Enterprises May Look at End Users

by Sonal Desai    May 14, 2007

In a scenario where mobile subscribers are increasingly turning down calls from telemarketing executives, enterprises have started looking at alternatives to expand customer base.

And yet, a recent benchmark study conducted by Datacraft, has found that businesses are not ready for multiplicity. The research found customers waiting for proper responses and also an appropriate channel of communication, although enterprise contact centers use as many as eleven for communication.

The study shows a decline in outbound calls because of privacy laws. It must be mentioned here that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has initiated a No-Call Registry (NCR), which means that a similar legislation in India is not far away.

The 11 mediums include agent assisted telephones, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), speech self service telephones, e-mail, online self service, physical correspondence, fax, SMS/text messaging, web callback, web chat, and web co-browsing.

Karina Majid, general manager (customer interactive solution) of Datacraft opines, “The last three are palpable options looking at investments and compliance issues. Businesses can be a lot more responsive to the way we change.” She further states that an approach to intelligently manage contact centers should get priority. One way of doing this is by using Converged Communications as a Service (CCAAS), with IP as the base.

Majid remarks, “Businesses will have to change the way they think. We want to see people make better use of their investments.” She notes that mobile service providers cater to an elite 10% of their total mobile subscribers, at present. “IP will help them address this issue. And by IP, I do not mean only IP telephony; I mean the entire service package.”

India recently added 5 million mobile subscribers, and the list is fast expanding. A question looming over mobile service providers is whether and how they will handle the volume?

An instant case-in-point that Majid points at is the mass of people living below poverty line. They use phones for basic business activities. At present, they can only access weather, yields, market conditions, fertilizers, etc. over mobile phones, but cannot cut deals. The cost of transaction has not been brought down for them. Majid says, “I am inviting service providers to re-design processes and empower these people; encourage them to use IVRs to cut down transaction costs.”

Taking a call center scenario as an example, Majid elaborates, “The supervisor keeps a tab on the call timings. He is chiefly bothered about productivity, and hence believes in the mantra of lesser the call time, more the productivity. But has he ever wondered whether there are complaints? Has he ever considered that the client may be giving the employee feed-back on a particular issue which could be discussed at meetings, or could be turned into business opportunities?”

Converged communications will help businesses visualize benefits and also help them mobilize resources along with their partners, for better customer service. It will help them understand where they stand at present, and how to move up the value chain. “IP based converged communications are gaining ground in India,” Majid claims. The State Bank of India is one of the few institutes that implemented the solution about 3 years back.

She concludes, “India has about 50 million rich people and global businesses are also turning their focus here. The Indian enterprise has a large customer base to cater to. There is a need to put customers and their supply chain on one platform.”