Pradeep Mukherji, Avasant India President Quoted in Economic Times
NEW DELHI: Outsourcing vendors could see more and more clients move back customer service work onshore or in-house, according to the Black Book of Outsourcing's latest report. While telecom firm Orange UK recently announced plans to stop outsourcing call centre work to India, banks like New Zealand's ANZ National and UK's Lloyds TSB have in the past said no to offshoring contact centre work. In its 2008 State of the Industry Report, the Black Book noted, "Companies are bringing parts of their customer service back onshore and even in-house, because it is a key part of the customer experience." As part of its new strategy, Orange UK had recently announced that it would move back call centre work done in India to centres in the UK. Stating its goal of being the best-loved telecom company in Britain, CEO Tom Alexander said, "To reach that goal, we need to give our customers consistent quality, quality of network, products, service and experience." Says ExlService president & CEO Rohit Kapoor, "The India offshoring story is intact though companies will reshuffle processes and portfolio. Customer service has always been more sensitive and BPOs have to look beyond just voice based work to high end services like analytics and risk advisory services. This is absolutely key to retaining clients." Earlier too, banks like New Zealand's ANZ bank have categorically stated that even as it outsources more back-office work to India, contact centre won't be part of the outsourcing portfolio. Last year, Lloyds closed its 600-people Mumbai call centre, citing customer feedback. Companies like Powergen and Esure have done the same earlier. Experts say the decision to cut back offshoring to India is sometimes caused by companies jumping the gun without a clear strategy in mind. "Companies tend to offshore call centre work first as it's perceived to be easier to do. Also, one would see more of this happening in the UK where there is a lot more resistance to offshoring and labour laws are more stringent which means that companies can't offshore work involving job cuts and hence, don't get enough value out of the move," said offshoring advisory firm Tholons CEO Avinash Vashistha. Adds BPO advisory firm Avasant MD Pradeep Mukherji, "Where scale isn't large, some companies would find the overall cost of training and dealing with attrition high in India and will move back work. However, where scale is required, no country beats India. We will see Indian service providers have a larger global presence in the next few years and become less offshore-centric."