On March 25, the lockdown was fully in place. It hugely affected a lot of other industries, including India call centers. As public transport is a go-to service for all the working-class people, its absence made an enormous impact on call centers in India.
Call Centers in India & Lockdown
The business of call centers in the country is huge! It’s a multi-million dollar industry that feeds the majority of middle-low class families. After the spread of coronavirus, call centers faced the inevitable.
Lockdown shifted the gear to the negative side for the call centers in India. Nisha Bisawl, who’s the president of the India-U.S Business Council, was terrified. She said,
“When India announced its lockdown, my immediate thought was, ‘What will be the impact on the service economy in the United States and around the world?“
Call centers in the country handle more than half of the world’s IT outsourcing. The world’s back office, India, has 60% of clients in the U.S. From credit card companies to fire department services, everything is linked to call centers.
Fight of Coronavirus & Call Centers in India
Call centers in India have around 4 million workers. After the pandemic & transport halt, the vast majority of the workers aren’t able to get to work. India’s unemployment rate climbed up in the last week of March due to workers losing their job.
Customer service helplines of thousands of banks, retailers & other industries connected with call centers in India were left on hold for hours. Virgin Media, the U.K telecom giant, told NPR that they are hiring staff urgently in the U.K as their call centers in India aren’t available. Similar scenarios are recorded around the world as the call centers are offline.
Mukesh Aghi, who’s the head of the U.S – India Strategic Partnership Forum, sent an emergy request to the Indian government. He requested the Indian government to exempt call centers in the country from lockdown restrictions & issue special passes for the employees. After the permission, there was a communication error by the authorities in India, and the result was messy.
The scenario of Working from Home
70% to 80% of call centers employees are working from home, as said by the National Association of Software and Services Cos. According to a public survey, some call center employees are facing no to little problems, but the majority are suffering.
Working from home comes with new challenges. Sensitive information uses home computers rather than secure call centers. Moreover, it’s hard to shift the whole business from a building to individual homes.
Slow internet, less secure network, no privacy, and other factors are putting the multi-million dollar industry at stake as most call center employees are working from home. Although the idea is helping the world stay up & running, the risks are high.
On the bright side, coronavirus is fueling innovation in India, but we can’t just ignore the effects on the multi-million dollar industry. The government is trying every bit to make things work for call centers in India, till then, let’s hope for the best.