Do you recall that in the early 2000s when you had to visit a service center or call a technician from a nearby electronic store to get your television fixed? You were required to produce a physical invoice/ bill and a warranty card to get a free repair. Failing to produce them meant getting charged for the services rendered. This often left a negative impression as there were limited ways to reach Customer Support Services or contact the company.
Cut to 2022, when everything is digital. You can scan and save your warranty cards and bills on the cloud. Contact customer service centers from your home’s comforts to get anything fixed, repaired or replaced. This has become plausible thanks to the technological advancements which have helped reinforce better relationships and increase market penetration.
Whether a person wants to lodge a complaint about a recent purchase or get queries answered related to a new product, he can dial a number from his phone or connect with the customer service representative through chat or email. It’s evident through the modern-day digital customer behavior and buying decisions in the last
few years. We can’t deny the fact that we, as users, love having such options at our disposal — it makes things much easier and more convenient.
How did we get here?
It took around five decades for customer service to emerge in the form of call centers. Among the inventive ideas, building toll-free numbers (TFN) turned out to be a massive game-changer which made it easy for people to contact the brand’s customer support.
While this preserved the essence of human-to-human interaction, it also became a stress for agents to handle multiple calls and queries, leading to many missed and unattended calls. They continued to bear the brunt of the work until the introduction of Interactive Voice Responses (IVR) in the late 80s, which also led to the widespread practice of outsourcing to countries such as India, the Philippines, and Latin America, persisting even today.
The early years
Earlier, telecom companies used to function on single line transmission through copper cables to connect with customers, which led to more wait time, delayed query resolution, and negative customer experience. One of the significant drawbacks of this arrangement was their accessibility to people and it was easy to make manual interference. Since the emergence of optical fibers, BPOs have adapted to them for better communication connection and improved Customer service. These use light to transmit signals, which allows for higher bandwidth and longer distances without experiencing signal degradation. It means that the customers can now virtually connect to our agents from any distance. This is when connectivity rate went down from 350 milliseconds to 70 milliseconds and TAT from 24-48 hours to a few hours.
In the mid-2000s, the BPO sector attained significant business maturity. As expected of any industry with growth-oriented ambitions, they started contemplating ways to expand their capabilities. BPO companies initiated a re-evaluation of their position in the worldwide supply chain and proactively crafted their storyline: to assume the responsibility of being strategic collaborators to their clients and transcend non-core and back-office operations.
How did Asian BPOs come into the picture?
Outsourcing was not a new phenomenon in the 70s; it became global in the 80s when transport and telecommunication became more affordable and convenient. After Kodak’s mass third-party hiring for its IT sector, which was shocking for all the other companies, outsourcing got recognized as a legitimate business strategy for the first time.
Unsurprisingly, the late 90s, with growing internet connectivity and telecommunication advancements, made Asian BPOs the place for developed nations to fulfill their business needs. Due to their high-value services and low costs, Asia continued to attract advanced countries and deliver non-core activities and operations, human resources, IT, and back-office services.
From days to seconds: How JindalX embraced tech and reinvented processes?
Being in this industry for over 20 years, we have had the privilege of witnessing and playing a part in the evolution of the contact center market. We have observed a remarkable shift from the days of the simplistic “round robin” (or second ring strategy, a method to distribute incoming calls among agents present in the first line) method to the advent of call queues, which has significantly transformed the game. It also included CLI-based routing (caller line identification) that connects the caller to a specific agent for their queries.
Callers are no longer required to dial and wait indefinitely for an agent to address their queries; they are placed in a queue and connected to the next agent through skilled-based routing, and language-specific lines.
The introduction of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) marked the next phase of evolution, featuring advanced technology that enabled touch-tone responses and signal transmission across wires. In 2012, JindalX built IVR-based systems for our partners to reduce response time, improve relationships and help them grow. As technology advanced, network service providers and vendors emerged, further propelling the industry forward. These developments profoundly impacted how we operate, making us more efficient, customer-centric, and streamlined.
This transition aligned with the global proliferation of the cloud as organizations began embracing the Everything-as-a-Service model. One of the most critical changes cloud-based systems brought about for contact centers is how they communicate with people. We started using skill-based routing where calls coming on automatic call distribution (ACD) directs to IVR through touch-tone response (in telecommunication, each of the buttons pressed generates a tone of a different pitch) Moving forward, these calls get distributed among concerned and expert agents.
I) JindalX, in its 22 years of existence, has catered to over 50+ clients in 9+ industries. Thanks to our in-house quality and monitoring tool, Aqua, we have seen a significant improvement in how we interact with the customers or deliver exceptional customer service results. It helps meet all the requirements of an auditing team and ensures the quality of customer delivery is monitored and well-maintained. Aqua streamlines the daily hassles of manual call auditing and reporting from error-free auditing to a robust reporting system. It is designed to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape and seamlessly integrates business processes\quality parameters into its functionality.
II) We designed and developed a cloud-based customized CRM system for one of our partners, India’s first GPS-based ambulance booking platform. Using this CRM, they could cater to a user base of 3 lakhs and improve communication between patients and their family members and ambulance drivers.
III) Realizing the potential and need to filter, sort and aggregate data from disparate sources, we developed an Amazon Redshift-based solution, data warehouse (DWH), for an American direct response marketing company. We’ve engineered it to seamlessly integrate with various online marketplaces, such as Shopify, allowing real-time import of order data. This integration includes updates for new orders, order status notifications, shipping details, cancellations, and refunds. It has helped our partner save sales, upsell and cross-sell and improve existing customer relationships.
IV) We have also modernized our Knowledge Management Systems (KMS), understanding the importance of being at the forefront of technological advancements and investing in our employees’ training and development. It has helped improve accessibility to different data, information and process guidelines that invariably increase productivity and boost efficiency. It helps our people provide personalized, cost-effective and to-the-point resolution to your customers and allows for efficient problem-solving that helps you save operational costs.
Today’s dynamic business landscape is constantly changing due to the rapid advancement of technology. BPO companies take advantage of the growing technology to adapt and lead. A BPO company’s future depends on its ability to adapt to new technological and growth drivers and to be flexible.
Overall, the shift from traditional to technology-based communication channels has significantly impacted customer service in call centers. By providing a more reliable and consistent communication channel, call centers can offer a better customer experience, bolstering customer satisfaction and loyalty. Now the focus is on FTR (first–time response), CSAT (customer satisfaction score), and ATT (average talk time). We are happy to contribute to this journey, are excited about the future, and look forward to witnessing the continued evolution of the contact center.