Home / Brand Post / BPO India: The Customer Takes Centre Stage

Outsourcing on a global scale has been a staple of business for over two decades. Encouraged by the success of some of the world's largest organizations, companies all over the globe have looked to cut costs by moving operations to offshore partners that can help reduce costs and streamline business processes. In this regard, India has been the preeminent destination for BPO services since the early 1990s. 


The country has undergone an unprecedented transformation in recent decades, with unsurpassed IT capabilities and a burgeoning young workforce that is highly educated and extremely skilled. "For SMEs and Fortune 500 corporations alike, BPO to India has consistently delivered quality results. And for two decades, these global companies have enjoyed these results for incredibly low costs. It has helped fuel the extraordinary growth of India's BPO industry. However, the landscape is changing for outsourcers looking to India for BPO services. The cost factor, which for so many years sat on the throne of outsourcing benefits, has been replaced by a previously unlikely successor: the customer," says Ralf Ellspermann, CEO of PITON-Global, a multi-awarded BPO executive. 


As far as outsourcing business processes are concerned, the customer has taken centre stage in the minds of business executives and outsourcing service buyers across the world. Across all industries, customers are better informed and make better purchasing decisions. And with the global success of companies like Amazon and Marriott Intl., for example, they are also more demanding, with sky-high expectations for quality customer service. Businesses can no longer afford to deliver a subpar Customer Experience (CX) in this new reality. As a result, this will impact BPO to India in different ways, both positively and negatively. India has been the uncontested leader for outsourcing IT services for the last twenty years. With an immense pool of labour to tap into, India conceivably has the workforce to handle any number of large-scale projects. It would be necessary to implement large-scale CX programs in the future. "The country is also known for its large number of skilled professionals with MBAs, PhD's, IT, and engineering backgrounds, which will no doubt, be instrumental in helping develop and implement advanced, CX-related applications at affordable rates," says Ellspermann. 


However, achieving success in the global outsourcing market now requires a great deal more than low-cost labour. For decades the allure of significantly reduced cost has been the calling card for BPO to India, and other outsourcing countries, to be fair. In the past, with offshore hourly rates in India typically 40-60% less for a similar program in places like the US, many SMEs and large multinational corporations were willing to sacrifice customer satisfaction for the enormous savings in labour. No longer. "In the era of the empowered customer, where a single Tweet or Facebook post can damage a company's reputation, businesses can no longer afford to deliver anything less than a world-class customer experience," explains Ellspermann. Although India has long been known for its impressive IT capabilities and delivery track record, the country has not been known for its prowess in the area of customer experience. 


The Philippines, on the other hand, has been a global leader in providing contact centre services for many years. It is especially true of the voice-centric BPO sector. With an economy that is smaller than India's and a workforce that numbers only about 70 million people, the Philippines has managed to build a thriving contact centre industry valued at over US$26 billion. "The Philippines has become a hotbed for CX implementation, in large part due to the country servicing US-based clients, who have demanded a high level of customer service. India must focus on becoming a world-class provider of CX services to stay on a level playing field with the competition and maintain its leadership in the global outsourcing market. This will require a significant investment in the workforce, including skilled professionals with the necessary knowledge and experience," concludes Ellspermann.


Disclaimer: This is a company release. No HT journalist is involved in creation of this content. 


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