Written by Angad Singh Brar
Amazon Asia Pacific’s joint venture with India’s Patni Group has operationalised a customer care call centre for Amazon at IT Park in Panchkula. The joint venture, named Frontizo Business Services, comprises 51 per cent stake of the Patani group and 48 per cent stake of Amazon Asia Pacific. Functioning since August 14, the centre employs 250 staff.
Apoorva Patni of the Patni Group told Chandigarh Newsline, “There are over ten crore people who buy products online in India, thus, we want support services in Hindi and other vernacular languages. The motive of establishing the contact centre at Panchkula is to employ more persons who can speak fluent Hindi and resolve customer issues on phone. The location attracted us as there is a huge population of Hindi speaking youth in this region.”
On choosing Panchkula, Managing Director and CEO of the Joint Venture, Vinod Kumar said, “We relied on credible research and studies of the tier II and tier III cities. Our research included cities like Indore, Lucknow, Vadodara and Ahmedabad, among others. Mohali was not on the list. Furthermore, rental property rates at Panchkula are cheaper than Mohali. Thus, Mohali was never an option to be considered.”
The centre is expected to bring over 1,000 new jobs to the Tricity region. On the company’s hiring plans, Kumar said, “We have already hired 250 employees, we aim to increase this number to 350 by Diwali. It is our projection that by March 2020, we would have hired 850 employees from the region.”
On the work to be undertaken at the contact centre, Kumar said, “There is constant and heavy customer traffic on e-commerce websites like Amazon. Whenever customers buy something from Amazon, they expect world class support services in return. Amazon has constantly done this and is going a step further by including Hindi speaking support staff, which can resolve the problems faced by customers on phone. This shows the value of the Indian market to Amazon.”
On the issue of artificial intelligence (AI) overtaking the jobs at call centres, Kumar said, “There is a legitimate threat from AI to human voice support staff. Amazon itself is one of the most innovative companies in the world. But presently, AI cannot replicate the cultural nuances which only a human can understand. Most people in today’s time use two or three languages all at once. This level of comprehension is not seen in AI as of now. Human touch will always remain important to build warmth between the customer and the company.”
On the criteria for selecting candidates, Vinod Kumar said, “We will hire people who have recently graduated or are about to graduate. They should have knowledge of Hindi and English. We expect 40 per cent of our staff to be women and for convenience, we will provide transportation facilities from the centre to the homes of the employees.”