E-commerce Startups enhance background checks on staff after Koramangla case.
The recent incident of a woman being harassed by a delivery boy in Koramangala, which grabbed the attention of the media after the woman expressed her ordeal on the social media website, has made the e-commerce companies rethink about the verification and security checks on their staffs to ensure the security of their customers.
Bengaluru | Red Newswire | By ET Bureau | Dec 1, 2015 09:58 PM IST.
The woman was harassed so much that she has left the city finally. This is not an isolated case, a number of such cases have been coming up in the past raising the concerns. Koramangala being a startup hub is in the centre of this issue, making the startups in and around the Koramangala area seemingly alert to avoid any such challenge to their brand name and customers' security. From door to door verification of vendors to also providing genuine number where the victim can contact, they are suggesting and following several measures to ensure that their customers feel safe when they are dealing with the company representatives. Debadutta Upadhyaya, co-founder of Timesaverz.com, an online home service provider startup, says, "We have built in checks and balances first to avoid such situations and second to redress com-plaints from customers on this subject swiftly and sternly." About the verification process of these employees her organization follows three step verification processes. First is collection of necessary documentation - ID and address proof and reference check. In its second step, company goes for physical verification of address and online check of court records along with police verification and third but most important is the active feedback from customers. "The company invests considerable time in soft skill training of these individuals", she added. Though, she feels that singling out e-commerce is not right where such untoward incidents are being reported. She argues saying that intent behind these crimes cannot be attributed to any single business format and its something that even brick and mortar businesses grapple with. Commenting on the situation Pravin Agarwala, CEO, BetterPlace, says, "We see safety and trust related problems everywhere. In apartment complexes where residents assume safety rather than demanding it (e.g., is the security guard verified?, is the visitor checked? etc.), in last mile delivery, in hotels and home stays etc. The problem can be especially acute in fast growing industries such as last mile delivery, hyperlocal logistics and home services as individuals are on boarded at a very fast pace. To keep up with the pace of on boarding verification checks for identity, antecedents, address and character have to be done in the matters of 2-3 days. This is only possible by extensive use of technology that supplements physical checks. Instances where during a delivery the staffer misbehaves with an individual especially children and women can be avoided to a large extent by doing extensive checks at the time of on boarding to ensure that the right deterrence are created against criminal activity. It is also important to make sure that the prospective employees are aware of the process of checks being conducted to message the fact that law will take corrective action if and when an incident happens"
LocalOye founder Aditya Rao seems to be confident of its security measures as he says, "At LocalOye, we have designed an extremely stringent process of 45 parameters on the basis of which we select our service partners. Only once our partners clear these parameters, do they get on-boarded on the LocalOye platform. Post the on-boarding process, we also undertake an extensive training program wherein we focus on important of customer servicing with impetus given on partner etiquette. We onboard 10 out of every 100 partners on our platform basis these parameters". LocalOye also does a background check on its partners during acquisition, Rao said, "Our partner acquisition team conducts extensive background checks on all our partners to ensure that we on-board assured, reliable and trusted service partners for our customers. These include their police record checks, court record checks, aadhar card and pan card verification. Over and above that, we also conduct some ghost service exercises wherein we ask our employees to hire services of our prospective partners. This gives us a first hand experience of gauging our partner quality". One of the solutions, as per Rao, which can help curb such incidents is "The compulsion of registering all the delivery boys or service professionals with the nearby police station. The registration along with a proper photo identity and the residential proof is a simple yet effective way of curbing such incidents." Major Prashant Rai- Founder and CEO at Onetimejobs.com, a plat-form for providing hyperlocal service providers like plumbers, security vendors, security verification procedures and they have their own service vendors says it is taking all precautions regarding security check. Prashant Rai- Founder and CEO at Onetimejobs.com, says. "Select vendors and ensure a background verification is done by third party company 'BetterPlace'. Also, on confirmation, the customer is in-formed on phone and via email that who the vendor is coming for services. And after service call is done, we maintain a track of satisfaction of service level and concerns if any." He further claims that his organisation has a Sexual Harassment Committee in the company chaired by one of the Co-founder. For his organistion, a third party verification team is also at work which does house verification. He suggests few solutions for the e-comm companies including background Verification of Vendors to be made mandatory, e-Comm companies to provide at least one genuine con-tact number for reaching out in such scenarios and also basic aware-ness program to be provided to the staff and vendors.