It was 6:30 in the evening. Kunal got ready and dressed up. His cab will arrive anytime now and he needs to go to his office.
His nieces Padma and Madhuri came running to him.
“Uncle, come we will burst crackers together”, Madhuri urged while pulling his hand.
“Uncle, today is Diwali and how can you go to office today?” Padma who is elder among these two asked in amazement, “Don’t you have leave today?”
“No darling, I need to go to office today, you all enjoy”, Kunal replied.
Kunal Pal is from Kolkata but he is residing in Chennai for more than five years. His elder brother Rajat came to Chennai twenty years back and is employed in a bank. Rajat’s children Padma and Madhuri both study in nearby convent schools. Kunal came graduated from Anna University in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. After his graduation he has joined a IT Services company in Chennai and was getting ready to go to office.
The driver Muthu called him up –
“We are waiting below anna, come come.”
He rushed out. Since he is the last pickup in this cab there are six other colleagues in this cab waiting for his pickup. If he is not on time all of them will be late. The cab may leave as well.
“Yes Muthu, five minutes”.
Kunal gets ready and runs to his pick up point. The cab does not come to his door for pickup. He needs to go to a nearby pickup point by walk. It takes him around five minutes. Pallavi, Sandip, Rakesh all will be waiting for him in the cab. All of them are from different parts of India. They all sacrifice their India festivals to work for their overseas clients. Instead they get US holidays, most of which is of no use to them because all their friends and relatives will be working on those days.
His work starts at 7pm every evening. He works for a Bangalore based company that manages IT network for their global clients. He is part of a global service support group that supports global IT infrastructure for the clients. His job involves a lot of coordination with different departments as a part of his job.
Every day he reaches office before Seven pm. He needs to login immediately. The login and break time is tracked by the back-end system. Avaya call management system displays the call details on giant LCD monitors. Calls will start coming from 7pm IST. But today as soon as he logged in it showed a call in queue. Still he had two minutes to go but picked the call –
“Good morning! Thanks for calling XXXX helpdesk and you are speaking with Paul. May I know your name and social security number please”, he greeted the caller in a warm voice and in a clear US accent.
Bengali Kunal Pal is known as Paul here. All his colleagues call him Paul as well. He hates this identity theft but the customers hardly understand this by speaking with him. They feel comfortable that they are speaking to a guy from US and feel at home.
He completes the call within three minutes. Well below the standard AHT (Average Handling Time) set for them. Good to start a day in positive note. Even though he couldn’t resolve the query, he documented the call in his system and escalated the issue to their resolver team. The resolver team known as the L2 team works out of China and they will do further analysis on these escalations and will get back with a resolution.
Besides him is the desk of Sandip. He is known as Sandi to all. He is the team leader for this team. Sandi also manages the L2 team sitting in Shanghai, China. Even though L2 team mainly works on BMC (an application used to track jobs) for all leave weekly off related decisions they need to apply to Sandi.
“Sandi, the POS machine is not working at Sanders. It’s been two days that printer setup is not done and network is in mess. Becky was very upset,” Paul gave a short description of the issue as he felt this issue could escalate to senior management.
“Hope you have escalated to Xin’s team. Let them send field techs there if necessary. I will check with Xin in today’s call”, Sandi assured him of action.
Xin is a senior member working in L2 desk in Shanghai. He has daily call with Sandi to discuss various issues. Sandi checks the update of the ticket. It should go to the network team in Budapest but some of the updates are also not captured in their knowledge base yet.
“Paul, our knowledge base needs to be updated with this issue. Please drop a mail to Tony”, he asserted.
Tony or Antonio John Pinto is the knowledge manager for this client. He and his team of knowledge managers working out of company’s Bogota and Philippines offices take care of company knowledge management system on Remedy (a software application that helps in workflow management and knowledge management). They work round the clock and there is at least one person to support company’s round the clock operation.
This information needs to go to them in a separate mail and they will update the knowledge base only after consulting with client’s SPOC.
Meanwhile, Sandi sees that the L2 desk has raised the issue to Bob’s team in Budapest. They manage the network for all the client location. The telephony (POS is a card based payment system that uses telephony network as well) team reports to Dave who works out of his home in Canada. This team is partly in Bangalore and partly in Netherlands.
Meanwhile Sandi sees Trisha one of their team members approaching him.
“Sandi, I need to talk to you”, Trisha came to complain about something. She looked agitated.
“What happened Trisha, why are you so angry today?” Sandi tried to calm her down.
“Can we please go inside a meeting room?” Trisha asked.
They went into a meeting room as Sandi realized that she wanted to address some immediate issues. She spoke up as soon as they entered the room.
“If Perla’s team can’t handle payroll properly, can’t we hire some Indians to do that job?”she was fuming in anger.
Perla Johnson and her team of five accountants are from an outsourced accountant firm based out in Sydney Australia and they process payroll for all employees of this company.
“Why? What happened?” Sandi was clueless.
“They have again deducted more tax from me. Also my Diwali bonus is not credited yet”, Trisha was fuming in frustration.
“Raise it to Venkat in Bangalore na. Let him look into it”, Sandi tried to give a solution to this problem.
“Listen Sandi, I am fed up with every day goof up of our Finance guys. Either they should learn Indian accounting system or our Bangalore team should take over. This is disgusting. I needed the bonus for my Diwali shopping.”
“Well, send a mail to Venkat and CC me. Will see how quickly we can resolve this.”
Sandi knows that Perla and her team do a decent job but due to time difference with them Indian employees can’t talk to them directly. That is part of the frustration that Trisha is showing. Moreover, Indian tax rules change every year and most of the employees become confused about their TDS and blame the outsourced Australian company for every mess that happens.
Sandi comes back to his desk. Xin has updated the status of Paul’s ticket. The ticket is now allocated to Bob’s team. If needed they will transfer the ticket to Dave’s team after checking but that may take some time.
Meanwhile a mail pops up in his system. He opens the mail. “We are having a challenge in our new deal in Japan. The client wants BMC in Japanese language and we need Japanese speaking knowledge managers. We need the entire BMC guide in Japanese”, this was from Akash.
Akash Ganapathy is the Program Manager who works out of Bangalore. He handles transitions as well. Sid knows that this new transition is for a Japanese retail giant that needs to setup a backbone for their global IT support. But their local team can work only on Japanese version of software. This may give additional challenges to the company as all field staff also need to be well versed in Japanese language. Even though these service centres can be managed from far-East locations like Shanghai or Hong Kong where Japanese speaking professionals are available but the field staff need to be based out of Tokyo.
The day passes with many other eventful incidents. Towards the end of the Sandi sees Bob’s update on Paul’s ticket. He has checked the cloud settings and everything seemed perfect. He has transferred the ticket to Dave’s team for checking Telephony connection. Probably recent cyclone in Ohio had damaged the telephone network.
The transfer will automatically raise a service request in Telephony team’s queue. The field tech assigned the SR will directly visit the site, rectify the issue and update the ticket from his mobile. Customer knows that it may take two working day’s time for a field technician to visit the site.
It is 8 am in the morning. Both Paul and Sandi have completed more than twelve hours of work and they were ready to go. While going back home they mostly never get the office cab due to their extended working hours. Sometime Rebeccca drops them home. Rebecca is the Voice and Accent trainer and she also lives nearby.
Next day Sandi came earlier than his regular cab. A different cab was sent for him. He needed to attend a meeting little earlier than his usual time and hence their transport team has arranged a different cab for him. He logged in at 6:30 after the meeting got over.
He looked into the BMC Remedy system. Dave’s team have closed the Sanders’ request and the technician sent there has replaced the required Hardware. Now the POS system is working fine and customer request is closed.
“Paul, that Sanders’ request is closed. Please send a Customer Satisfaction Survey request to them. Don’t depend on automated survey form. Many a times that does not go out of our system. Do it now, else Deborah’s team will start marking observations. Anyways you have not yet achieved required CSI score.” Sandi told Paul.
Deborah and her team of QAs works out of company’s South Africa office. They take care of entire company’s MIS reporting as well. Some of their team members are in Sao-Paulo in Brazil.
Meanwhile, Sandi’s mailbox received another mail. This time it is from Deborah herself. She has sent the last month’s audit report to everyone. His teams performed well in documentation and process follow up but scored low on CSI and training.
Sandi knows that training is very important for any team. But his team is fairly new due to high level of attrition and the training team is not able to manage the training from Budapest. They needed process training for the team and the trainer Pallavi is based out in Budapest. She is asked to travel to Bangalore for conducting training for the Indian teams. She will conduct the training for chosen members from multiple teams and part of the training will be through webinar.
Sandi knows that after this training his team will be better equipped to resolve customer issues in less AHT and will improve upon the CSI score.
Paul and his team are not alone. Today there are hundreds of teams like him that deliver world class services through technology driven global teams. In a way Indian BPO and KPO industry has Indianized the world by delivering truly world class services.
Update on 28th October – This post has won an entry pass to 2014 INK Live conference