Tata Business Support Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata group is a BPO in India offering customer care administration services, direct marketing and allied services, and specialised domain driven helpline services. It is striving to provide innovative solutions to enterprises for wholly satisfying customer experience, but there is something distinctively different about their business process- the people they hire to work with them and the locations where they set up operations.
The company was started in 2004 to provide BPO solutions to the Tata group and today stands at 11000 employees strong with 18 centres in India.1 It was prepared to tackle the recurrent problems of the industry like attrition, better customer care services, by developing a ‘go rural’ strategy! It has constantly increased its non- urban seats in its centres in Khopoli (Maharasthra), Ethakota (Andhra Pradesh) and Munnar (Karnataka). The three centres have 300 people each and the company is coming up with its largest centre in the Chhindwara (Madhya Pradesh) with starting seating capacity of 500 people and which will be scaled to 1000 people.
The company effectively channelized its Affirmative Action strategy to create more inclusive employment opportunities. As of October 2013 14% of its workforce (both in their urban and rural canters) comprise candidates from the disadvantaged communities (primarily scheduled castes and scheduled tribes). 22% of total staff is located in Tier III towns and hires 35% women, 54% of the employees do not have college degrees, 1% of the employees are persons with disabilities.
The company calls itself the Adam Smith of India by taking a task, breaking it down into simple components and giving it to multiple people. The company recognises that English is not a strong skill among the communities in rural locations and therefore take advantage of the local language capabilities while delivering distinctive and satisfying experiences to telecom users.
TBSS is a part of the ‘impact sourcing’ revolution where companies impact social fabrics of rural areas and improve operation efficiency for its clients. The business opportunity is fantastic since the attrition problem of the industry which stands at 70-80% is not a problem at all working with these communities. A job opportunity that would have otherwise not come her way makes an employee in these communities a long staying employee and provides a concrete business advantage to the company. The company trains the communities in core BPO skills like voice training, business process understanding and also has a strong emphasis on building the social skills of the candidates. These trainings go on to build social confidence in the candidates that help them in their personal lives as well and these trained candidates are also hired by other companies in the BPM sector.
Going forward TBSS is looking to build better rural connectivity, further lower costs over time and strengthen its presence in social mobile analytics and cloud computing services all with a focus on the social benefits to the communities it is working in.
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