October 25, 2011: In 2008 an ecommerce company in India, Ferns and Petals faced a severe problem when its online payment system crashed just two days before the Valentine’s Day. We can just assume how much their business would have suffered?
In e-commerce if the customers are not able to buy online, it will certainly affect the business and that too in peak business period. So Ferns and Petals were in a run to save the business. They started calling their customers over the phone. By doing this they were able to solve the issue and promised the customers that this would never happen again. This made them to think about starting a call center.
What Ferns & Petals did was to tackle an emergency and that soon became a necessity for the company. Other e-commerce companies too started to think about setting up call centers. This has emerged as a new source of revenue for the Business process outsourcing firms. US based e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay has been doing this for long time and now Indian e-commerce firms have started to follow them. Amazon and eBay have outsourced their back end processes to Indian outsourcing vendors. This move by the Indian e-commerce companies will definitely help the Indian BPO vendors to increase their revenue as most of the high end voice based processes are moving to more cheap locations in Philippines.
Indian BPO vendors provide a major portion of the customer care services to most of the retail giants across the globe. These services include call centers, pre and post sales service etc. Since most of the e-commerce companies in India are in the startup stage, they are concentrating on building the call centers in house. But as they grow in scale they will be forced to outsource services as they will start focusing on improving customer service.
According to Deepak Patel, CEO of Aditya Birla MInacs, the BPO vendor from Aditya Birla group, this move by e-commerce companies will increase the demand for BPO services. He said that e-commerce companies are a huge opportunity for the BPO industry and it’s too early to quantify the business in terms of revenue. He added that since small companies in the e-commerce domain does not enjoy economies of scale to run a BPO, it will be offered by the Indian BPO companies.
The e-commerce companies have realized that talking to the customers over the phone will provide them with sales opportunities and that has made them understand the importance of voice support.