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Convergys may hire home agents in India

business Updated: Oct 04, 2007 21:11 IST
Narayanan Madhavan

Convergys, the world's biggest call centre company, is open to the idea of making acquisitions in India and could also look at hiring home-based agents working with broadband connections in order to get more work done with lower real estate costs, its chief executive officer said.

David F Dougherty told

Hindustan Times

in an interview on Thursday that while real estate costs were rising in India, Convergys could look at moving to second tier cities like it has done in the United States and also repeat its US strategy to move some work to home-based workers, provided there is sound bandwidth and client comfort with the idea.

"With that caveat, it is clearly an opportunity in the future," Dougherty said.

Convergys currently employs 70,000 people worldwide, and has annual revenues in excess of $2.8 billion. After starting contact centre work in India in 2001, it has grown its headcount to 13,000, of which 12,000 are call centre workers and the rest in software development used to drive the core work centred around customer relations and billing.

Convergys has centres in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and a fourth one opened recently in Gurgaon. The company has been able to grow well on its own without acquisitions, but could consider that as well, Dougherty said.

The company has taken hedging positions to soften the impact of the strengthening rupee versus the US dollar, and was also managing high attrition rates by offering a combination of training, coaching and other incentives, Dougherty said.

He said outsourcing work to cheaper centres like India was no longer a major political concern in the US.

"I don't think it is going to be a big issue in the US elections. We have kind of grown up," he said.