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Channel Shift, Analytics & Balancing the Workforce: Initiatives at Convergys Bangalore

NelsonHall recently visited Convergys’ contact center in Bangalore to learn more about its operations, and here I reflect briefly on three areas:

  • The center’s ongoing channel shift to webchat
  • An interesting development in the center’s analytics work
  • An initiative to hire more women in an effort to have a more balanced workforce.


Convergys Bangalore is a 167,430 sq. ft. facility with ~1. 5k seats and ~2. 5k agents. It also has ten training rooms with 220 seats. Around 70 people are hired each week at the center, which operates 24/7 and supports telecommunications, cable, financial services, and high tech clients. It was established in 2003 and was the second Convergys site in India. The support provided from this site includes customer support, sales, and technical support. Convergys sees more room to grow in Bangalore, and is looking for a possible second site in another area of the city.

Shift to Webchat

Convergys would like to make its locations in India webchat CoEs. The webchat agent turnover rate is lower than voice, as webchat agents do not have to handle concerns from N. American customers of their clients regarding their accents. The move to more webchat agents also positions Convergys Bangalore strongly for the channel growth expected in chat.

Strong training in typing skills, multitasking, and prioritizing are needed for webchat agents. Common webchats can have standardized answers that should be personalized by each agent, not simply copied and pasted from a knowledge base. To improve service, Convergys maintains a library of the successful chats of top agents to see how they resolved issues. Convergys is currently providing webchat support for high tech and telecommunications clients from the Bangalore contact center. From a pricing perspective, support through webchat is typically priced on a per minute or a per webchat model.

Agents in the Bangalore center support Convergys’ clients’ customers in N. America, Europe, and Australia, and it hopes to support the India domestic market in the future. From a language perspective, it primarily supports English, but it also has 30-40 agents at this location speaking French, Spanish, German, French Canadian, and Italian.

Convergys Bangalore is using the Kenexa HR tool for all online applications and typing tests. As typing is not taught in Indian schools, ramping up typing speeds is often slow, typically taking agents three months to increase from 30 to 60 words per minute. During the first two weeks of training, agents focus one hour a day on typing skills. Typing skills are critical for not only call notes but for supporting the webchat channel. Convergys has a telecommunications client supported from this site that only wants agents focused on a single webchat at a time, but other clients are comfortable with agents conducting two and three webchats at a time.

Voice/webchat agents have about 8-9 weeks of training, including accent and culture training, which takes about two weeks. Agents also engage in experiential learning; for example, playing video games that help them to better understand the N. American financial services industry. Agents are also playing video games to get hands on knowledge of gaming companies it is supporting. In addition, webchat training on prioritization techniques is provided to teach agents to handle up to three webchats simultaneously.

Analytics with a Twist

Convergys is conducting some interesting analytics work from its Bangalore center, not only handling analytics for its own client’s customers, but also handling analytics for the clients of many of its competitors (where the end client has decided that Convergys is their preferred choice for analytics). After analyzing the calls, Convergys provides feedback on recommended improvements. This feedback is broader than many other analytics programs, as it encompasses interactions from multiple vendors.

Aiming for a More Balanced Workforce

Many contact center employees in India work evenings/nights to serve U.S.-based clients and customers. Contact centers are a vital industry in India, and the Indian government even mandates contact center organizations to provide transportation for female employees during the night. As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to have a diverse and balanced workforce, Convergys Bangalore is continually working to make it an easy choice for potential candidates. For example, Convergys has developed an app which female employees use to report back to the company when they have made it home safely; and female employees also have access to the Convergys Global Women’s Network.

Furthermore, CEO Andrea Ayers is highlighted in training videos as inspiration, telling her story of starting out as a trainer in a contact center and years later becoming CEO. 

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