Putting Customers on Track

Date:   Thursday , May 31, 2007

A famous CEO dictum: “Unless we’re in touch with our customers, our model of the world can diverge from reality. There’s no substitute for innovation, of course, but innovation is no substitute for being in touch, either.” With Avaya IP telephony products deployed in communication networks of over one million businesses worldwide and servicing over 90 percent Fortune 500 companies it is crucial for Avaya to focus on ‘customer satisfaction’.

Though Avaya is blazing the IP trail, it knows that given the sensitive and complex nature of IP networks, it needs concerted effort in customer support to stay ahead of the competition. With 37 Service Delivery Centers across the world, including India, Avaya intends to service its customers with the most consistent and effective delivery model, with the most talented and educated employees, and the most advanced technologies and processes that will lead the way to improving customer satisfaction levels.

What’s unique about Avaya’s India Global Service Delivery (GSD) Centers is that it is one out of the three—the other two being in North America and Europe—which have been earmarked to provide strategic support to both customers and centers of Avaya. While the service delivery professionals at the India GSD focus on rapid resolution of problems, they also play a critical role in solving complex problems across the company’s product footprint.

Engineers here have the ability to differentiate and understand the customer environment and configuration. In order to resolve complex or critical service outages, the team can quickly assemble the necessary resources and skill sets to address those situations that resist resolution through standard procedures. Once the issue is resolved, a follow-up review is completed to determine if systemic changes are warranted to avoid a recurrence.

Says Rajeev Shroff, Area Services, Vice President, GSD, “GSD has implemented several global best practices within the area of the Service Desk where Case Management is provided for streamlined and clear customer communications. In addition, it also provides a single Point of Contact option to assist with correctly capturing customer environments and data integrity.”

Engineers and managers at the center are encouraged to think out of the box. Personnel are not just required to solve customer problems when it happens but are expected to be proactive. They have to think about solutions so that an outage doesn’t happen and generally anticipate problems before they occur and take the necessary corrective actions so that the customer is given utmost satisfaction. The goal is to move from reactive mode of thought process to pro-active mode.

“Achievements of this center are many. It is a constant endeavor to quickly address the customer queries and the focus is on solving customer problems in the shortest possible time with maximum efficiency. The response and restoration time has improved by 50 percent in the last year,” says Tridib Bhattacharjee, Director of Converged Services, Global Services Delivery, Avaya India. Strategic training to the personnel has brought about a healthy turn of events.

Service here is focused towards customer satisfaction. The India Delivery Center has ramped up significantly in the last three years catering to an umbrella of services. In order to ensure work-life balance the company has implemented the ‘follow-the-sun’ model across its three delivery centers. These initiatives have ensured higher productivity of the company’s GSD centers.

Avaya’s vision of intelligent converged communication is fueled by the technology work of its R&D organization which is also based in Pune and is engaged in building its products and technologies of the future like Session Initiation Protocol, and Service Oriented Architecture, VOIP & Fixed Mobile Convergence.

With a commitment to R&D excellence, a drive to innovate, and a dedication to meeting the needs of customers worldwide, this facility is well-equipped with technologically advanced communications solutions allowing for seamless work environments, and 24X7 operations in conjunction with its facilities spread across the globe.

Tridib Bhattacharjee: A returnee’s story
Tridib Bhattacharjee is a good example of how a young man after completing his Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from Utkal University grew as a professional from a very modest Service Engineer to a global technology professional. Bhattacharjee after working for some large Indian IT/Telecom services organizations worked in the U.S. for four years and benefited from having high quality management professionals as peers. Though he was growing he felt that his job in pure product development and support area made him function mechanically everyday. In the U.S. the job functions are very process oriented. The processes are well defined and hence some of the jobs become very repetitive. For Bhattacharjee this was a myopic existence.

Bhattacharjee yearned to do something he had never done before and more importantly contribute in whatever way possible to India’s growth and development. Contribution to India’s burgeoning telecom sector was one outlet. Relocating to India from the U.S. at that point of time was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of a growth engine.

An offer from Reliance Communications in India in 2003 to scale up its data network was an opportunity for him because the job responsibility entailed expansion of the network to almost every part of India. The challenging decision to relocate from the Silicon Valley, leaving behind a stable job with Cisco Systems and friends had to be taken. Another challenge was that relocating would mean a paradigm shift in the lifestyle pattern. Some comforts had to be sacrificed.

The turn of events during Bhattacharjee’s initial days after his return made him feel very depressed. However, it was just a passing phase and support from his family helped him overcome it. Looking back, he says the move to India was worth it given the tremendous growth here and the constant challenge to prove oneself. Each day has took him higher up the learning curve, and he realized that the horizon of his thought process has constantly been pushed northward.

At Reliance, Bhattacharjee felt he was part of their critical growth process as some of his ideas were implemented. It was also a double bonanza since he was, as a U.S. returnee, valued for his global experience.

After Reliance Communications, Bhattacharjee worked for Alcatel-Lucent and built a global service delivery center for one of its IP Divisions, which resulted in significant cost savings for the company and increased customer satisfaction besides offering exciting career opportunities to young technology professionals of the country.

Bhattacharjee joined Avaya in March 2007 and is currently in the process of building one of the largest service delivery groups for the company.