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Reply To: Industry of Mercenaries


In call centers attrition rate is very big problem. I have worked in a few of them and have personally contributed to this industry’s employee turnover ratio. While working in my last organization, I noticed that (and that happens to be a telemarketing giant) those guys were not worried about attrition rate because they believed that the major responsibility rested at the hiring stage. To explain it better, the process they used to follow was that they used to test adaptability, skill levels (English speaking, enunciation, etc) at interview level itself and limited pre-shopfloor training to only product based training. This effectively reduced their training. Now they followed a strict hire and policy on the other hand and non performers were immediately thrown out. This seems to have been very near to the way they used to operate in US.

On the other hand I have observed that some call centers which do not have a great US touch, spend so much time on training and are rather careless at hiring level. Now here also the vested interests of training institutes lie, many of which have not more than a lady or gentleman who has lived in US and hence has a flaunt-able accent. I have seen that many of these training institutes do not have people who have actually done live calling. And even if there are, they generally are the exits from the mainstream operations of Call centers because of their own personal problems (night shifts, many ladies do have this problem though it is not limited to that sex alone) or simply the high pressure involved (eg, in cold calling). Seldom do we find a trainer who has say training-worthy experience since the industry itself is not that old in our country.
So I believe high levels of trust and emphasis on training is not wise because it is more of a wastage of money and time.

We should understand that this “Industry of Mercenaries” is yet not old enough in India to have a person in senior managerial designation from a hard core calling background (from an international call center). Yes, the management may go to US thousand times in a year, but still there is a difference in the operational effectiveness when policies and systems are:-
1 Observed, grasped and implemented.
2 Observed and ditto copied.
3 Worked through by the people who implement them.

In case 1 what happens is that grasping and implementation leads to forgetting of some core essential points related to patterns of working. In case 2, regional sensitiveness (social structure, ethics, political conditions, etc) are not taken into consideration.
I believe case 3 is the best because when it comes to root level sensitivity (when it comes to ground level trouble shooting) experience of having worked one’s way up in that industry really works the best.

But, again the industry is not old enough in India to have such people as required in case 3, so I believe that the best that we can do is that we develop a concept of knowledge sharing.Operational policies that all call centers follow, the results, changes done, results after that, man management policies (industry specific), processes implemented, audits, quality standards, etc should be shared .this would certainly help in the betterment of the working conditions for agents as well as the net productivity of this industry in India.Do not forget we have other nations coming.and let not low labour cost be our main plus point…