building a successful business. Each is both compelling on its own and intertwined with the others — there is no question, though, that customer relationship management as an integrated whole is greater than the sum of these parts.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

BigPond announces 200 new call centre jobs for SA

The BigPond Customer Care Centre, located in Telstra's SA headquarters in Pirie Street, provides a wide range of customer assistance services including email and web-based responses to customers' technical and service inquiries, through to assistance for customers visiting BigPond's islands in the virtual world "Second Life".

Premier Rann said the new jobs were a welcome recognition of South Australia's booming Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

"It is also a vote of confidence in South Australia's competitive advantages over other States.

"And these jobs come on top of Telstra's announcement earlier this year that it will create and invest in 15 fully-funded scholarships at Australia's first foreign private university, Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School of Public Policy and Management here in Adelaide.

"So I congratulate Telstra on this expansion and all those involved in making this centre a success.

"This Government has worked hard to give our State the competitive advantage over other States in terms of our low cost, high skilled, innovative, creative, ICT and education city that has a strong record of industrial peace and low rates of labour turnover," Mr Rann said.

Justin Milne said the BigPond Customer Care team in Adelaide, established in July 2005 and until now staffed by 185 customer service staff, was one of BigPond's great successes and the decision to boost its staff would bring even higher levels of service for BigPond customers.

"Top quality customer service is essential as the number of new customers grows exponentially.

"BigPond's email-based customer support team has been independently reviewed and ranked as the best in any industry in Australia. So it was logical for us, in looking at how we expand the service, to choose to boost the Adelaide team.

"This announcement is an endorsement of the quality of work the Adelaide team is achieving and our confidence in Adelaide as a source of talent for this very important service. As a member of the SA Economic Development Board I am profoundly aware the state definitely punches above its weight in the digital sector, and that's why we want this centre located in Adelaide," said Mr Milne.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lead Generation Software and the $10k prize

Internet Marketers Dr. Mike & Howie Schwartz, from Traffic Rules fame, are offering out their new lead generation software for testing.

Lead Supreme 3.0 is Quality Lead Generation software that is available for anyone to test out for a nominal $20 giving them the chance to profit, gain leads as well as a chance to win $10,000 in the process. The trial has been extended until October 25th.

Sometimes in our quest for online wealth we overlook the low hanging fruit because it just seems too easy. We figure that someone else already has that covered and that we are best served by trying something more difficult…

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Smart Ways To Build Customer Loyalty

There is saying “customer is god”, “customer is everything”, “businesses are from customers, customers not from business”, “if you don’t care your customer then other will do”. All these sayings are leads to only one conclusion, all businesses needs customers, the more customers you attract – the more your business grow. In all this often business and corporate forgets the existing customer’s value. You've read the studies that show it costs many more times to win a new customer than to retain an existing one. You know the secret to making use of this statistic is to increase customer loyalty. But since customer loyalty is not something you can go to OfficeMax and buy, you may be racking your brains trying to figure out where to start improving the loyalty of your customers.

Some of the facts might surprise you. According to some researches the reason most customers leave has nothing to do with the product. In fact, most customers say they are satisfied right before leaving. According to Allegiance, Inc., a provider of enterprise feedback management (EFM) solutions, companies need to go beyond customer satisfaction to build loyalty and engagement. To keep companies from having to spend the extra money to replace lost customers there are some simple ways, methods to retain the customer loyalty in your company and product.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Call centres still on hold

Low band wave and costly connectivity are still the source of major headaches for Bhutan’s call centre business hopefuls and perhaps that can explain, say observers, why the centres are not taking off as some of them said they would by now.

Out of three, only TST Systems Private Ltd. became operational in May this year in Paro. The other two - Business Solutions and Drukonnet in Thimphu - are yet to start their maiden venture.

Drukonnet declined to talk to Kuensel.

TST Systems is using 2 mbp broadband from Bhutan Telecom and pays Nu 300,000 as monthly fee, which experts say, in the context of call centres, is expensive for such low connectivity.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Call Centers Earn Less Than Ringing Reviews from India’s Grads

Call centers, once the star of India’s outsourcing industry, are increasingly viewed as an undesirable employment option by Indian university graduates, reports TIME.

In fact, several colleges have barred call center recruiters from their campuses. Call centers have gotten a negative image due to the long hours and stressful conditions they impose on their employees, according to TIME. Retail, airline and hospitality industries now offer salaries equitable to call centers, and the most skilled students aspire to jobs in more sophisticated sectors like product development.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Call center job applicants 'disappointing' - CCA exec

WITH the rise in the number of call centers in Cebu, there is a growing need for qualified individuals who will fill future positions in the sector.

"But available talents are very disappointing," said Honey Crystal of the Call Center Academy (CCA), a training agency.

She said there is not enough pool of labor for the future demand of the call center industry.

This is why the CCA is offering training for call center agents, Crystal said.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Biggest Philippine call center to open

MANILA, Philippines--Contact service provider Teleperformance will launch Friday what officials say is the country’s biggest call center with 2,500 seats, at the EDSA Central in Mandaluyong City.

Called New EDSA IT Center 2, the center is a two-level building occupying about 16,000 square meters with 2,500 fully equipped workstations.

Teleperformance, which has corporate headquarters in Paris, France, and Miami Beach in Florida, also plans to open two more sites in two years to bring its workforce here to at least 10,000 people.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

India's Call-Center Jobs Go Begging

An Indian employee at a call center provides service support to international customers in the southern city of Bangalore.

Call centers are symbols of India's economic boom. With Anglicized names and feigned Western accents, Indians handle credit card problems and troubleshoot computers, collect debts and conduct customer satisfaction surveys. Over the past decade or so, relatively high salaries in the call center sector have attracted thousands of applicants across the country. But now the boom is going bust because India's college graduates and young job seekers just don't want to be bothered with the business anymore.

Young people say it is no longer worthwhile going through sleepless nights serving customers halfway around the world. They have better job opportunities in other fields. The work is tiring and stressful and offers few career advancement opportunities, says Dr. A. Sankara Reddy, head of Sri Venkateswara College in New Delhi. In response to students' complaints, Reddy said the college a few months ago banned call center recruiters from campus. At least a handful of other local colleges over the last few years have made the same decision.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Automated Intervention Works Against Call Center Agents

My problem is with intervening on the call -- especially if you use speech analytics to make it happen automatically. To me this sounds like a case of over-engineering, and I can imagine it causing serious problems for agents. Furthermore, I see this idea as being in conflict with the current movement in the contact center industry to empower the agent.

I see real value in real time analytics for the contact center, particularly in terms of its ability to gather valuable customer information which can be used across the enterprise. However, as a former outbound agent from the 1980s, I'm distressed about this idea of using real time speech analytics to identify calls that are going sour and automatically intervening on the call for the purpose of preventing the customer from defecting.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Philippines: 'Call and Outsource Centers Expanding'

A leader in the Philippines' business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, TeleTech vice president and general manager Maulik Parekh vowed today to double the number of Filipino employees working in his company by 2009. Parekh made the announcement in a speech during the inauguration here of TeleTech's eighth contact center in the country.

He said TeleTech's chairman and CEO Kenneth Tuchman was so impressed with the leadership’s vision for the BPO industry and the Filipinos work ethics that he has decided to expand TeleTech's business in the Philippines. TeleTech, which currently employs 13,000 Filipinos in its contact centers nationwide, plans to increase to 25,000 the numbers of its workers in the country by 2009.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

911 service is also seeking Indian Call Centre

Callers to police stations could soon be talking to someone in India as forces are now allowed to privatise their call centres. Police across the country are privatising their call centres and backroom staff in a bid to cut costs. The Government has been forced to relax the rules to allow forces to sign contracts with private companies, including foreign ones as there is a massive cash shortage.

This means that police will be able to use Indian call centres to deal with routine police inquiries. Currently all civilian support staff are employed by the police. Over the next year as many as 20000 civilians will be transferred to private companies but some jobs could go overseas. The computer giant IBM is the first private company to have secured a deal. It has signed a £400 million contract with Avon and Somerset Police.

The 999 service will not be affected by the changes.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

6.5 m mobile users register for ‘Do Not Call’

Within just one month of launching the Do Not Call service, nearly 6.5 million mobile subscribers have registered their telephone numbers to escape receiving unwanted calls from telemarketers.

The DNC registry will come into effect from October 12 after which telemarketers will be penalised if they call mobile subscribers who have put their numbers that have been put on this list.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

India's Youth Set Sights Beyond Call Centers

As India’s economy booms, its young workers are no longer so keen on trying to soothe the irate customers of the global companies that outsource their call center jobs in the country. Industries like aviation and retail are among the new favorites for job seekers, says a study.

The business process outsourcing sector, which now has attrition rates ranging from 25% to 30%, could see that number climb to 30% to 40% over the next two years, says the study on urban youths’ emerging career choices, conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Calls to UK cops could soon be answered by Indian call centres

Phone calls to British police stations could soon be answered by someone in India, with police across the UK privatizing their call centres and backroom staff under cost-cutting measures.

Owing to a massive cash deficiency, the British government has been forced to relax the rules to permit forces to sign contracts with private companies, including foreign firms.

Up to 20,000 backroom jobs in forces across the UK could be transferred to private firms in the next year, with some possibly moving overseas.

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Do-not-call: Only 8,000 telemarketers log in

Even as all telemarketers were asked by the telecom regulator to register with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) by August 31, only 8,000 telemarketers have registered as of October 1, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). There are a total of around 30,000 telemarketers in the country.

Registered telemarketers can only make calls or send SMSes to those phone users, who are not registered with the National Do Not Call (NDNC) registry, or those who don’t mind receiving unsolicited commercial communication. Technically speaking, unregistered telemarketers can continue to send unsolicited calls and SMSes, till official complaints are lodged against them.

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

India's call centre professionals are STRESSED OUT

Govt planning to introduce health policy for IT professionals

DIVORCE, heart attacks, abuse, depression, diabetes, obesity due to junk food, stress, insomnia due to daily night shifts and even suicides.

That's the flip side to a seemingly lucrative career as a call centre professional in India today.

Divorce rates among IT employees in the southern Indian city of Bangalore have risen fourfold in the past three years, reported London's The Times.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Report: Call centers no better at satisfying customers

Dimension Data says plummeting customer satisfaction rates reflect more accurate measurement on part of contact centers.

Despite increasing emphasis on providing better service, contact centers appear to be doing a worse job of satisfying customers, according to a call center report published Monday.

Satisfaction rates in contact centers took a nosedive in 2006, falling from 82% a year earlier to 68% last year, according to the Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report. IT services consultant Dimension Data prepared the report, which surveyed 403 contact centers in 42 countries about the latest industry trends.

Participants reported lower customer satisfaction rates and at the same time confirmed that customer satisfaction is the principal driver of call center development strategies. It ranked first among development strategies in importance, according to 87.3% of respondents. Quality and process improvements placed second in the rankings, cited by 80.7% of respondents.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Gartner warns against Indian call centre fraud

A shortage of skilled labour for Indian call centres increases the risk of fraud and identity theft, analyst firm Gartner warned in a newly published study.

The increased risk is the result of a shortage of call centre agents with Indian call centres. The need for trained and qualified call centre workers is set to reach 1 million by 2009, according to study by the Indian government, but by that time about one quarter of those positions will remain unfilled.

The shortfall in call centre agents will cause offshore outsourcing firms to hire less qualified staff and could lead to reduced due diligence, warned Gartner. The analyst firm advised its clients to pay close attention to attrition rates and security measures, and make sure that its contracts guarantee service level agreements and penalties.

The security of outsourcing companies is an ongoing concern. Last July a call centre worker in India stole and sold account details of 1,000 customers of a UK bank to an undercover reporter for the Sun for 4.25 per account.

In another case last April police arrested three form Indian call centre employees for attempting to steal $350,000 from accounts of clients of Citibank.

In addition to the security risks, the shortage of operators will also increase the labour costs for skilled operators, which in turn is set to erode the competitive advantage of offshore call centres, while the average quality level of the centres is at risk of falling.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Automated Intervention Works Against Call Center Agents

By Patrick Barnard
Customer Inter@ction Solutions

My problem is with intervening on the call -- especially if you use speech analytics to make it happen automatically. To me this sounds like a case of over-engineering, and I can imagine it causing serious problems for agents. Furthermore, I see this idea as being in conflict with the current movement in the contact center industry to empower the agent.

I see real value in real time analytics for the contact center, particularly in terms of its ability to gather valuable customer information which can be used across the enterprise. However, as a former outbound agent from the 1980s, I'm distressed about this idea of using real time speech analytics to identify calls that are going sour and automatically intervening on the call for the purpose of preventing the customer from defecting.

Read More article...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Call-centre youth faces burn out

AFTER years of night shifts, junk food and abuse from irate callers, the youthful generation that made India the call-centre capital of the world is facing burnout.

Reports of heart attacks, depression, suicides and diabetes among workers in their twenties have so alarmed ministers that they are planning a health policy for the flagship IT sector.

The problem is so acute that some estimates suggest 100 billion rupees ($3 billion) could be wiped off India's national income unless more is done to protect the health of its workers.

Read More Article...

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