Tag Archives: cost cutting

Insipring article on rural bpo in india

29 Jan

yesterday’s editorial by Rasheeda Bhagat – Where money has new meaning , which appeared in Business Line has become one of most inspiring and important article in my life.  it practically changed the way i treat a BPO/Call Centre employee and more importantly it once again showcased  the power rural Indians have in shapping our country.

i request anyone …nay .. everyone who reads this post to follow the article link and the read it. that is not enough.  Pass on the post/link to your friends , relatives, managers where you are working and let them know the potential of rural India.

why is the post important to me ? you need to know my insignificant story first .

the story :

on the first week of Nov 2008 i quit my job at the advertising firm where i was working. i quit suddenly .. just like that ! one reason was due to a pressing  family emergency which i cant write it here for obvious reasons. the other was because i started hating the job. it wast not like that before, though!

i used to love the advertising field. i used to dream of working for an agency  for couple of years, finish a MBA degree . then join main stream marketing , enter Brand Management field with specialization in digital media communications. I was clear in what I wanted to do . But working in the company for close to 5 months I just got too stressed out. I dint have time for my family and friends . Even more alarming was that I dint have time for myself. working Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 9pm drained me out so completely that I was too exhausted on Sundays to do anything. I couldn’t read a book , felt lazy to go out and meet friends, dint have time to visit British Council library ( i used to go there every Saturday for 3 hours from 4 pm to 7 pm ).  i was tired to get up early morning to go out for a run/gym/yoga/meditation etc .. i just couldn’t .. so i quit! Call me a wuss but hey .. I have no regrets .

Today I believe that core marketing and PR has better chances revolutionizing brand management theories than advertising can ever do. I am looking to enter the Afro mentioned fields.

3 months hence I  still havent joined a new company yet. worse ! i dont have money to pay my credit card bills. now comes the call from bank bpo employees cordially asking me to pay my minimum due amount. i tell them i cant pay because i am out of work . i will pay it later with the interest .  but when they keep calling , i get irritated and blast them. i forget for a minute that they are just doing their jobs. they are collection agents and they have to collect and close accounts every month  which are due on late payments.

I forget that they could have been Shahida!

after reading the article yesterday, i realized i could have blasted Shahida or some one like her and now i am reeked with shame.

so .. who is Shahida ?

you will meet her when you read the artcile . here is a snap preview of her …

name : Shahida – age: 25 – location : Tirupathi (A.P) – education : B.A Economics , Telugu medium – occupation: bpo employee at Atlas Documentry Facilities Company Pvt Ltd started by HDFC bank – job profile : backroom processing of banks data’s in fuctions as opening of new accounts,credit card related information,foreclosure of loans ,etc.

pay : rs3,700/month – expense : Rs2000 sent to parents,rs 1,500 for hostel and lodging – for personal expense : rs 200 ( balance amount) – other income : after work shift , she makes 3oo rupees from weaving embroidery sarees.

Total amount on hand : Rs 500/per month.

Money sent to parents which helps in paying for her 2 brother’s college fees – rs 2000

her father earns – rs 60-70 a day .

Compare that with mine :

2-4 movies per month at Satyam Cinemas ( when i go with a friend or with my girl friend ) : rs 500 ( tickets alone)

a meal for 2 at Subway – veg patty sandwhich – rs 201- includes coke under “special offer” scheme . I go there almost every week.

other expenses – very very studpid unnecessary expenses – rs “more than 3000” .

Does that mean, I could /can help educating 2 young guys every month by paying their college fees ? does that mean i can uplift India in my own way in providing education to these students ? Does that mean, if I sacrifice a bit ( do i really have to watch 2 movies every month and eat at subway every week ?) i can make differece to a fellow citizen ?

Do the math and find out how much you are wasting …

And if HDFC or other bank’s marketing people are reading this post. I would like to ask  – why dont you take initatives and reach out to people like me directly to fund education of students – like that of Shahida’s brothers?  I am ready ..

As a customer/client I am ready . The question is whether the people from the bank/govt of india core management team ready to bring out innovative policies to tap working class people like me from urban india to educate the rural india.  I will never call them poor. They are more hardworking, more resourceful, more dedicated than most of us ( including me). They may not have money but I dont give a rat’s ass to money if you have diginity .

This is my clarion call to all the banks in India.

Here is an important line from the article which shook me to the core and changed me as a person.

” They have to fight for what most of us take for granted- a college education,a secure home loan, enough food on the table and a job in an air conditioned office…”

My Salutations :

to Shahida and her coleagues in that bank : My humble pranam to you . you inspire me in a way like no other other “self help” books or the monks who sold their ferraris. from you i realize the value of hard work , money and pride. if you ever read this post i want you to know that you have my sincere admiration and respect . you rock !

to HDFC bank : I am not your customer . I dont know how good is your service to your customer. I won’t comment on that. But this initiative you have undertaken – Kudos to you!  Great work and i wish you guys will go ahead and replicate this kind of work all over India.

I second what Mr.M Durgaprasd ,Assistant Vice-President and Head Operations (BPO), “……. I find them sincere,disciplined and hardworking”.

to govt of india :  most of the policies introduced is rampant with corruption. consider : the amount of money politicians would have pocketed set aside for NREGA.  But the EGMM ( Employee Generation Marketing Mission) initiative is something you will have my complete support.

most corporate look at rural india from a CSR perspective. it is nothing but one form or sympathy and empathy. people from rural india are not looked as someone who can bring in money for the growth of the company and earn a livelihood for themselves . Instead , companies open such initiatives and give it a CSR tag. I think that is stupid. given their dedication to work,opportunity for self empowerment and at the same time contribute to the growth of the company in terms of good service and revenue generation , corporate india should consider them at par with other employees from urban india.

that is why i always consider c.k prahald’s book – fortune at the bottom of the pyramid very important in its concept and execution to change  India.

I have earlier 2 articles on this :

About time we looked at rural india

Is india still in recession

Spread the good word !

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Save money using Webinar for lead generation and sales

7 Jan

When I was working for mobile-worx, a mobile advertising company , we had to connect with lots of prospective clients and customers. Our office is based out of Chennai and we had our clients coming in from other cities of India and Abroad. As a start up company we dint have enough resources to travel all the way to these cities to talk to our clients , talk about our product and give a demo.  To cut costs in traveling we instead chose to use online meeting tools .

Here is what we used to do :

First we identified our client – either an advertiser or content developer.

We then made our first cold call , connected with the head of sales or marketing and gave a brief intro about our product.

I then followed it up with a mail , a document ( let me remind you guys that when you send a document about your product to prospective clients always use pdf) about our product and a tentative time to fix the next call meeting.

Once we fixed the call meeting we informed our client that while we wont be able to come to their city personally we can give a demo of our product online itself. It was simple. We log-in to our account, generate a url and pass on the url to our client with his log-in details. Once the client log’s into his account he can easily watch the demo sitting in his office through his computer screen while we used to run through our product online. There was no cost involved for us except for the broadband connection and a monthly/yearly amount we used to pay for the services.

While giving demo , we used Skype to talk to him, simultaneously explaining every step involved in using our product.

It would be like remote accessing the images from my computer screen in yours.

web1

I personally thought it was a fantastic way to communicate with clients. It helped us reducing lots of time and tons of money which would have otherwise been spent on traveling, hotel stay, commuting, food and other miscellaneous expenses which would be obviously paid by the company. It also gave us more time to focus on improving our product and connect with more clients and customers.

This is not to say that one should not to go out to meet clients personally. Meeting clients in their office is still the best way to connect and build relationships in business. Meeting them in person creates personal rapport with them which an online meeting can never compensate. But there are times when one can use Online meetings tools such as these and still make a great impact with clients and customers.

All i am trying to do here is to show you how you can use Web technology to connect with clients and use it for lead generation. A  tool like this is extremely useful for start up companies and SME ‘s . For an SME owner , he may have his client in Netherlands or Alaska . It is not possible for him to go all the way there to meet a “prospective” client and seal a deal. There is  no guarantee that the deal will come through in the first place. For him Web conference technology will come in very handy.

Go To Meeting , product of Nasdaq listed Citrix Systems Inc is a great online Web confercing tool. You can conduct online meetings using  Goto Meeting and Webinars using GoTo Webinar. You must visit their website to know more about their products and what they can do for you and your sales team.

They have now released a White paper on how companies can use Webinars to

  • Generate Leads
  • Increase Awareness
  • Build Loyalty , and more.

You can gain access to their White Paper here : 9 Management Practices for Exceptional Webinars

I think this is a great way to use a social media tool t to promote a brand and service – White papers, podcasts, webinar’s etc ..

Also read about Web Conferencing in Wikipedia to know more.