BPO Players Now Focus On Quality Of Training

Bangalore | Updated: Jan 26 2004, 05:30am hrs
Training and recruitment standards in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector are becoming more stringent as jobs in this sector move towards the higher end processes. According to some players in the sector, recent allegations regarding the poor quality of agents have triggered off quality consciousness among BPO firms.

Speaking to eFE, chief executive officer (CEO) of recruitment and training firm PeopleOne Consultants, Ajith Isaac, said that there was a definite shift in the training process, at two levels. At the entry point, companies were looking for prospects who have a reasonable amount of experience, rather than getting freshers, he said. Secondly, firms were looking at prospects who have excellent learning skills in terms of the processes in an organisation.

Mr Isaac added, Companies are intensifying their training processes, especially in the case of value added processes, soft skills for customer relationship management, as well as training for the actual process and operations.

He added that as the industry matures, there is an increased need to focus on customers at the higher end. The greatest challenge now is to identify the right methodology for training, Mr Isaac added. PeopleOne had trained 2,000 people in the BPO sector in the past year.

Allegations regarding the poor quality of agents have triggered off quality consciousness among BPO firms.
Said Transworks CEO Prakash Gurbaxani, Earlier, where firms recruited 10 out of 100 candidates, today around five or seven are absorbed. This is because the labour pool available for a call centre type of job is getting tighter, unlike for a regular back office job. Therefore it has become necessary to tighten the recruitment engines, to ensure that the right kind of people are recruited.

One of the early players in the sector, 24/7 Customer, that added nearly 2,000 people in the past year, said that entry barriers such as psychometric tests were being utilised to ensure that the agents coming into the system were trainable. Maintaining that the company has been focussing on the quality of its agents as part of a continuous process, 24/7 Customer chief operating officer S Nagarajan said, The industry is still in its infancy. So the number of pre-trained and experienced resources are far lesser than the demand and training becomes critical.

Training has always been a critical component for the BPO industry. Wipro Spectramind CEO Raman Roy said that he had not found any training institute up to the mark. The company preferred to train agents itself, not because it wanted to, but because there was no other choice, he said.