How to start and operate a successful call center in Pakistan.
By: Suzanne Lombard
In the year
2000, major research firms predicted that by 2003 approximately US$60 billion
was expected to be spent on call center services worldwide. It’s a reality, and
how much of that action does Pakistan have? How much does it deserve to have?
Enter “India Call Center” key words in google.com and get over 200 meaningful
results. Enter “Pakistan Call Center” and get seven meaningful results.
India was already employing 16,000 personnel for USA companies two years ago
with the claim that Indian call center agents are more reliable and skilled and
can operate at a much lower cost per transaction than USA call centers.
President Arroyo of the Philippines signed three major agreements with USA
companies the same year. She is quoted, “To be successful, the ICT sector must
be driven by the private sector, with minimal government intervention and
regulation.” Today, the Philippines is a major player in the outsourced call
Some nations, with the same potentially well-qualified personnel for these “back
offices,” are still talking about “thousands of jobs will be available in call
center applications in next few years.” Meanwhile, the competition around those
countries who are just simply waiting… are doing what it takes right now. Not
right now, they began yesterday and before that. It is not thousands of jobs, it
My main objective is to clear questions you may have in your mind about call
centers in Pakistan. I hope to encourage every single one of you to create a
plan today to take advantage of the huge and wonderful opportunities just
waiting for you in the call center, back office, and remote sales to USA
Pakistan is an excellent example of a nation of many extremely fluent
English-speaking and Internet literate people who have the future-thinking
entrepreneurial attitude needed by USA companies looking for outsourcing their
customer support, technical support, telemarketing, accounting and more. So,
what is wrong? Internet must be more affordable, and bandwidth needs to be
subsidized more. This and other kinds of encouragement will bring these
companies to the Land of the Pure instead of elsewhere in the world.
What is a call center anyway? A call center can take many forms. A mother and
wife can work from the privacy of her home as a medical secretary, never leaving
her children. She will be able to practice her religious beliefs and still help
her family financially. Pizza delivery, medical insurance claims, book orders,
travel itineraries… there is no limit to the number of jobs that are now
available. Young, elderly, men, women, handicapped, and those with families or
without will now have new opportunities in Pakistan to improve their economic
status and use their often self-taught English, Internet, and people skills.
Anyone can be a call center with these three skills. Manned by one or more than
a thousand, it doesn’t matter.
What has India accomplished in comparison to Pakistan in the Call Center Choice
race? Bangalore is known worldwide as IndoPak area’s Silicon Valley. They were
first and quickest in jumping on the software market. Now, Bangalore and the
rest of India are moving to the hottest market, Call Centers. This is just a
“dust in the wind” phenomenon. It is here to stay for several decades. Take a
look at “Dialing for Dollars” India Call Center article and video show at
http://www.pakistancallcenters.com/ . On 30 December 2002, there were
http://www.people-one.com/searchjob/hotjobs.asp 250 call center
positions in India.
India supports call center operations in a huge way. See the following example.
“THE INDIA ADVANTAGE (
» India has the second-largest English- speaking population in the world.
» English is the principal language for the transaction of business
» India has the second largest and the fastest growing pool of technical
» High availability of English speaking & educated customer care professionals.
» Has the lowest manpower cost
» High availablity of computer literate graduate manpower and technical manpower
Reliability and Security
The work force is highly reliable and can deliver world-class quality and ensure
rapid delivery of service. Indian companies are also increasingly adapting to
international quality and security standards.
» Well-connected telecommunication systems on a world-class scale . • High
availability of infrastructure resources.
» India's satellite-based telecommunication network enables almost instantaneous
high-speed transfer of voice and data across the globe
» Highly liberal Government policies on Call- center operations
» Maintains High cost competitiveness in service sectors
» Proactive Government - 10yr. Tax holiday • Duty free import of capital
machinery and software.
Indian companies can provide call center services to clients based in the U.S.
or the U.K. at one-sixth to one-fourth of what it costs in the U.S., U.K. or
A virtual 12-hour time zone difference with the USA and other markets for Call
Center services is in India's favor.
The department of telecommunications, Government of India has given a special
thrust to the industry by reducing the prices of high-speed international
private leased circuits. The recent IT boom has prompted the Government of India
to announce exemptions from income tax and customs for the exports of IT enabled
services. Central and the State governments have put emphasis to set up
state-of-the art infrastructure for the projected boom for IT enabled services.
Private Internet gateways and 100 foreign direct investments have been given
approvals. "Potentially 50-80 percent of total process costs in most IT enabled
services can be out sourced offshore. As much as 70 - 80 percent costs can be
reduced primarily because of wage differentials. However, in order to manage
operations in remote locations, expatriate management may initially be required
to support the remote locations. This together with higher telecom costs could
result in additional costs of 10-20 percent. Hence there could be 50-60 percent
saving on out located processes." (VCare Technologies, Market Perception Memo
III, July 2000)”
Why is Pakistan not one of the choice call center locations in the world?
Priorities? The infrastructure needs assistance. (Do not feel bad when I say
this. No matter what you think, even in America our infrastructure needs to be
improved to see better success for the people.) The opportunities must be
publicized to the people. Call centers can have a location as small as a corner
of one’s home. Again bandwidth must be subsidized, Internet access must be
affordable, and VOIP must be viewed as a friend, not the enemy. Look at these
hard facts. About 2 MB of bandwidth will host about 68 phone lines at 30 Kbps
per phone line. This costs US$6000/month in Pakistan and only US$1000/month in
Finally, why would a nation want to block VOIP when it should be the answer to
economic improvement? Why block VOIP and not Playboy? Playboy uses 50% more
bandwidth than VOIP, and it does nothing to improve the Pakistan citizenry. In
fact, we all know it does a world of harm to one’s emotional, social, family,
spiritual life and sometimes even causes a person to lose everything he has. On
the other hand, VOIP, something that is still being blocked by a few governments
of the world, is a necessity for any type of call center. Something has to
change. Let us see that Pakistan is the smart example and choice call center
location of the world with all the tools of success and encouragement ready to
get in on the action.
Suzanne Lombard has a wide variety of experiences and careers. She graduated
from Pensacola Junior College, Pensacola, Florida with a Liberal Arts A.A. From
there, she completed her English Education B.A. major at the University of West
Florida, Pensacola, Florida. She completed graduate studies in Instructional
Technology at the University of West Florida and Media Education at the
University of South Alabama.
At Renaissance Fitness Center, she managed the sales and instructor staff in the
southeast USA region for six years. She taught English, Computers and Gifted
Studies at Carver Middle School, Century, Florida, for sixteen years. In
addition, she was the Intranet Sales Library editor and Sales Trainer at Z-Tel
Communications (local and long distance CLEC). New York Times sub-contracts out
to Publishers Circulation Fulfillment where she is sales coach. She has been
integral to the marketing department of Super Technologies, Inc. for four years.
Suzanne received many awards throughout life including Middle School English
Teacher of the Year and Emmit Smith Charities, Inc. Writing Award. She wrote and
was granted over $500,000 worth of educational grants including Foundation of
Excellence, Core Knowledge, and Gifted Studies Technology. She was named Most
Valuable Player at PCF. In addition, she assisted Super Technologies, Inc. in
winning Best of Show Client Device Award at Spring Internet World 2001 and
Internet Telephony Magazine Editor’s Choice Award I n 2000. She has traveled
extensively throughout Pakistan, India, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Germany
with a mission to improve education and to share VOIP opportunities.
Many thanks to the most creative future-thinkers Elizabeth Carden (technical
researcher), Rehan Ahmed (inventor, entrepreneur, philosopher and
philanthropist), Call Center magazine (exhaustive source for call centers) for
the ideas and support in helping to spread the Call Center phenomenon and
reality to new areas of the world such as the “Land of the Pure.”
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