April 28, 2005 7:32 AM PDT

U.K. backpackers heed call of India firms

U.K. backpackers and college graduates are being hired by British companies to work in India-based call centers in an attempt to bridge the culture gap between agents and customers.

The travelers can earn from $250 per month at entry level to $900 per month as team leaders working in Indian call centers supporting U.K. customer service operations.

In terms of the cost of living in India, that would rank the workers at a similar level to teachers and other young professionals.

Delegates at this week's Offshore Customer Management Conference in New Delhi said there were a few recruitment agencies now starting to target this market. The graduates and backpackers are able to help Indian staff understand the cultural nuances of U.K. customers.

One of these agencies is Launch Offshore, which has just signed a deal for a pilot of six travelers to work for HSBC in its operations in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Colombo, Sri Lanka. It also has a successful project with 10 U.K. graduates working for global contact center company GTL in the Indian city of Pune.

The workers are typically 21 to 25 years old. They usually go out to India on a 12-month contract, working for 10 months with an additional two months' salary paid for them to travel the country. Accommodation and flights are also paid for.

Tim Bond, founder and managing director of Launch Offshore, said his company is more involved in recruiting graduates with previous travel experience than backpackers.

"The cost of living in India is so low," Bond said. ?The graduate call center agents are better off than they would be doing it in the U.K."

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.

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I don't need someone to bridge the gap....
I need someone who is more coherent then white noise on the other end of the line. I'm going to be honest here. I will not purchase another Dell product again until they get people who can speak clear English. This isn't being culturally biased or anything. I simply am done with Dell. I spent 20 minutes having the rep sound out each letter of the address to where I'm suppose to return the monitor I have. The second time I simply hung up on the person. Even Dell's IM utility is a weird experience....Its like talking to a computer. I try and explain the situation and they simply roll out the company line of OK sir we are going to go through the troubleshooting process.
Thanks but I can honestly say I'm smarter when it comes to computers then the troubleshooting script you have in front of you Ken&which is short for Kedidisha (It says it right on the screen.) What? Is Dell trying to make me feel at ease by perverting your name into some American version of it?
I spent almost 2 hours on that call before I had it sink through that dude I'M A GOD DAMN IT PRO!!! I KNOW THIS ****!! *bangs head into keyboard in complete frustration*

You want to fix the problem? Bring the god damn jobs back home where Americans can understand Americans. Or at the very least sent the jobs to Canada where the culture is at lease similar enough that I can (usually) understand and relate to the person. Sorry but Asia tech support needs to be dropped. Cheap bastard companies.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
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