Book: One Night at the Call Centre by Chetan Bhagat
Name(s): Varun Malhotra/ Agent Victor Mell/ Vroom
Employer: Connexions (India)
A struggling outsourcer with a call centre in Guragong Connexions take calls for their one and only client the U.S firm Western Computer and Appliances. Call flow is however dwindling and the future of the firm is in question.
Vroom’s call centre journey:
Young and idealistic the college educated Vroom was originally working as a journalist, but took a job in the call centre due to the better money on offer. This choice is a constant source of tension for Vroom, who finds call centre work hard and though he tries to justify his choice by pointing out that with economic wealth comes greater power he also reflects on the hollowness of consumer society and the relatively low wages of Indian call centre workers compared to workers in the West.
Finest call centre moment:
Without a doubt developing Vroom’s managerial matrix. In Vroom’s own words:
There are four kind of bosses in this world, based on two dimensions: a) how smart or stupid they are and b) whether they are good or evil. Only with extreme good luck do you get a boss who is smart and a good human being.
Worst call centre moment:
Routinely abused by rude, angry and above all stupid customers. Vroom’s worst moment comes when he receives racial abuse from a drunk caller leaving him visibly distressed, trembling and breathing heavily.
What does Vroom represent:
The tragedy of wasted talent. With his education Vroom could be a journalist making a difference in society, but instead he’s wasting this potential in the call centre. Vroom is also representative of the tensions of the outsourcing model where power lies with the big Western companies who profit by paying comparatively lower wages and with the Western consumers who act in an abusive way towards the virtually powerless call centre workers.