Saturday, May 26, 2007

Call center

Call centers and customer care directly deals with a companies consumers - and so deals directly with the most important part of any business. Keeping the consumers happy should obviously be of paramount important and considering that most calls to customer care come in when consumer needs some help or are otherwise distressed about the companies services - it is all the more reason to treat them with kid gloves.
Outsourcing this to another entity, who will not feel the same involvement with the consumer, in my opinion is short sighted and foolish. Mind you, there are valid scenarios where this does make a lot of sense : but it is definitely not wise to apply this for most cases out there.
In a highly competitive environment where consumer has choice and the power to exercise it, after a couple of calls he will just move to the next service provider : and the resulting bad reputation created would effect not only the current but future customers too.

When companies started pulling back their business from call center's in India, the reasons given seemed logical to me but were disputed & rubbished at various forums.
After first hand experience for past few days, I am more than convinced about it.
Let us take two simple examples which happened to me in last couple of days:

I am used to ordering a set of specific combination of toppings and pizzas from dominos ... and for nearly 5 years now, this has rarely changed.
Of late, they refused to service this order claiming that they cant do that specific combination. If it was a change of policy, I can understand, but in between sometimes I would get my combination ... so nowadays, I insist and ask them to talk to their supervisor - after which all is well. I suspect they have fronted their calls at some callcenter.

Another incident happened today afternoon (which is prompting this post) - ordered something from pizza hut - they got my name, address, phone number and order wrong (all of them !) and I had to go about explaining it for well past 5 minutes : as with domino's, these details have been in their database for well over 5 years now. And at the end of it, I get some shoddy stuff delivered to me. On calling up the manager, he was all whining about how they outsourced it to a call-center and they are facing problems because of it, etc, etc.
Do I, as a customer, need to give a shit whether they got a call center to take orders ? If I am not satisfied, I will just move elsewhere and they will lose my business.

The above might look contrived, but I can quote many more examples from my and from friends lives which follow similar pattern.
The whole incident reminded on of an article I read a while back - of the mistakes startup's make. You should always try to be responsible for the core aspects of your business & the basic infrastructure it depends on - and should try to build & maintain it in-house as much as possible. This way, you will have complete control of the quality of service that is offered to the consumers.

And to end the tirade, watch this movie :-)


Blogger AK said...


5/28/2007 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/29/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Manoj M said...

Long post, but very true :)

6/01/2007 03:18:00 PM  

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