Hewlett-Packard has set up a contact centre in Bangalore which will offer post-sales support to US customers of its consumer products.
This is the first time that HP is setting up a wholly owned contact centre for post-sales support of its consumer products sold in the US.
The centre will also serve as a research and development facility for developing and testing support processes and technologies, said Mohan Garde, vice-president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) Americas Customer Operations.
The Bangalore centre will offer all after-sales support, including tech support, for all of HP's consumer products.
"Our support is self-contained, and we will have multiple layers of experienced people in this organisation, so that the call escalation path will be within the centre itself," Garde said.
The centre, which will have 600 staff by June, will offer voice-based support in English to start with, according to Krishnamurthy Purushottam, director of the new centre. "Down the line, we plan to also offer e-mail or chat-based support," he added.
HP intends to evolve the next generation support model for its consumer products from its contact centre in Bangalore so that as the products business gets commoditised, support represents a very key touch point with the customer.
"The Bangalore centre is a mini-R&D lab that will help us develop the processes, the capabilities, and competencies which once developed, we will deploy across the network of all our partners," Garde said.
"We don't want to put out ideas that are not fully baked to the volume operations of our partners, because that could be disruptive. So we will experiment and do the pilots at our centre in Bangalore."
By having its own contact centre, HP also gets closer to the consumer, Garde said.
"We will be able to understand better what support processes are working or not working, which will accelerate the way the company can improve its processes."
HP already supports English-speaking buyers of its consumer products in the US through about 4,000 staff provided by partners based in the US, Canada, Mexico and India.
Two years ago, HP outsourced both voice-based and e-mail and chat support for consumer products sold in the US to five companies in India.
Indian partners handle about two-thirds of the volume of English-speaking support requests from customers of HP's consumer products in the US, and employ about 2,500 people for this work.
HP also announced it is considering establishing an R&D centre in South Korea.
John Ribeiro writes for IDG News Service