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Capital One ends deal with Spectramind

Parvathy Ullatil in Mumbai | March 24, 2004 08:39 IST

US-based Fortune 500 company Capital One Financial Services has discontinued the use of Wipro Spectramind's telemarketing services, citing slips in the quality of service rendered by the Indian call centre.

Outsourcing and India: Complete Coverage

Wipro Spectramind, one of India's largest third-party call centres, stopped receiving additional telemarketing contracts from Capital One after some Wipro Spectramind's employees were found guilty of not following the company's practices.

Amicable split

Wipro Spec- tramind says its internal audit detected employee misconduct in making sales calls, which it shared with Capital One

Capital One decides not to renew Spectramind's contract on the outbound project

Capital One Financial Services confirmed this. An e-mail response from Tatiana Stead, director, corporate media, Capital One Financial Services, said: "Capital One has stopped all telemarketing calls through its vendor Wipro Spectramind. Internal controls confirmed that certain activities undertaken by some of the employees of the telemarketing vendor on Capital One's behalf were not in line with our company's standards and practices."

Raman Roy, president and CEO of Wipro Spectramind, confirmed that Capital One had discontinued the use of his company's telemarketing services.

"We conducted an internal audit on the Capital One 'outbound' project and discovered that certain aspects were not in keeping with our standards and practices. We were proactive and shared our findings with our client. Capital One has decided not to give us any additional telemarketing projects but we continue to enjoy a robust relationship with them and handle their inbound project," Roy said.

After the project was withdrawn by Capital One, nearly 65 employees, who were a part of the 250-member telemarketing project, found themselves without a job.

"We did not fire anybody. We told some people that they cannot continue working for us if they did not conform with our standards. They offered to resign and we accepted their resignation letters," explained Roy.

Outbound telemarketing services are calls made on behalf of a client by call centre agents. Inbound services refer to customer calls regarding enquiries and so on.

Wipro Spectramind was handling the telemarketing operations for Capital One credit cards at its call centre in Navi Mumbai.

Around mid-January when the 250-member project was about to end, Wipro conducted an internal audit at the Navi Mumbai facility. It was during the course of the audit that the lapses in the quality of service came to light.

A source at Wipro Spectramind told Business Standard that the 'call agents' had been advised by team leaders and group leaders to make false claims about free gifts and membership fees while making their sales pitch.

The 'quality' team (a team that barges in on live calls to spot discrepancies) was asked to stand back for two weeks every month so the agents could carry on undetected. When asked about this, Roy said: "All I can say is that it wasn't in keeping with our standards and practices."

When Wipro Spectramaind caught wind of the malpractices, it passed on the information to Capital One, which then conducted a client audit on the project.

On the basis of the client audit, Capital One decided not to renew Wipro Spectramind's telemarketing contract in January, but it continues to use the company's services for 'inbound' projects.

The incident acquires special significance because think tanks and companies in the US have warned the Indian BPO industry that it is not the short-lived issue of job losses in the US that it needs to worry about.

The more important issues of the quality of service and data protection will determine India's position in its race for supremacy in the global offshored services market.

This is not Wipro Spectramind's first client loss. In December 2003, Lehman Brothers Holdings stopped outsourcing internal computer help desk work to Wipro Spectramind.

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Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: The Facts

Whatever happened affected all the agents working in the organization. Why blame the agents the manager, the gls and the tls for this when the ...

Posted by anon

Sub: the actual story

For those who care, this is the actual sequence of events: In 3rd quarter, Capital One withdraws business from WEST & ICT. Strikes cheaper deal ...

Posted by alpha one


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