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Before establishing centers in Pakistan

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  • #16917 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Fellow Entrepreneurs:

    I have been seeing a lot of interest at this forum and generally in whole of Pakistan for establishing new call centers. Very happy to see all this interest in this industry in Pakistan, but below are a few pointers that might help you build a better business out here, because in my humble opinion:

    – The lifecycle of a small (50 to 100 seater) call centers in Pakistan is between 12 to 18 months, due to lack of capital and/or management expertise check out and do some R+D about how many call centers have opened and closed in the last 2 years here

    Please beware of these following pitfalls, I apologize upfront if anyone feels my opinion is not justified, I am always available for more discussion on the same, this opinion comes from solid 5 years of running outsourced call centers in Pakistan, again this is my humble opinion:

    1. CAPITAL: Treat setting up call centers in Pakistan as any other infant industry in a 3rd world country (according to a Big Five Consulting company’s research, only 1500 operational seats currently). You will need to invest and invest and then invest some more in HR/Training/Infrastructure/Recurring/unforeseen (due to the fact that in lots of places you will be the first one doing it)/Certifications/etc. I have seen good centers fail because the initial capitalization was excellent but the board could not take the monthly ‘hit’ hence closed shop

    2. SHOCKERS: Pakistan remains to be a 3rd world country, you cannot be risk averse and do call center business over here. There will be strikes, closed roads, international bandwidth outages (need to have your own quality satellite system), bad press in US media, some guy blowing up something somewhere which will come back and have an effect on your business, be prepared for this and have strategies worked out

    3. HR: no machines, just people. Paying them well is not enough, have retirement plans, medical plans, loans, training, career paths etc etc all that and then some, both tangible and non-tangible, you know what I mean? Be prepared to invest upfront and exude dynamism and success.

    4. TRAINING: Get people from abroad (make sure they are not over ambitious, HR over here is after all new to this concept), and invest in this heavily

    5. CERTIFICATIONS: just one word ‘COPC’

    6. MARKETING: well if you have not figured your marketing and sales side out about bringing quality business to Pakistan then………..good luck!

    IT/admin etc are support functions, very important but you will find enough resources here to handle these quite well, just throw enough money at them.

    I feel with all this figured out and with the interest currently in Pakistan and with the foot traffic we are seeing, things can work out quite nicely, but no 2 or 3 year ROIs, forget about it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope this helps,

    Anwar

    #16918 Reply
    Fahad Khan
    Guest

    The ITeS industry situation in Pakistan can be best defined in two words: “Call Center Bubble”.

    Whenever people approach me and talk about setting a call center a Deep Purple song gets played in my heart; “Sweet child in time, you’ll see the line……..
    Wait for the richochet”

    It’s true that one should think about 2 or 3 years ROIs, however if you plan out business correctly and have quality business you must be at break-even in first few months- I am talking about start ups 20 to 50 seaters (My Disclaimer).

    There are only few call centers in Pakistan which have quality work and they are making enough profit after expense. And they are hardly one or two companies which know where exactly they would stand in next 5 years.

    Hope this helps too

    Fahad Khan

    #16919 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Fahad:

    Well said!

    But break even in a few months ๐Ÿ™‚ man, I want to know more about it :):)

    You are right though that only a ‘few’ know where they are headed in the next five years.

    I just hope that we apply more lessons from mature providers in India and else where and move with right capitalization and management from the get go!

    Anwar

    #16920 Reply
    Fahad Khan
    Guest

    Anwar:

    Take some of your valuable time out and I shall walk you through it.

    Regards,

    Fahad Khan

    #16921 Reply
    Altaf Rao
    Guest

    Well i would add somethign more to Pakistan Call Center Industry.

    We dont have experienced people who can handle voice/time sensitive applications very well. There is no trining program being offered in Pakistan. Everyone is doing on hit n trial basis.
    We need real experinced person.

    #16922 Reply
    Nizar Virany
    Guest

    I have an interest in opening a call center in Pakistan. I need to know if some one has any knowlege of how hard it would be to get 2Mbps upload and download bandwidth in karachi.

    Also if some one has knowledge of how much are bandwidth charges from Pakistan. We are planning having a Voip gateway in Toronto, ON and are currently in the market looking for the most cost efficient gateways so that we consume the least amount of bandwidth as well. We are expecting to initially serve about 300 callers simultaneously during peak hours.

    Someone please help.

    Thank you

    #16923 Reply
    Altaf Rao
    Guest

    Cost for 2Mb bandwidth is $2000 per month for shared and $8500 for private leased line.
    2Mb is not sufficient for 300 callers. You need atleast 6Mb or more to serve 300.

    #16924 Reply
    Arsalan Tariq
    Guest

    I my self is working as a call center specialist. I totally agree with Altaf on the Call Center operations training as currently there is no proper education grounds are being made for the Call Centers. But i have never even seen the Call Center company sending there techinical staff for the training as they hire the network engineers as it is cheaper to get one and get some local training done by their vendors.

    I think the companies should send their Techies for training and get these training done for the open market here in pakistan through those, as till now i see many companies taking interest in investing in the call centers.

    #16925 Reply
    Harris Iqbal
    Guest

    Call Center Specialists. Boy do we have a lot of them now. When I was in India a few months back, I remember being in a facility that housed over 4000 CSRs. Even there, I did not hear anyone claim to be “Call Center Specialists”.

    Baring that, I am writing to say hello to Fahad. If you remember correctly, we met at a seminar arranged by PSEB in their conference room. You where coming to Islamabad a short while after that, and emailed me. I replied back but your emailed bounced :). Not good Fahad. You won’t break even if emails starting bouncing my friend.

    Do let me know if you plan to come to Isloo again. And bring Anwar along from KHI as well if you could. I am sure we will have one hell of a debate :).

    Take care.

    Regards
    – Harris

    #16926 Reply
    attn: harris
    Guest

    man i am doubling over reading your comments yeah u are right too many call center specialists and no enough call centers
    cant understand pakistan ventured into this field few years back and we already have individuals claiming to be expert consultants
    people dont be duped by all of that
    it will take a while before pakistan will get to see some serious inbound business (thanks to the smw-3 fiasco)
    multiple fibre optic links, lot of support from the govt, experienced management leadership and a some very patient investors will be a good mix

    #16927 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Harris:

    Was in Isloo on Thursday, you have my cell number? In any case, it seems like old Call Center folks are now moving on and new kids on the block are coming (I hear many new groups are foraying into the unknown with the call center idea)

    Lets talk soon

    Anwar

    #16928 Reply
    Fahad Khan
    Guest

    Hi Harris,

    About that email getting bounced, I relocated to Karachi to join AMZ. I think it took a little longer than two weeks for you to reply.

    I visit Islamabad off and on and I guess I will be paying my last visit this weekend or the next. I am going to Central Europe for good. Would love to meet you, I will scrap you my contacts, I believe that you are in my Orkut friend’s list.

    Anwar Bhai,
    I dont know if I will be able to meet you again anytime soon. I will miss your coffee.

    #16929 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Fahad:

    Man good for you and good luck to you! Wish you all the best, let me know if you need me for anything.

    Coffee is always waiting for you in Karachi ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anwar

    #16930 Reply
    Atif
    Guest

    Hi there! i would like to gain some info about opening up third part call centers in pakistan.. please contact me through my e-mail! thanks

    #16931 Reply
    Arsalan Tariq
    Guest

    Thank You harris for clariying my concept of the Call Center Specialist.

    Actually this is my designation in a company and been made a call center specialist for the specific solution not all the solutions. and to clarify i am not a consultant.

    Currently i am trying to gain my knowledge on the purely IP and Hybrid Call Centers can any one help me in this regard as i am currently working on the Circuit Call Center.

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Reply To: Reply #16931 in Before establishing centers in Pakistan
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