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BW Businessworld

Serve & Volley

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The latest move to  curb job losses in America — the US Call Center and Consumer Protection Act — has become a lightning rod for all kinds of people. BPO company chiefs are crying foul, and those not associated with the BPO business wonder whether this is payback for scuttling reforms related to foreign direct investment in retail. The truth is, there is more at stake than just American jobs.

First, India is no longer the biggest outsourcing or call centre destination: the Philippines is, accounting for 350,000 jobs compared to 330,000 in India. Second, customer service quality has become a big concern. By calling the Bill protectionist, BPO executives ignore that issue. Third, there's worry about privacy issues related to financial information; in the US, checks on call centre employees are more rigorous than in Indian BPOs. That's why call centre employees taking calls have to identify their location, if asked (but BPOs call this ‘racist). If we are going to jump to conclusions, let them at least be the right ones.

STRICTLY BUSINESS

This is one market listing we could do without. New Delhi's Nehru Place figures among the top 30 notorious IT markets of the world for dealing in pirated goods and services, according to a report released by the US Trade Representative.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 02-01-2012)