Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Asians-Tougher time to enter UK

The UK government will on Tuesday be releasing new proposals that lay down stiffer conditions for getting a visa to enter that country. This is not yet even close to becoming law but if and when it does, it will be a lot more difficult to go for a holiday to the UK.

Even before the British government officially announced the new visa proposals, there were angry reactions especially from the UK's large South Asian community who say the changes are discriminatory and unfair and will hurt poorer families the most.

Families in the UK will have to pay a bond to ensure that their relatives from outside the EU leave. If the visitors don't leave on time the money is forfeited, and it's recommended that tourists from outside the EU should now get visas for just three months instead of siz.

The UK government says the new rules are necessary to check illegal immigration, and they have already made it more difficult for people to bring their spouses into the UK.

However, the labour government could lose the South Asian community's support over the latest proposals. Anticipating their anger the UK's immigration minister has planned a trip to India in February to explain why the move is needed.

The new immigration and visa rules are clear indication to Non-EU populations that they are no longer welcome, unless they fit the criteria immigration minister Liam Byrne has chalked out, and families stand to lose a lot of money, if they do not leave.

The UK is trying to tighten its borders, and in the process is giving out a strong message that discourages Asians from trying to make this their home.

Meanwhile, the British High Commission in New Delhi has called the planned tightening of immigration rules as an attempt to make the system both more secure but also to ensure that we maintain the UK's position as the destination of choice.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Talent mismatch hits customer services

At a time when India Inc. is facing severe talent shortage, a recent study highlights existing talent mismatch in the customer service function across sectors. The survey estimates that only 20 percent of people working in customer service profile have the perfect orientation towards such jobs. India’s largest skill assessment firm MeritTrac has conducted the study.

The study also points out that if an employee has a high orientation towards the job/function, the productivity per employee increases by 314 percent. As a result, several local companies in the services sector are losing out on maximum return out of their employee talent pool.

“The situation is quite alarming since customer service jobs account for a large chunk of hiring across sectors, especially banking, financial services, insurance, retail and telecom,” MeritTrac vice president Arvind T said.

The study was undertaken with a total sample size of 507 people with 0-3 years of experience across sectors.

The study has also analysed candidates on three critical parameters of a customer service role — personalised service, persuasive service and helpful service.

On the personalised service (how an employee approaches a customer) parameter, the survey shows that 5 percent of the candidates have a high orientation with the majority 82 percent with medium-level orientation.

On persuasive service (how to convince customers) parameter, employees have fared better. The study notes that nearly 58 percent of the candidates have a high inclination towards persuasive service with just 1 percent having a low inclination. However, high level of persuasive service and less towards personalised service show a sense of detached professionalism,” said Arvind.

In helpful service (how fast employees respond to customer needs), 30 percent of the candidates have high orientation, 61 percent have medium-level orientation and balance 9 percent has low inclination.

This is the only parameter with a fairly equitable distribution showing they are more adaptive towards responding than going that extra mile to build a rapport — essential for repeat purchase and loyalty, the study notes.

“The study has analysed executives on their basic orientation towards the job. These are basic soft skills, which a person can hardly acquire through experience. Since customer service roles are becoming critical, companies need to focus much more on their selection process,” added Arvind.


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