Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Nov 30, 2002
Customerbroadcast set to double operations
CHENNAI, Nov. 29
CUSTOMERBROADCAST Pvt Ltd, a Chennai-based business processing output (BPO) company that specialises in `customer contact management' or interfacing between companies and their customers, is set to double its operations in the next couple of months.
The company expects to get capital infusion from abroad, either from a venture capital fund or from a company talks are on with both.
Customerbroadcast's Managing Director, Mr Naresh Purushotham, told Business Line that, since its inception in August 2000, the company had secured "prestigious clients" such as Canon, Compaq, Siemens Medical, Sony and Sundaram FleetCards.
The way the BPO works is like this: Suppose you have a Sony walkman and you need a spare part for it. Instead of calling Sony, you call a toll free number (which Sony would advertise) and you will reach Customerbroadcast. You will still not know that a Sony employee is not answering your call, but for all your purposes, the Customerbrodacast person who picks up your call is a representative of Sony.
All the data about your set and your requirements are registered with Customerbroadcast, and from now on, Customerbroadcast interfaces with Sony to get your work done. But you do not pay Customerbroadcast. Sony does.
"We do not take the responsibility of solving the customer's problems. But we take the responsibility of reach information about the customer's problems to the company (such as Sony, Canon)," Mr Asuri Saranathan, Director-Operations, said.
How it does is by means of software, developed in-house, which enables information about the customer's problems to jump one step up in the level of hierarchy in the company, after a certain number of hours.
For example, if a hospital has a problem with Siemens equipment, and calls Customerbroadcast, the details such as the name of the hospital, equipment and the nature of defect get registered with Customerbroadcast. This data is flashed on the computer screens of Siemens, which is the owner of the data.
The moment a service engineer access this data, it becomes an "open ticket", until the problem is resolved. Until then, the data keeps jumping up levels in, say, every six hours the area manager may get the `open ticket' on the screen after the first six hours, the regional manager after the next six hours, the country manager in the next six and the global managing director in the next six. This not only enables the people at the top to be aware of the customers' problems on a particular day, but also brings pressure on the field staff, as they know that their bosses are watching.
In effect, the company outsources a part of its `customer relations management' services from Customerbroadcast. Hence, Customerbroadcast is into BPO services, although when it was set up, BPO itself had not evolved as a concept in India.
Now, as BPO is catching on, Customerbroadcast sees for itself an opportunity to offer its services for international clients too.
At present, Customerbroadcast has a `contact centre' with 35 seats, which is to be doubled, as soon as the company finalises where it would move into, for expansion.
Mr Purushotham said that the company had been following a strategy of securing only "low traffic, high value" clients, because of capacity constraints. But after the expansion, the strategy would change.
He did not want to disclose any details regarding the financial performance of the company, or the quantum of capital expected to flow in from overseas investors, as the company was at a delicate stage of negotiations. However, he said that the company was "cash positive" and that so far, some Rs 3 crore of investments have gone into its set up and operations.
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