PAKISTAN EXPORTING CALL CENTER SOLUTIONS TO INTERNATIONAL MARKET

Aug 29 - Sep 04, 2005

Pakistan has been importing telecommunication solutions from abroad for quite some time. Typically, whenever there is a requirement to buy a telecom solution, vendors from Germany, UK, Sweden, France and North America were considered. Lately, Chinese companies have started to enter into this market with the objective of capturing the entire market at any cost. While the imported solutions readily fulfilled the needs of a given organization, it severely hampered Pakistan's progress towards the development of local talent and industry.

Because of this ongoing reliance on imported solutions from foreign companies, most of the local talent and the solution providers in our industry that could have made Pakistan a self-reliant and independent player in the global market could not take off. Everyone is aware of what happened to our air-conditioning manufacturing along with various other sectors that have been forced to lay off their employees and close down their operations as they could not compete against the low cost, low quality imports from foreign suppliers that were supported by their respective governments in the form of subsidies and other incentives.

Things were different in other countries that are now considered the leaders in the telecom solutions. For instance, in many countries, foreign players were not allowed to enter and compete in the market until recently. In these countries, preference was always given to the local players and at times, these local players were supported by their governments in various creative ways. Many governments offered assistance, incentives and significant benefits to their local companies in getting business from other countries. This greatly helped these local players of those countries to refine their offerings and become strong international players.

Pakistan has faced numerous political and economical ups and downs since its inception and there was much growth in agricultural and finance sector but the engineering and telecom sectors were not making a mark. There were foreign dependencies, lack of an entrepreneurial approach and shortage of skilled labor but there were exceptions where some Pakistan-based companies started their operations in Telecom Sector and not only they were able to make significant progress in the domestic market but also paved way for Software and Telecom Solutions export to other countries.

The Telecom and Financial Sector started growing in the 90s and there was ample opportunity for Pakistani companies to prove that our skilled and talented resource pool is far better than foreign companies. At the same time there was a growing need of prompt customer services, and with growing competition banks were establishing customer support Tele-Banking Call Centers, new cellular phone companies were entering the market and the overall customer services and support concept was gaining importance.

ZRG - A LOCAL VENTURE IN IT AND TELECOM:

ZRG International (Pvt) limited is one of those few companies that took the initiative to enter the Telecom and Software Development arena in 1994. The core focus was on Call Center Technology Solutions based on open standards technology. Due to its commitment, strong technical know-how and aggressive marketing ZRG was able to capture a major share of the call center market in Pakistan within a short span of 10 years. The days of technology import were over as ZRG started exporting Call Center Solutions from Pakistan in the year 2003. With this first call center export order, Pakistan joined the group of handful of countries that export such hi-tech solutions in the world market and became the first call center exporter company in Pakistan.

EXPORTING FROM PAKISTAN:

ZRG created history for the IT industry by exporting the first call center solution from Pakistan. Mobitel, Tanzania, is a premium cellular service provider in East Africa and they selected ZRG call center after a competitive selection process. Mobitel has expressed great satisfaction and has placed expansion orders with ZRG International.

In the year 2005 Serco Gulf Dubai, a subsidiary of Serco Group, a leading UK-based facilities management and outsourcing company listed on London Stock Exchange placed an order to ZRG International for setting up a call center solution for their customer services and support requirements in Dubai.

In the same year Lloyds Bank, a prominent banking institute in Dubai serving the Middle East and nearby markets, placed an order to ZRG for a state of the art call center solution by ZRG International for their Telephone Banking requirements. Lloyds TSB Dubai is a subsidiary of the leading UK-based Lloyds Bank listed on the UK stock exchange. These events have greatly enhanced Pakistan and ZRG's profile abroad and earned foreign exchange for the country.

ZRG always believed in creating long term relations with customers, a lot of time and energy was invested in creating awareness and transfer of knowledge to customers. This investment has paid back in big ways and ZRG has achieved the position of being the trusted leader and well known Call Center expert in the industry. ZRG is way ahead of the competition because of long term presence, successful performance record and mature and seasoned team of expert professionals.

MARKET LEADERSHIP IN PAKISTAN:

ZRG has the highest number of call center implementations in Pakistan and holds an excellent reputation for their robust solutions, technical strength and project management capabilities. Because of the previous project experience, the company is able to share a wealth of knowledge with the customers in various telecom areas and related issues. The lessons ZRG has learned from working on previous projects translate into instant benefits and cost-saving recommendations for the clients.

Mobilink GSM, Pakistan's largest cellular phone service provider had been using ZRG's next generation call center solution for over 4 years with the highest degree of satisfaction. ZRG call center solution for Mobilink has become the largest call center in Pakistan. World Technology leader, Intel Corporation, USA, selected a ZRG Call Center site as a topic for their success story. Intel carried out a case study of Pakistan's largest and most advanced call center solution installed at Mobilink GSM, and decided to include it on its premier call center solutions website. This was the first time a Pakistan based call center was included in any such study carried out by Intel Corporation, USA.

This has elevated the profile of Pakistan in the international market. In the midst of competition where Pakistan is not considered as a key player in the IT market this event has proven to be a success story for Pakistan.

TRACK RECORD OF EXCELLENCE:

ZRG has a track of excellent performance and success stories.

* 3 major mobile phone companies using ZRG call center solution.
* 11 major banks using call centers are using ZRG call center solution.
* The largest shipping and liner Maersk is using ZRG call center solution.
* The largest oil marketing company using call center solution by ZRG.
* The largest natural gas service provider using ZRG call center solution.
* 1st Urdu-based Interactive Voice Response in the World.
* 1st company to export a Call Center Solution from Pakistan.
* 1st company from Pakistan to be profiled on Intel's website for a success story.

CUSTOMER BASE:

ZRG clients include some of the most prestigious brand names in the region such as:

TELECOM CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SUPPORT CALL CENTERS:

- Mobilink GSM
- Instaphone
- Paktel GSM
- Mobitel Tanzania
- WorldCALL Broadband

BANKING CALL CENTERS INCLUDE:

- Bank Alfalah
- KASB Bank
- Askari Bank Master Card
- Standard Chartered Bank, Islamabad
- Bank Al Habib
- Metropolitan Bank
- Credit Agricole Indosuez
- Soneri Bank
- Prime Bank
- PICIC Commercial Bank
- Faysal Bank
- Lloyds Bank

LARGEST COMPANIES IN THE ENERGY SECTOR INCLUDE:

- Pakistan State Oil
- Sui Southern Gas

CUSTOMER SERVICE CALL CENTERS INCLUDE:

- Maersk Pakistan
- FedEx
- Serco Gulf
- Many others

AN AGE OF TELECOM REVOLUTION:

Pakistan has witnessed phenomenal growth in the past few years. The deregulation of telecom has introduced additional players in the market with aggressive strategies and a wide range of competing and new products. Banking and financial sectors are showing great progress in the midst of intensive competition, with dynamic organizations working hard to differentiate themselves from the competition.

The telecom industry will become increasingly competitive. Key differentiators in the telecom industry could be providing high quality customer services. ZRG can play a significant role in deploying next generation contact center technology which will provide the optimized tools, latest and integrated information environment. These tools and methods enable the customer services representatives to be knowledgeable and customer-aware, resulting in an informed and highly personalized customer interaction.

There is tremendous potential in call center solution and remote IT services in Pakistan. With the technological advancement and need for prompt customer support, many organizations, local businesses and entrepreneurs are interested in setting up customer service call centers. This will not only enhance the level of customer services but it would also bring foreign investment and more employment opportunities for the masses.

EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES FOR TELECOM SOLUTIONS:

Export opportunities are evolving and we are working on many projects in the region to become the preferred solution provider for Contact Center solutions in the region. The Government of Pakistan should support local industry by providing opportunities for export. This also requires enhancing the image of Pakistan in the world. Our solutions are more refined and customizable and they are far better from the solutions offered by international giants.

We foresee tremendous opportunities for ZRG and we are proud to be a part of this evolution and we are making significant contribution in several areas including educating customers on what to expect and demand from technology, in bringing out the next generation standards based products and by showing the possibilities to the rest of the industry.