T I C K T A L K s . . .

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I'll always be around

there've been days

days past

you've been a darling

and it will last

it was your day

hope you had a blast

happy birthday dear

i'll always be around

keep an eye out keep an ear

you'll see me, for sure, and you'll hear

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Love is but a word

Love is but a word
Haven't you heard my love?
Why does it still ring inside though?
When the insides are out
and all over my love

Give me some of that frozen heart
Haven't you none to spare my love?
While i crash and reduce to ash
May you soar to heavens my dove

Love is but a word
Now i know it is my love
Birds won't have enough of songs
Mine is but a word my love

Give me some of that frozen heart
Don't you go have all my love
Why won't it go out, the ember?
Am i to burn forever my love?

Love was but a word
Don't you see it was my love?
Wish i had some of that frozen heart
Can i have some to keep my love?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


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Tuesday, February 16, 2010



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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Swagatham to you...!!

BSNL, keeping up with its wishful nomenclatures, very enthusiastically named its ‘one stop’ customer care service SWAGATHAM when launched a few years ago. The word translated says ‘welcome’, very aptly captured in the denotations of a woman smiling.

If you are a customer of the state service provider, however, any single call you make to Swagatham will make the symbols remind you, every single time, that the joke was on you. The only welcome you will get is to an eternal waiting tone or a cranky executive if you have the patience to wait for one. A blue moon case of an executive who, at least, understands what your query is, or knows what he/she is talking about is, however, not ruled out. The rule to the exception, however, is someone who will stick to a single irrelevant reply no matter how you reframe your question. A prototype example:

E: BSNL Swagatham Services, How may I help you?
C: I need to reset my portal password as I have forgot it and the website is not responding to reset requests.
E: Hold on.
(5, 10 or 15 minutes depending on the mercy of the executive)
C: Are you there?
C: Hello…?
E: We can’t give you the user id and the password on the phone.
C: I am not asking you for the user id and the password. I just want you to reset the id so that I can register again with my unique id.
E: Hold on.
C: Hello?
E: I am sorry but we can’t give you the password.
C: What part of ‘I don’t want the password’ do you not understand? I want you to reset it, not give it to me.
E: Okay. Tell me the user id and password on the portal.
C: What? I just told you I don’t remember it. That’s why I called. If I had it why would I call you?
(Call disconnected from the other end)

This is a gist of a recent conversation, one among innumerable, handled by the Smiling Swagathams. This excerpt is surely capable of not turning many heads as it is definitely much more pleasant than what many customers encounter. A shouting, scolding or merely disconnecting executive is the norm of the land. The executives won’t give you their name if they don’t want to and a wish to talk to a superior is just another unpleasant dream.

A call was made to the DGM (Call Centre) of BSNL, Andhra Pradesh recently in which her attention was brought to the extreme anarchy flooding the Swagatham floors. Surprisingly, or not, the reply was, “What can we do? We keep telling them about it.” The shock expressed by the concerned consumer on this reply was met by a technical barrier, a request to provide the exact date and time of the call. It was impressed upon her that it was not just one call but the general prevalent attitude. A request to find a way to overhaul the training procedures and provide refresher training to the executives was met with the very familiar, “It is a government organization. Things don’t happen like that”. The DGM kept insisting on the exact time of the call and even a range of 10-15 minutes here and there did not seem enough. The DGM, showing where the executives get the disconnecting legacy from, conveniently disconnected the call. A recall saw another familiar reply, “I am talking to you for 10 minutes. Don’t waste my time? What do you want? I am going somewhere. I am going to a meeting”. The DGM did not seem to mind an intimation to escalate the matter and bang comes the phone down again.

The global Indian back office does not need to probe much to find the dark underbelly of the Indian service sector, epitomized in the state provided services, BSNL AP Swagatham being the immediate case in point. The international support provided by India’s contact centres have features like reflectory statistics on Average (Call) Handling Time, First Call Resolution Rate, the technical framework of every single call being recorded and retrievable on demand and the least possible courtesy of sharing the name.

The colonial professionalism of serving the gora with the best we’ve got and spitting on the domestic consumer lives.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

English and China

I present a portion of the Orientation Speech I prepared for an introductory seminar on BPO business and its productivity potential in China.

Let us begin this section by understanding the one thing that lies below the very foundation of the whole BPO business. We have all heard about the low cost implications of outsourcing and the flexibility it provides to the parent organization. We, however, forget about the single most important factor that set the ball rolling for this development in global business. I, for example, am talking right now in a language that you can barely understand. You are able to understand some of it through the subtitles running below. Let’s assume I set up an office here and you and I start working together. How are we going to understand each other? I would find it very difficult if I wanted to set up my back office here. You, similarly, would find it very difficult to work with me. Why is it so? It is because we can’t communicate. We need something that both of us can work with. We need the same LANGUAGE. This was, and still remains, the single most important factor in any business that goes outside its native market.

Early outsourcers sought new resources due to rising operational and management costs. They discovered that they can find a more cost efficient workforce in other parts of the world. One basic problem that they faced was that not many people around the world spoke or used their business language. This language was mostly English. Many non English businesses, for example Spanish, have found their way in the outsourcing business today; English, however, remains the most used and needed language till this day. This is when locations like India and Philippines came in to picture. People there had a heritage of English and they could use it pretty comfortably in most of the business situations. These places, combining language availability with more cost efficient workforce at the same time, saw a huge inflow of outsourced business in coming years. India, for example, is expected to do a combined business of more than 40 billion US Dollars in this financial year. The business, however, does not see language as a direct contributor all the time. There are a lot of areas which include primarily non language based business. IT services is a good example. The language of IT and developing tools, however, is a vital premise there too. We can see, therefore, that in any business a common language remains a basic and vital ingredient.

Let us consider China as a player in this business. We mentioned cost efficient workforce and a common business language as key ingredients of the outsourcing business. There is no lack of trainable educated individuals here. China has made its mark in almost all the arenas of global and domestic business. The outsourcing business, still, has not kicked off in a major way here. Why is it so? It so happens that English is not a major part of our lives here. We can see people largely flourishing socially and economically in China. This, though, is happening as a result of a highly self sufficient economy that does not depend highly on English speaking nations for much of its development. We, in other words, do not ‘miss’ English in our daily and extended business or personal life here. The picture, however, changes in the case of outsourcing business. It was mentioned earlier that English is the primary language of the outsourcing business as a whole. This lack of international communication standard can, therefore, be seen as a major hurdle in the way of a flourishing outsourcing sector here.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Here is the solution.

Okay, It was the first ever.