An interesting initiative from BCCL owned Times Business Solutions, reminiscent of directory services: the company has launched a call center based property search called “MagicBricks on Phone”, in eight languages – Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. The assisted property search service is available via the toll free number 1-800-200-4050. When Preethi tried calling for property search in Tamil, she was told that all call center executives are busy, and the line was subsequently disconnected. In case of Kannada, Hindi and English, both Preethi and I were able to speak to a call center executive to help with the search. Some notes:
— Caller refuses to share the name: What’s interesting here is that the information is delivered to consumers primarily via SMS, but the call center needs complete caller information. I declined to share my name (they already had my mobile number, which I had called from), and they declined to provide me information related to the property owners.
Download a recording of my call here (MP3, 1.8mB).
— Caller doesn’t share mobile number: I called again, this time in Hindi, looking for a place to rent. I said that I’m new to the city, and don’t have a mobile yet. I was then asked for a friends mobile number to SMS the details to, which I refused to give. Because I shared my name, the call center executive gave me details of two property owners (not brokers, according to them), but said that they would have still preferred a mobile number to SMS details to.
I’ve written in the past about how the voice-to-text technology enables such information driven businesses to scale, without adding significant manpower, and hence costs. However, it is the handling of exceptional situations – only a call center employee would know what kind of weird queries and issues people come up with – that makes call centers easier to deal with for consumers.
As as aside, I declined to share complete details, because after my experiences with Just Dial in the past, I was afraid that my contact details to be passed on to brokers without my permission. The more databases you’re a part of, the greater the propensity that your information will be shared or sold. I’m not saying that MagicBricks does that, but it’s a realistic concern, particularly given the way banking and financial services operate in this country.