BPOs turn to social media monitoring

Written by Diksha Dutta | Diksha Dutta | Updated: Sep 19 2011, 06:27am hrs
Indian business process outsourcing (BPO) firms are getting smarter with social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Companies want to know how, when and why they are mentioned on these websites by different consumers and BPOs are there to help them now. Last week had two important

announcements in the $14 billion Indian BPO industry signifying this trend. Genpact, the countrys largest BPO acquired EmPower Research, an integrated media and business research company with capabilities in social media research, media monitoring and measurement. Though the amount of the deal is undisclosed, but analysts feel it could be $35-40 million. On the other hand, 24/7 Customer, a Mumbai based BPO firm mapped its plans to recruit over 5,000 social and interactive media (SIM) advisors in India.

Gaurav Sethi, senior vice-president, mergers and acquisitions at Genpact says, There are a lot of unbiased chats happening on social media websites. Companies feel the need to track social media conversations to understand consumer preferences and perceptions towards their products and services. This process is less expensive and faster as well. We will help them derive critical insights through unstructured texts on social networking websites. In the last 12 months or so, we have been seeing a difference in the way companies want to approach their customers.

NV Tiger Tyagarajan, president and CEO, Genpact remarks: We are seeing a significant increase in demand for our smart decision services, and EmPower Research adds tremendous capabilities in extracting insights from social media, a fast emerging source of data about consumer behaviour. This aligns very well with our vision of supporting our clients in smarter decision-making and in delivering improved business outcomes.

The sectoral growth drivers for this demand are the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), telecom, retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) verticals. BPOs feel there is definitely a need for such services and this data mining will help their customers in better margins and revenues.

Though BPOs have been concentrating on business analytics for quite some time now, social media monitoring is pretty new on the cards. Pankaj Kulshreshtha, senior vice-president, analytics and research at Genpact says, We have been doing business analytics and research from the very day of our inception for GE and now for other customers. But, media monitoring is new for us. We will be adding another 360 people with EmPower acquisition, to our existing analytics team of 5,000 employees.

Animesh Jain, chief delivery officer at 24x7 Customer says, We have hired over 1,000 employees for social and interactive media careers in the past nine months.

Careers in SIM offer candidates a unique opportunity to be part of reshaping the future of customer service as they learn to support emerging digital trends for Fortune 500 companies, using cutting-edge, predictive technology.

Genpact acquired EmPower Research, which provides a comprehensive range of services including social and traditional media monitoring and measurement, event impact research, brand tracking, and data management. The services of EmPower Research are used by some of the largest pharmaceutical companies, PR agencies, technology firms, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies in the world.

Jain from 24x7 customer feels that it is high time that BPOs provide their customers a lot more than just voice services. A lot of challenges can be surpassed through social interaction on the Web. There is huge opportunity in this area for companies like us, he concludes.