Genpact CEO says 'Twitter: we need to figure it out..'

I was on the phone today with Pramod Bhasin. Pramod is the current chairman of NASSCOM, 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 Genpact, 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 BT and Vodafone that are extensively using tools such as Twitter 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.

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Yes, You have raised a lot of valid questions but we should also appreciate the fact that for the first time ever, NASSCOM had a 'Social Media Live' Partner - which shows that NASSCOM is getting very serious on engaging the users and gaining a wider reach in the Social Media. We all together can make a difference. What say?
Hi Harish, yes I agree there was a strong support for social media by NASSCOM this year. I think my point here though is that many firms are struggling to find how social media can be useful for their business and they will turn to the IT and BPO suppliers for advice - it's areas like customer services that are changing the most. So one would expect these firms to have a coherent story by now... at least I would have expected it.
Great Post Mark!!
I agree with you Mark that the IT-BPO industry needs to leverage social media more aggressively or may I rephrase and state 'more assertively'. But then what Pramod stated is key to this : where is the money here? NASSCOM has been making serious attempts towards this end, taking the example of the Emerge Forum platform! There are miles to go before we see a surge of our NASSCOM members using twitter and other social media tools to their business advantage. The start has been made.... At the Foundation, we have started to explore our social media strategy, as we are hopeful IT-BPO industry would be doing the same over next two/three years. There is no escaping it! We are awaiting this eagerly as we want to engage the 2.3 mn workforce (which would also increase over time) through volunteerism (93% companies already have some engagement or the other) and sensitising them on the social accountability aspect, thereby getting them to positively contribute to the rural side of India referred to as 'Bharat' by our Past President Mr.Kiran Karnik. That in my opinion, would be a big game changer too for the IT-BPO industry! Let's wait in hope, time is the best judge!!!!
Hi All, All are targeting social media for promoting their business. It really a good plat form but here people coming for fun & share their view not not marketing. So better use social media to promote your "BRAND" instead of your product. Thanks Again Alex
Mark, Let me thank you for the post. This was informative and interesting. You have explored the area of a social media offering from BPO firms and found that the biggest one in India doesn't have anything concrete yet. However, it is suggested that the industry itself lacks a solid social media offering and that assumption owes itself to your interviewing just ONE very prominent figure and restricting the entire post to just one company. Did you not think of looking elsewhere? I ask that of you because I know of an efficient and totally Next-Gen social media service that's prediction-capable and addresses customer sentiment in real-time, especially when it comes to businesses with a direct to consumer approach. The solution is called 247tweetview and as part of the name suggests, is from a company called 24/7 Customer. The link to the tool goes and they already have 200+ global businesses signed up and using it. The tool monitors, analyzes and generates reports of customer sentiment with seemingly unstructured but invaluable customer sentiment data collected from 'tweets'. I understand Twitter might not be social media in it's entirety but they make up for a pretty sizable chunk of all activity online that can be categorized as social media. Businesses with access to a tool like 247tweetview have found a way to stay tuned in to the buzz and will be more in sync with their customers, don't you think? Personally, I know it works and works like a charm but that's just me.
Partha, that's interesting and I do know people at 24/7 including Nags... I wasn't trying to post a world view of what Indian BPO firms are offering. It was clearly responding to what one leader was saying, so I'd be delighted to take a look at the tool you mentioned and maybe have a chat on the phone to someone about this.
You have no clue about the business side of Genpact do you ?. For a company like Genpact which counts 80% of its revenues from F&A, Analytics, IT and Process Consulting, why would twitter be a big deal ? You should have asked Pramod about solutionexchange and many other systems his team has developed to collaborate with customers and external experts.. Go to this url and sign up to be an expert ( ) .. Enterprise Social Media is not so much about telling me about the whoopie cushions at an event, its about helping me find a solution to business problems.