I was on the phone today with Pramod Bhasin. Pramod is the current chairman of
, the Indian hi-tech trade association. It’s a role that a leading industry figure takes on for a year, as his actual day job is as CEO and Chairman of
, the largest business process outsourcing (BPO) firm in India.
BPO firms take on the “business processes” you want to outsource to a supplier. That could be your accounts, finance, contact centre… any part of your business where an expert might be able to do a better job. Genpact offers services ranging from legal to HR to accounting to collecting credit card debt – they have a lot of expertise in various business domains.
As customer services is such a significant part of the BPO industry I thought I would take the opportunity of exploring if Genpact had found how social media was changing the way contact centres, and customer services in general, is changing.
Pramod said: “We are just at the beginning of what social media can achieve for us. In fact, there are really three ways in which this is developing. First, we are exploring ways in which our teams can interact with each other in a far more unstructured and informal, but more effective way. Second is around customer groups. We can introduce our own customers to their peers. Because of social media the interaction between us and our customers around the world can be better. We can introduce our different customers and facilitating that exchange provides a much better opportunity for us.”
It’s true, internal communications and projects can be managed better this way, but then Pramod touched on the third point, which was really where I was leading to: “…then there is the B2C side such as telemarketing, or credit cards or other direct to consumer products. I don’t think it has been developed yet as well as it could – there is a significant opportunity there though.”
I was a bit disappointed. I thought the customer service firms – particularly the largest in India – would be on top of the various new ways in which consumers are interacting with firms via social media. Pramod added: “We are very concious of what is happening, even if we have not developed a strong expertise there yet.”
So, I laboured the point and asked about the telecoms firms such as
that are extensively using tools such as
to reach out to their customers directly. Is there a firm in the service sector, such as Genpact, that is offering this kind of expertise to firms who really don’t understand social media?
Pramod said: “We are not there yet. We all have to figure out where is the money here? There will be a huge upsurge of business from that area once we do figure it out…”
I’m sure he meant the industry in general, rather than Genpact alone, when he used the first person plural pronoun, but even so. It’s a bit deflating to hear that the big Indian service firms are entirely in the dark when it comes to advising on how to make social media work for both B2B and B2C clients.