Most consumers who call a toll-free service number probably don't give a second thought as to where the call is being routed. Their only concern is that the people on the other end are helpful and polite.
In fact, that friendly voice may be half a world away. And call center vendor ICICI OneSource is hoping that will become more and more commonplace in the years to come. A division of ICICI Group, India's largest private-sector bank, ICICI OneSource has recently made huge strides in strengthening its position as one of the largest offshore call center outsourcers. This past fall ICICI OneSource launched a U.S. branch of the company based in New York, and acquired and integrated the contact center services company CustomerAsset.
Susheel Kurien, president of the newly formed U.S. operations, expressed her belief that ICICI OneSource's recent deals will help draw attention to offshore business process and CRM providers as an increasingly viable alternative to domestic call centers. "ICICI OneSource's entry into the marketplace sends the message that credible and highly competent players are now available to international clients," Kurien says.
According to estimates by Gartner Inc., the market for outsourcing call centers and other CRM initiatives internationally is expected to reach $234 billion by 2005, and India is poised to be a large player in that development.
Chad McClennan, president of The Customer Group, believes that ICICI is taking advantage of a trend that has been growing for the past several years. According to McClennan, the idea of outsourcing call centers to India has become "almost mainstream," and that where many U.S. companies used to look to Canada for such solutions, other locations like India, Central Europe, and the Philippines are becoming increasing popular options.
"A country's political stability, technological infrastructure--along with its government's and economy's ability to provide what companies are looking for--will continue to determine who is successful in this market for years to come," McClennan says, adding that India's increasingly rapid adoption to these needs, both in technology and personnel, make it one of the front-runners in the market.