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Frontline career profiles in BPOs

Sunder Ramachandran
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April 11, 2007

Part I: Want a career in the BPO industry?

A lot of people think working in a BPO is like doing an odd job to meet your education or other pressing expenses. However, BPOs can provide some serious career options and a competitive edge to your career. In terms of career options, there is no substantial difference if you are in a captive facility, third party outsourcing or joint venture, except for the brand name, and the goodwill it carries.

In this second part of our career profile series on BPO industry, we tell you about the how the industry is structured.

A typical call centre can be voice or non-voice process based. A voice call centre usually requires direct interaction with clients or customers via phone. A non-voice call centre does not require this interaction via phone; however, you may still be interacting with the client or customer through chat or e-mail.

In terms of hierarchy, almost all BPOs look alike, with a few differences. The structure more or less looks like this.

Customer Service Representatives

Evidently, the most important part of a call centre or BPO is the frontline workforce. They are the people who actually do the job. They are the face of the company to international clients. They have the most critical and highly important job profiles.

Customer service is a broad category and there can be various core or specific work profiles within its sphere like inbound enquires, outbound calls, help desk, etc. In most customer service profiles where you do not require any specialised domain knowledge, a fresh graduate in any discipline can start a career.

Technical Support

This is usually specialised support; however, in some processes, it can be generic and does not need a special degree or diploma. The following are some of the specialised careers within technical support:

~ Hardware support: You can be a graduate in any discipline with a diploma in computers. Most companies providing hardware support will train you on their hardware; however, you need a basic understanding of computers.

~ Software support: Specialised customer service that requires additional qualifications like MCSE. Some institutes offer courses in C, C++, which will also be good qualifications to start with. The jobs in this domain involve troubleshooting operating systems.

~ Network support: Another specialised field that requires you to complete a certificate course in networking. CCNA is another good course that can fetch you a great career in this domain.

Other roles for graduates

~ Business analyst

This profile is usually related to KPO (knowledge process outsourcing) and deals with business or financial analysis of companies. This is a domain specific profile and requires specific academic qualifications like a degree in mathematics and statistics. Average-to-good communication skills are also required, as you will need to interact with clients on regular basis.

~ Financial support executives

These profiles are with banking and insurance support sectors. You need to be a commerce graduate with good communication skills. Exposure to banking, finance or insurance will be an added advantage.

~ Medical transcription

You need to be a science graduate. Communication can be average, as it does not require interaction with clients, although listening skills, good written English and typing speed are a must.

~ Technical writing/ Instructional designing

You need certification in instructional designing or technical writing, as it is a domain specific profile. A lot of companies are outsourcing content writing to India and, apart from technical writing, flash designers are also in demand.

~ Language specialists

Foreign languages like German, French, Spanish and now Japanese too is in demand. If you have studied any of these languages, there are several opportunities for you in the BPO sector.

Part I: Want a career in the BPO industry?

Tomorrow: Career options in BPO support functions

-- Sunder Ramachandran is Managing Partner at WCH Training Solutions. He can be reached at

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