India is our top growth market: Teleperformance CEO Daniel Julien

India is our top growth market: Teleperformance CEO Daniel Julien

Five years ago, Teleperformance, a French outsourcing company, acquired Mumbai-based BPO firm Intelenet from private equity firm Blackstone to expand its operations in India. Daniel Julien, Teleperformance’s founder and CEO, now considers India as its top growth market having expanded the company’s operations in Gurugram, Mohali, and Hyderabad. The $10.7 billion company plans to hire 20,000 more in the country this year, aiming for a workforce of 150,000 within two years. On his recent visit to India, Julien discusses the company’s growth plans, advanced technologies, and future trends in the outsourcing market. Edited excerpts:

Teleperformance India experienced robust growth last year despite the challenging times. What were the growth drivers and how does India compare to other global markets?

In India, we have 90,000 employees and around 60,000 in another key market—Philippines—which adds up to 150,000. India and the Philippines make up 30-35% of our workforce in this region, with India being the main contributor. Over 50% of our technology, analytics and process excellence (T.A.P) experts are based in India. The professionalism, quality of people, infrastructure, and scalability have a positive impact. We had double-digit growth in India last year and plan to increase employee count to 150,000 by the end of 2025.

Read also: How Teleperformance bounced back in India after four years of shrinking biz

In 2018, Teleperformance acquired Indian BPO firm Intelenet. What has changed since then with regard to growth in the India market?

The acquisition of Intelenet gave us the springboard to perform much better in the outsourcing market. Prior to that we were present in the Indian market, but at the lower scale and since acquiring Intelenet, we significantly added automation and digital capabilities to our business. The integration was rather smooth as far as management and employees are concerned and today we are one big family. It has made our position strong globally.

What kind of technologies are you excited about currently to improve Customer services?

We are leveraging technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and large language models (LLMs) to solve complex data challenges. We’re training our agents with learning tools, knowledge management systems, and gamification plus investing in generative AI to boost customer experience. We aim to use big tech firms' data to help them make better decisions while prioritising data security. Additionally, we use technology like interface design to map customer journey. For example, our recent launch of TP Infinity platform offers software, consulting, and interface designs to enhance customer experience, improve onboarding, and so on. In June 2023, we signed a $185 million deal with Microsoft to launch TP Gen AI through which TP leverages Azure OpenAI to create new content including audio, text and simulations to boost efficiency, accuracy and customer experience. There's still more to explore with Gen AI to improve the customer experience. It is still in the early stages globally.


Is your company's tech budget growing this year? If so, in which areas?

Our technology budget will increase substantially and we will align it with our business model through two main approaches. Firstly, we prioritise acquiring solution licences. Additionally, we strategically established our global business service, Teleperformance, in India, where we have a dedicated unit that offers IT services and software development for the entire group. 

Last year you mentioned doubling headcount in India over the next three years. What are your plans to hire and expand the team?

We have an employee base of nearly 90,000 in India, and plan to hire an additional 20,000 employees in 2024 as part of the announcement to have 150,000 employees in the country by end-2025. We have made efforts to promote inclusivity, employing over 1,150 individuals with disabilities in India and hiring around 100 people with hearing impairment in the past year. We also recognize the importance of expanding beyond tier one cities and have become the largest private employer in Mohali, attracting attention from governments and Fortune 1000 clients.

What sets you apart from your competitors? Which areas you wish to improve?

In today’s increasingly complex business landscape, it has become quite challenging to accurately identify the competition. It seems that everyone is vying for a piece of the market. While there are direct competitors such as Concentrix, there are also formidable players like Genpact, the prominent Indian BPOs. These companies command respect in the industry. Although we may not be privy to their business strategies, our primary focus lies in serving our clients, fostering their growth, and delivering exceptional results. We dedicate minimal time to studying our competitors, as our benchmark lies in achieving high gross profitability and sustainable growth, which stems from our unwavering commitment to client satisfaction.

How do you foresee 2024 unfolding for the Indian outsourcing market, considering the industry’s recent developments and emerging trends?

We all know that 2024 is going to be difficult. The micro and the GDP growth of the world are very pessimistic and nobody expects the economy to rebound before maybe 2025 or 2026. India is somewhat an exception in terms of growth. Also within Teleperformance, India is our top growth market. That’s because, customers are always on the lookout of best service at the best price, an area where India excels.

Finally, how do you unwind and relax despite your busy schedule?

There are two activities that bring me immense relaxation — sailing in turbulent waters and horse riding. Interestingly, engaging in these activities allows me to completely clear my mind. This state of tranquillity is truly remarkable.


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