Growing pains for Indian call centers

Aug. 17, 2004 at 4:28 PM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- India's call centers are running out of workers skilled enough to handle their clients' needs, an Indian trade group is warning.

The nation's National Association of Software and Service Companies said Tuesday India now faces a shortage of approximately 200,000 IT and business process outsourcing professionals, the Scotsman reported.

And that number is estimated to grow to 3.6 million by 2012, the association said.

In addition, high turnover and huge salary increases are straining India's call centers. As a result, costs continue to rise, said Iain MacRitchie, the chairman of Livingston's FST Technologies.

He also said research from Britain's Mintel consultancy shows Indian staffers might work faster than U.K. counterparts, but call center staff in Britain resolve 17 percent more queries the first time.

All of this encourages U.K. workers.

"Moving such jobs offshore has been seen by many organizations as a panacea for cutting costs," said Anne Marie Forsyth, chief executive of the Glasgow-based U.K. Call Center Association. "Yet, we have always stressed that customer service remains an extremely complex issue."

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