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Indian BPO firms see a marginal rise in costs if US Congress clears bill

The bill demands creation of a list of firms that would outsource call centre jobs and give preference to companies that have created such in the US.

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2018, 11.37 PM IST
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Indian BPO firms see a marginal rise in costs if US Congress clears bill
While India's backoffice industry began with call centres, over the last decade, most of the voice work has shifted to the Philippines.
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BENGALURU/DELHI: India’s backoffice industry says there could be a marginal increase in costs if a proposed bill by a US Senator against outsourcing call centre jobs is passed but not impact its business as the proportion of call centre work done by the country’s firms has reduced significantly.

While the country’s backoffice industry began with call centres, over the last decade, most of the voice work has shifted to the Philippines with Indian companies focusing on the so-called integrated service offerings — a mix of chat, email response and voice.

“Of the $30-billion (Indian) BPO revenue, the customer interaction pie is around 30%. Of this, Indian companies mostly offered integrated services which have more transactions-related work. This bill, when it is passed, will impact pure call centres,” KS Vishwanathan, who leads the business process management (BPM) initiatives at Nasscom, said.


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The bill introduced in the US Congress on March 18 by Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio state also demands creation of a list of firms that would outsource call centre jobs and give preference to companies that have created such in the US, including federal loans and grants.

It also seeks to allow call centres to disclose their locations and allow request of clients to transfer the call to agents in the US. Giving customers a choice to speak to service agents or executives in the US would come with an additional cost, said Raman Roy, chief executive officer, Quatrro, an Indian BPO company.

“The call centre outsourcing business is given to India because of commercial reasons.

The quality of service is better and the cost is significantly lower. A few years ago we carried out a test with a loan provider, they put up a form saying if one wants the application to be processed in the US it will take two to three weeks, if one wants it to be processed in India it will take 48 to 72 hours. So, the element of choice is fine, but the choice comes with a cost. The commercial interest has to be taken into account,” said Roy. Over the last few years, politicians in the US have introduced bills seeking restrictions against outsourcing.
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