Chatbots: Threat to Indian BPO industry?

Chatbots: Threat to Indian BPO industry?

Indian BPO industry continues to spur its growth worldwide. According to National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the industry has created direct employment of 2.2 million and indirect employment of 8 million. These figures are expected to go up to 10 million and 20 million respectively by year 2020.

Indian BPO industry’s success is credited to India’s low operating costs, large number of resources readily available in the country like skilled, English-speaking professionals, and many others.

However, a new notion came out that chatbots could possibly put BPOs out of business.

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are automated computer programs that stimulate online conversations with people to answer questions or perform tasks. Apple’s Siri is among the most well-known chatbots.

Digital chatbots can carry out tasks. They can be used in congregating people for a meeting and booking airline tickets.

Dan Olds, founder of Gabriel Consulting Group, pointed out the potential use of chatbots as employment recruiters. They can be used to handle the first phase of the interview process by posing questions to applicants.

Chatbots’ possible threat to BPOs

Chatbots are increasingly being deployed globally. And one of those countries is India.

As they are making their debut on Facebook, Google and Skype and play important roles in customer service, some experts think that the popularity of chatbots could lend a significant blow to the Indian BPO industry. It is because most of the low-end work of BPOs would get automated.

Raman Roy of Quatrro and Susir Kumar of Intelenet Global Services, who are both veterans in Indian BPO industry acknowledged the threat chatbots can bring. Given that they can take over traditional customer service functions, chatbots could spell significant loss of revenues for BPO firms along with leading to erosion of low-end jobs.

“The repetitive tasks started going away more than a decade ago, it has already happened and will continue to happen, while we are adapting, more and more of these low-end tasks will go away, you can see the signs.” – Raman Roy


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