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Before establishing centers in Pakistan

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  • #16948 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Sultan and Arif:

    Although the problems persist in Pakistan but things are getting better slowly, a few good people have started taking this as a industry, finally!

    I know of two big groups which have just made commitments to enter this industry, which is fanstastic news for the country.

    But still no Azeem Premji, yet! 🙂

    Still no group who is willing to pour millions of dollars in Pakistan and abroad and do it ‘right’. Lets see what happens next year, fingers crossed.

    AK

    #16949 Reply
    Shamraiz
    Guest

    I would like to congratulate people working in the call center industry i mean those who put up gr8 effort to establish this industry in Pakistan. TRG nd ZRG specially.There is lot of potential in this industry for furthur progress. All we need is motivated professional having required credntials to take up this profession and contribute towards the development and progress of Call center industry!

    #16950 Reply
    Bilal
    Guest

    I totally agree with Mr. Chaudhri, Pakistan has all the potential, as i mentioned in my earlier posting below… its just that people forgot here that we got accent, which is not available in other region…Awareness! is where we lack with others, Moreover Call Center’s here need to focus on the QC/QA Processes which covers accent, communication skills…not getting people with the rite lingo, we keep forgeting that Sales Tactics needs to be developed before getting an agent LIVE on Campaign/Product Knowledge with competitive analysis needs to be applied in all campaigns that follows proper SOPs/Guidelines which is of international standards like COPC, ISO 9001 etc…to fullfill customer’s demand….I am sure if we work on these areas, things gonna be more positive then what it is now… There is a strong need of a Call Center Consortuim, which can represent Pakistani BPO market in USA/UK….as Call Centers or companies based in Pakistan never comes under US Patent Law, therefore we never get any legal protection from US/UK, since everything is done virtually …But if proper and legal documentation is there and a center meets customer’s requirement its a win-win situation for that center…and we keep forgetting these facts and start blaming others…We should work SMART rather than working HARD….IT plays vital role in this, if we don’t have infrastructure with experienced people things will never work out well….THere is a strong need for people to properly understand the financial portions of CC interms of ROI and TCO….instead of filling our own pocket, we should be more focused on diversification in-terms of Technology and Infrastructure and People with the right Knowledge…Believe me they are there, its just that CC has becoming a buzz word for all to make money overnight, which is totally wrong, Guys u need to change your perceptions and get more diversied instead of blaming our country….its people who makes the difference….Be straight and look within yourself where we lack…Believe me, you will see things more positively and may find a better vision to become BOB [Best-of-Best].

    #16951 Reply
    Harris Iqbal
    Guest

    All,

    Again to people who want to enter this field, think carefully. Do not “setup” a call center if you do not have a proper business plan. Running a call center is a very expensive, resource eating business. Be careful. Pakistan is just an infant this the world of call centers. But out time will come.

    Anwar Bhai, its been a while since I last saw you. How are things at your end in Alt-Source?

    – Harris

    #16952 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Harris:

    Things are as they say, ‘Chugging Along’. With the image of the country changing fast, HR development happening at break-neck speed, and second bandwidth pipe already in testing, things are looking up for Pakistan.

    The only problem:

    – No good marketing plan in general (not talking about the few that MIGHT exist)

    I have spoken to many people in the industry, from big groups, even people who come from India or US here are not the top people, rather struggling themselves.

    Our investors are still in the ‘product based’ mindset whereby they believe that making a investment in real estate and putting some computers plus hiring the savvy CEO will get them millions…….could not be more wrong.

    I have tried many times to create alliances with local companies here but they just view us as competition only! So sad! But I will keep trying.

    I guess the only barrier to entry to the call center industry now is going to be: Marketing Power!

    Advise to all, please do not engage with so called, ‘Know it alls’ who come from abroad, do some Due Diligence on them before giving them any credence. We have gone thru this ourselves early on and have learned our lesson.

    Good luck to all!

    AK

    p.s. Harris where are you these days?

    #16953 Reply
    Imran
    Guest

    Hello All,

    I am new to the forum. In fact, just came across this site today. I agree with the last person who posted, Mr. Kazi. Coming from the buying side, I have seen the governments of the Philippines, India, Mauritius, Ghana, etc market their countries for BPO/Call Center work. The Indian and the Philippines consulate in NY and DC or extremely active and the ambassadors have themselves participated in site visits to Fortune 500 companies to convince business managers that their countries are the places to outsource.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not throwing in the towel. I am just saying the fierce competition we are against. Having moved to now being a seller, I am now trying very very hard to get business into Pakistan. Let me tell you, it’s not easy. Perhaps , the most humbling experience (well Sales is, generally) to sell Pakistan. But I am convinced 100% that we will succeed and that we will bring business activity into Pakistan and as a consequence change people’s opinion about Pakistan.

    So if anyone can be of help in any way, please let me know. Otherwise, keep spreading the word about Pakistan

    Imran

    #16954 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Imran:

    Great post! Yes selling Pakistan is difficult, I remember 5 years ago when I was doing one of my first sales in N. America for Pakistan, I was in NYC and in the board room of the client there were 8 client reps including VPs, etc. One person would not agree to our model initially but we closed all his objections. The closing was going fine, until after a little while the same person pulled out a CNN website printout news report for something about Pakistan (as you can tell not favorable)! We tried everything, could not recover. 🙂

    We have now learned to pre-empt these things, but no doubt it is a BIG uphill battle!

    AK

    #16955 Reply
    Imran
    Guest

    Dear Anwar,

    Thanks for responding. Out of curiosity what tactics do you deploy to pre-empt this?

    My strategy is to talk about the risk about Pakistan in the context of risks associated with the Philippines and India. On a factual basis, i.e number of homicides per 100,000, Pakistan doesn’t rank any lower or higher than other outsourcing destinations. I also highlight the fact that despite ethnic riots, religious bloodsheds, prime minister assasinations and far devastating earthquakes, companies still outsourced to India– because it made business sense. So this becomes an issue of risk diversification.

    The other more important aspects to bring up is the fact that globalization does bring good and bad– some of the good things are jobs and prosperity. One way to combat crime (of all sorts) is to eradicate poverty. And that can only be done through the spread of jobs. At the aftermath of the earthquake it is more of a reason/mission to bring jobs into Pakistan. That emotional tie with customers does work too, sometimes. And of course, I believe in using this only b/c the group I am associated with has an angle of social engineering (not to be mistaken by social entrepreneurship).

    I would love to hear your thoughts and other people’s thoughts on this. I firmly believe that if we individually and collectively continue to promote Pakistan in all ways possible, we will break the mindset of large corporations.

    The second cable, SEMEWE 4 should help establish Pakistan as a viable place to do BPO/Call Center work as well.

    Kind regards,
    Imran

    #16956 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Imran:

    Actually my approach is a bit different, rather than comparing Pakistan with India and others (we are not in the league quite frankly) I talk about Pakistan’s strengths (and play down the weaknesses). It is an elaborate strategy to say the least.

    We create a funnel approach whereby we take in everything the prospect has reservations about (and more) and put it on the table with answers to each of his concern. But the theme is not comparison rather awareness about Pakistan.

    We then hit the underbelly of the prospect, i.e., for example Pakistan being the cheapest in the region according to Bearing Point etc etc. And the capability is there etc. As I said it is quite elaborate.

    Research is not optional, before we approach a prospect, we break the entry points down and then address them individually. But sitting in Pakistan it is difficult to do all of this hence although we are finding success but it is as I said before, “a uphill battle”

    AK

    #16957 Reply
    Aamer
    Guest

    Imran and Anwar, great comments-I agree with Imran that we need to change the perception of Pakistan relative to BPO/Call Center work. When my company (ex-employer) was opening a call center in India and Philippines, I pushed Pakistan, but to no avail. Bottom line, at least the initial awareness was created. It is hard to change the entrenched mindset embedded by the foreign news media. Major airlines have exited Pakistan, and AMEX (Pakistan) will soon be closing its operations. These events might seem insignificant at first glance but they just reiterate the notion about outsourcing to Pakistan.

    Imran you mentioned that ambassadors visit Fortune 500 companies to sell their countries! I think our respective ambassadors and all Pakistanis working in a call center should be presented with a basic power point presentation selling Pakistan in conjunction with services that are above par than any other call center in North America.

    It does not hurt to send an email, click that mouse!!! The idea is to “create awareness” and change the misconceptions. Changing valid misconceptions about our nation is a very hard task and might seem daunting at first… but, hey Pakistanis are hard working, smart/intelligent individuals and have the inherent drive to succeed. To give you an example, a few months back, I had a couple of Pakistani folks requesting me to assign them to a different project; lucky for me my project was in growth mode, and hired them instantly cutting thru HR, etc, to this date they are among the top agents with outstanding quality results.

    Lets us take the onus and spread the word, Anwar I know you have a presentation for alt-source, let’s make that a generic one, and start circulating it. Another idea is to form an unofficial committee with like minded people who have the tenure, and a zealous drive to bring business to Pakistan. We can meet on a monthly basis via Skype or conference calls and discuss our progress, exchange ideas and discuss business strategy. We need to be hungry and the same time be smarter then our competition. Remember, the idea is to bring business to Pakistan and not to individuals-that will follow in due time.

    Currently I am in Asia Pacific, and I continuously position Pakistan for back office data entry/billing work. Is it working? Not yet, will it work? Yes, it is a matter of time.

    Anwar I will be in Khi by end of January, in fact I am moving back, may be we can get together and continue discussion.

    Happy holidays and a Happy New Year!

    Aamer

    #16958 Reply
    Anwar Kazi
    Guest

    Aamer:

    Great comments buddy! Lets hook up when you get in Karachi, I am always available,let me know! If you dont have my mail address then let me know I will post it here.

    AK

    #16959 Reply
    Imran
    Guest

    Aamer,

    It’s an excellent idea to formulate a group of like-minded folks who aspire to help Pakistan. I have been in search of a group, and have been thoroughly disappointed by PASHA, OPEN (organizatiaon of Pakistani Entrepreseneurs in North American) and other similar organizations. Most of these are infested by politics and the people who are involved are more interested in patting each other on their back and talk about the successes.

    I am based in the US, and it seems you’re based somewhere in Singapore/Philippines? Anwar is based in Karachi. We should all meet electronically and have a dialogue about this. Regarding your comment about promoting Pakistan, you’re absolutely right. I infact have given several presentations to both the Pakistani communities in the US and Fortune 500s about the relative positives of Pakistan. Again, the key is to present Pakistan in the context of something. Without any relative comparison, one can never have an intelligent buyer about why Pakistan is better.

    Aamer, would you like to propose a virtual meeting time for all of us?

    Regards,
    imran

    #16960 Reply
    M Asif Ghaffar
    Guest

    Dear AK,

    With all due respect,It is really good to know that there is some place where i can get in touch with you. I tried to get your cell # from people but they are quite hesitant, emails send to you are replied by telephonic contact by your staff who are not understanding never fullfill their words. I believe the contact as also made just to keep the heat down as it has not resulted in any thing.

    I agree with you when you Quote:

    Anwar Kazi – 20 Dec 2005.
    Advise to all, please do not engage with so called, ‘Know it alls’ who come from abroad, do some Due Diligence on them before giving them any credence. We have gone thru this ourselves early on and have learned our lesson.

    But this has not been my fault, so why am i being punished for all this. What ever problems there were, i had no connection with it.
    The last thing i remember was you taking up the responsibility to get the matter solved feasibly, but the option given by the people who got in contact was not atall feasible.
    I’d like to see you prove your self a responsible man.

    Thanx,

    M ASIF GHAFFAR

    I dont have ur cell # but i believe it is not tough for u atall to get my cell # as it must be in the records.

    #16961 Reply
    dhagheem
    Guest

    To my fellow entrepreneurs and all other business folk,

    Thank you all for contributing to this tread, as it was a great read. I truly believe I came away from it knowing a little more about Pakistan’s stance on the Call Center (CC) environment/industry. I’ve enjoyed the ideas given here and believe that with the right effort and sensible enthusiasm we could see Pakistan heading in the right direction.

    Of course, I can’t step away from here without adding my .02 cents.

    My experience isn’t as vast as those I’ve seen here. I’ve only been apart of the US CC environment since before college and upto now, approx 6 years. I’ve occasionally kept up to date about the industry in Pakistan to see what’s going on. The major fault I’ve noticed, and heard, is that of proper training. Of course there is the usual accent issue as well.

    Every CC is selling themselves via their employees to the end user. The end-all of this game is simply customer satisfaction. Of course you must have stable data connections, financial backing, articulate and visionary management, etc… But all that and more is to provide the customer with the best experience. If the people in US received better service from Pakistani CCs, compared to India for example, then you would hear about it in the papers. If companies knew that they would receive better service, stable service, proper adherence to industry standards and security, then they would be jumping on rickshaws to build a presence in Paki-land. (can I copyright that?)

    However, as far as the customers are concerned, it’s all the same. India and Pakistan have no distinguishable features. When I call customer support, I receive the same awkwardly speaking robots on the other end of the line. There is no fluid motion or human interaction. I would be better off pressing buttons and listening to a computer speaker telling me what to do.

    I believe that knowing our weaknesses is the only way that we can improve. There are many articles in tech journals about the worries and problems associated with foreign CCs. I’ve always wondered how many CC owners read those and act to change their environment before they get swept under like last nights left-overs?

    Anyways, this is always a heated debate for me which hasn’t ended and probably never will. Also, I’ve already written enough for a small play so I’ll wind it up.

    By the way, if I’ve offended anyone that wasn’t my intention and you may get your chance to scream at me in person. End of March… coming to Paki-land. Desi food, here I come!

    Good luck to everyone on your endeavors.
    -dhagheem

Viewing 14 posts - 31 through 44 (of 44 total)
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