A recent article featured in The Globe and Mail discussed how the call center outsourcing industry is being completely revolutionized in India, a country that is now ranked as the second largest destination for outsourcing services in the globe. This industry is no longer made up of just traditional agents, instead it is being filled by educated individuals including lawyers. These lawyers are responsible for offering legal services to big time U.S. financial services firms and realize that to gain a competitive edge they must fully comprehend the intricate English language.
Singh is the man in charge of a group of approximately 4,000 trainers who are working around the clock to transition their workers into “globalized” individuals who, according to the article, can differentiate petrol pumps from American gas stations, realize that a small talk is vital, and that understand that it is important never to say “no” right away.
“At first it seemed really impossible that I was going to be able to do this and it made me really nervous,” said Rachna, one of Singh’s students. “But now speaking like this, talking to Americans, it just feels normal to me and I feel professional.”
Both India’s information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) verticals are continuing to rapidly grow. In fact, BPO and IT operations now make up around 7.5 percent of the country’s GDP and employ 2.8 million people, a survey by the National Association of Software and Services Providers revealed.
Years ago, the Indian call center outsourcing division was noted as providing a less than stellar customer experience, to put it nicely. However, currently this sector is filled with young people who are pretty well-paid at around $500 a month for an entry-level KPO job, and are rewarded handsomely for a job well done. This switch hasn’t been an easy one and it has been the trainers who are responsible for improving the skill sets that these agents have.
Muskan Chawla, who trains corporate lawyers for the legal outsourcing firm Pangea3, believes that working with organizations similar to hers is helping to yield an all new type of agent. “This is where the whole business world in India is heading,” she said. “If you are well-groomed, have a decent personality – you can go from here anywhere.”
Furthermore, these eager-to-learn individuals are also schooled in important elements that can make or break a budding customer relationship including etiquette, culture and business behaviors. To reach these goals, Singh tells his students the honest truth in relation to the fact that Americans only use the word “no” when something simply cannot be done. “We never say ‘no.’ It causes frustration. In India we use lots of vocabulary, we think it’s a good thing and makes us sound intelligent.”
These budding agents even are taught about words that could be considered racist and are advised to avoid them at all costs. For example, never call a “Red Indian” a Red Indian; instead refer to them as Native Americans. Any wars or political views should are also topics that should never be touched.
As the call center outsourcing industry continues to evolve due to newly released technologies, agents need to keep up and countries like India that are helping them to do so will surely continue to expand.
Edited by Rich Steeves