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Info centres to the rescue

Info centres are catching on in a big way now. Learn how easy it is to locate telephone numbers and addresses.


UNTIL RECENTLY, searching for the telephone number of a particular shopping complex or theatre entailed dialling 197 and waiting for minutes on end for someone to answer you. The inordinate delay in processing queries did get on one's nerves, but it was borne stoically, with no other option left.

Though a player, Ask Me, did try to create a market for tele information services in Coimbatore, it had to soon close shop. For the past year-and-a-half, two such services -- Magic Dial Services (MDS), a venture of Roven Information Systems India Private Limited, and Getit Infomediary Ltd (GIL), a branch of Getit Now, have been trying to bridge the information gap in this city, free of cost.

Make a call to 98422 98422 (MDS) or 2200777 (GIL) anytime of the day and you get to hear a cheerful voice that helps you out with specific telephone numbers you might want to know.

While the former's reach is across Tamil Nadu, except Chennai, the latter's database allows it to process enquiries criss-crossing the entire State and neighbouring Bangalore.

Though both services answer any specific queries you might have, their operating systems are slightly different.

Magic Dial Services maintains a database of companies which have registered with it. If you make a general query about shopping complexes in Coimbatore, you get a list of telephone numbers, addresses and the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of each registered complex.

A company pays a fee of Rs. 3,000 for a year-long contract, which ensures that whenever a query is made concerning its field of business, its name is mentioned and details provided.

GIL, on the other hand, is primarily a value-addition service to those who have advertised in its Yellow Pages telephone directory.

However, anyone who calls is provided information from its database, which is updated every time a new company or enterprise is started in a particular category.

Preference, as usual, is given to its advertisers. And, newer classifications are added as and when the need arises.

Magic Dial Services employs about 30 and claims to handle an average of 700-800 calls a day. "Sometimes the number touches 1,000," Customer Care Manager S. Sundari says.

At present, about 1,000 companies from across the State are registered with the service.

The company also claims to have broken even, thanks to its doubling up as a call centre for certain companies. Started by Chennai-based doctors, MDS has 15 lines, ensuring that the waiting time does not normally exceed 25-30 seconds, she says.

GIL has five people on its rolls and its Customer Care Executive Rani says they handle an average of 215 enquiries a day.

With about three hunting lines, she claims the phone is picked up within two rings.

SUBHA J RAO

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