“Good evening” says the customer care executive. “You have reached Motorola Corporation customer care centre, how may I assist you”

“Err… to begin with it is a bright and sunny morning here and I had called up the LG call centre for a problem with my washing machine. Is this the right number?”

“Off course sir, this is the right number. My bad, please tell me how can I assist you”

This could be a typical scenario in what the BPO industry is terming as Cloud based BPO services. In fact, the entire IT industry is going ga ga about how Cloud computing is set to change the landscape of the IT and ITES (IT enabled services) industry. To begin with, let me explain what it means to the services industry and then we can come to whether the model is right and is here to stay or not.

For BPO services, it certainly makes sense. Right now, the companies end up paying by the hour for the number of staff members in their BPO call centers. As prevalent in any industry, there would be pressure on the costing aspect. What if instead of the number of staff members I have for my call centre, I pay as per the number of calls that they handle? Well, most clients when provided this option would jump on the same and say – yes this is what we want. I will pay you per the number of calls that you service or resolve over the call! This seems a logical choice because the call centre work is mostly outsourced by major companies for the purpose of ‘doing the work where it is done the best’. The challenges for the companies offering BPO services are also quite a few –

1. How do I arrive at the right pricing for a particular call?
2. How do I ensure that my employees are utilized optimally? Would it be okay if I shared the staff across different companies that I service?
3. How do I account for the training cost that I incur for an employee to be abreast with handling calls for my clients?

If I were running a BPO company, I would rather have the above mentioned issues and address them marking me as a differentiator rather than cutting costs based on pricing pressures. Once a scientific method to arrive at the right pricing is arrived at, this is a really exciting proposition for the clients and it would be hard for them to resist.

There would be off course security concerns from the clients as BPO workers usually have access to customer information including at times a bit sensitive bits as well. However, given the advantages that may come along with such competitive pricing models, they may be okay to relent as long as an NDA is signed by the workers and they do not simultaneously work with competitors.

The challenge for the BPO industry is to build smart, compact and agile team of employees who can scale up quickly and work for multiple clients at the same time. The incentive structures can also change accordingly and rewarding the deserved can also get easier in the same vein. Building robust delivery model keeping constantly changing requirements in mind will be the differentiating factor that will enable companies to leverage this model to increase their top line as well as bottom line revenues!