Published in ‘The Economic Times’ and ‘ The education times’ on 19th June 2000
AS COMPETITION hots up companies have realized the need to concentrate on core competencies. Corporate houses are now leaving unrelated activities to specialized organizations. This practice has created a market for outsourcing IT-enabled services. IT-enabled services are IT-based, decision-enabling and deliver services from a remote base through high-speed telecom links. India is emerging as a preferred destination for IT-enabled services largely because it has a 12-hour lead from the American subcontinent, it has a huge, cheap, English speaking computer-literate work force. Industry experts estimate the IT-enabled service industry at Rs 81,000 crore by ’08. Some of the IT-enabled services applicable to India are call centres, medical transcriptions, back office operations, payroll and logistics etc. And, the sectors that are likely to gain the kost from such services include the airlines, banking, legal firms, financial institutions, hospitals, manufacturing companies and software companies. One of the prime advances in IT-enabled services is the electronic customer relationship management system. In today’s business environment the customer is the single most important concern and a well-designed CRM system can prove to be a firm’s most effective weapon. E-CRM integrates IT tools with prime client-servicing objectives. One of the best ways of implementing an E-CRM system is setting up call centres. — a service centre, which has adequate telecom facilities, access to database, internet and other on-line information support infrastructure. The most important resource of a call centre is well-trained personnel, who handle sales support, complaints, technical queries, etc. The future will see a huge increase in demand of such skilled personnel as they will be the sole link between customers and the company represented. Herein lies an opportunity. The skills needed will also be specific to the respective industries but in general, these professionals need customer-oriented approach, telephone and communication skills and technology skills in order to communicate successfully with the customer. If you are interested in making a career in CRM you would be wondering how to acquire these skills. There are two ways of going about it. First, get recruited in an organisation specializing in E-CRM activities. So you start as a trainee and slowly climb the ladder. It could be a few years before you reach a senior position. Also, many companies require you to sign binding agreements for a particular level of remuneration. The other alternative is to join a professional institute which trains you in the above skills, Not only do you get trained, but you get a certified international degree which could take you places. Career growth in this field is unlimited you could rise up to be head or a supervisor of a call centre and also build a strong background to branch out to other customer relationship management systems. In India, high-end training organizations like Karrox Technologies in association with Algonquin College, Canada bring to India valuable work related modules in E-CRM. At institutes like these international trainers provide training modules in Customer care, Call centre procedures, Communication Skills, professional telephone skills, basic computer applications and client specific training’s. Even companies are encouraging such institutes as they reduce the cost of training personnel and the institute benefits as in return companies help in providing 100 per cent placements to all candidates. So all it needs is a starting investment in training and you are on your way to an assured career in Customer relationship management. Being on the customers side is where the future lies so go for it and get your self a career in E-CRM.