A Chat With Nikhil Behldirector of sales centers, HP Home
director of sales centers, HP Home
© Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, July 2006
Interview by Matt Griffin
Catalog Success: When was the catalog established?
Nikhil Behl: It was established in November, 2002.
CS: What is your primary merchandise?
NB: HP's consumer direct business in the U.S., entire portfolio of consumer products. More than 4,000 HP home office and supplies, everything from made to order desktops and PCs, as well as inks and paper. Cameras, printers, fax machines.
CS: Where did you grow up?
NB: New Delhi, India. I went to high school there. I attended a small private business school in Silicon Valley, California. I spent the summer before I graduated interning at HP. I worked with the controller at HP. I mentored with the man to understand how HP works, to learn what the HP way is and how unique HP is. When I finished that summer, I hadn't finished the project I was working on. They hired me to stay on part time through the end of school, then hired me when I graduated. I first joined HP on the consumer side. Then came the advent of the Internet, and e-commerce started to become a viable sales medium. HP launched their Web site in December in 1998, and I officially joined up in 1999.
CS: Had you any experience in catalog contact centers before?
NB: No, I joined the group to become category manager for desktop and mobile business. It was a really small organization, less than 10 people in sales and marketing. Over the course of two years, 1999-2001, I helped build out the category management area, and I broke out academic purchase programs. I built relationships with HP's other business units. Then I led a couple of teams that built the build-to-order desktop PC system. Although I didn't have a tech background, HP gave me an opportunity to work with tech and e-commerce. In 2001, I led a team that merged the Compaq consumer direct assets with HP consumer direct. Did that for a year. Then I worked in strategy and development for the combined consumer direct store, and I led internal planning functions for technology assets. Two years ago, the person who led the consumer direct business discussed strengths and weaknesses. One of the areas that needed to be built up was the contact center. I was assigned the task of re-engineering the contact centers to be assets. I took on the project to learn about something I had no real background for. There were some strategic changes that needed to be made. The project really challenged me. HP only had outsourced centers at that point. We completely redid the contact center, and brought some of it in-house. We built it into a strategic asset.