When you call for help with your computer, to book a plane ticket or hotel room, or receive a telemarketer’s call, where is the person you’re talking sitting?

According to this article, if you’re calling in English, the person could be just about anywhere.

India now has more than 160,000 call-centre workers and expects to have a million by 2008. Raman Roy, who runs a company called Wipro Spectramind, imagines India becoming “the back office of the world.” He had 200 employees three years ago and now has 5,100. They take catalogue orders, book hotel and airline reservations, do some telemarketing, and then move up to computer help desks, insurance claims processing, various forms of accounting, and payroll management.

Curious? See the article here: Upwardly mobile phone jockey… or ‘cyber-coolie’? by Robert Fulford. Of course, since it’s in The National Post, the author is a little more optimistic about whether this is a good thing, but I do think it’s not necessarily bad… at least, for the moment, on first glance.

2 thoughts on “Cyber-coolies?

  1. There has been a bit of a controversy about these call centres here in India, though this is the first time I have heard the phrase ‘cyber coolies’. The concern here seems to be double-pronged:
    a] Since most of the shifts are night shifts, some psychologists hold that they lead to inreased depression.
    b] Since these workers are given new ‘western’ names and taught to ape the UK/US accents [though reports from overseas friends indicate that the Indian accent is too strong to be over-ridden], other psychologists fear an identity crisis.

    Then the people who live around the call centres are usually irritated by the late night traffic jams and the power-cuts. But the people working in these call centres are rather happy with their jobs. :)

    Personally, I like the idea. I also approve of the changes in my town which are the direct result of the implementation of this idea: we actually have better shopping malls, cineplexes and restaurants than Delhi now.

  2. That’s really interesting! I am very curious to see some of the media that will be available there. I’ll email you back tomorrow, probably, though, since I need to clean up my jib (er, house) and stuff. Laundry awaits, too. Ungh!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *