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HP sets up India call center

By , IDG News Service
February 11, 2004 12:06 PM ET

IDG News Service - HP has set up a contact center in Bangalore that will offer post-sales support to U.S. customers of its consumer products, according to an executive of the Palo Alto company.

This is the first time that HP is setting up a wholly owned contact center for post-sales support of its consumer products sold in the U.S., according to Mohan Garde, vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) Americas Customer Operations, who added that the center will also serve as an R&D facility for developing and testing new support processes and technologies.

The Bangalore center will offer all after-sales support, including tech support, for all of HP's consumer products. "Our support is self-contained, and we will have multiple layers of experienced people in this organization, so that the (call) escalation path will be within the center itself," Garde said.

The center, which will have 600 staffers by June, will offer voice-based support in English to start with, according to Krishnamurthy Purushottam, director of the new center. "Down the line, we plan to also offer e-mail or chat-based support," Purushottam added.

HP plans to evolve the next-generation support model for its consumer products from its contact center in Bangalore, said Garde, adding that as the products business gets commoditized, support represents a very key touch point with the customer.

"The Bangalore center is a mini R&D lab that will help us develop the processes, the capabilities, and competencies which once developed, we will deploy across the network of all our partners," Garde said. "We don't want to put out ideas that are not fully baked to the volume operations of our partners, because that could be disruptive. So we will experiment and do the pilots at our center in Bangalore."

By having its own contact center, HP also gets closer to the consumer, Garde said. "We will be able to understand better what support processes are working or not working, which will accelerate the way the company can improve its processes."

HP currently supports English-speaking buyers of its consumer products in the U.S. through about 4,000 staff provided by partners based in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and India.

Starting about two years ago, HP has outsourced both voice-based and e-mail and chat support for consumer products sold in the U.S. to five companies in India. Indian partners currently handle about two-thirds of the volume of English-speaking support requests from customers of HP's consumer products in the U.S., and employ about 2,500 people for this work, Garde said.

Separately, HP said Wednesday that it is considering establishing an R&D center in South Korea, though it has not yet confirmed the plan.

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