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Eleven consortia in race for Railways' call centre services

Mamuni Das

New Delhi , Aug.20

ELEVEN consortia — each consisting of IT-enabled service providers and instant voice response system (IVRS) hardware equipment vendors and software players — have bid for setting up the call centre network of Indian Railways, according to sources. Those in the race include IBM, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Avaya. At present, Railway officials are working on technical evaluation of the bids.

As a part of its move to emerge as a customer-friendly organisation, the Railways has plans to set up call centres with "high service-level agreements that would provide quality service to our passengers." Outsourcing the call centre operations to an expert in the area is a move in this direction.

"At a time when low-cost airlines are trying to give us competition, we are trying to ensure that not a single query from any customer goes unattended," said a Railway Ministry official.

"We are broadly considering three options as of now for setting up our network," Ministry sources said. One option is relatively centralised in nature that includes setting up call centres at four metros in order to serve four regions of the country. "All the calls from each of the region can be routed to/from the centralised location of that particular region," said an official.

The other option is to spread the workload and set up call centres at about 22 decentralised locations so that each centre serves 22 relatively smaller areas.

The third option is "somewhere in between the above two options so that about 10 call centres could be set up to serve all the rail passengers across the country." The official said the technical evaluation process was likely to be completed by September.

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