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April 15, 2008

Customer Care From The Caribbean: High Quality And Near-Shore



By Tracey E. Schelmetic
TMCnet Contributor


Xerox Corporation was recently recognized by J.D. Power & Associates for the second consecutive year for its outstanding customer service. This is certainly impressive, but Xerox Corporation does not “do” its own customer service. That job goes to outsourced customer care provider e-SERVICES GROUP, which handles all customer service operations for Xerox, which has been its client for the last four years. Additionally, Delta Airlines, Colonial Penn and Banker’s Life & Casualty, among others, outsource their customer care to e-SERVICES GROUP, a near-shore company. Why is this notable? Because e-SERVICES GROUP is located not in Canada, India or the Philippines, but in the Caribbean: specifically, Jamaica, where it is headquartered, and St. Lucia.
 
Patrick Casserly, president of e-SGI, said, “Companies are finding that it makes much better logic to use our services where eastern culture versus western culture is not an issue. We have a cultural convergence with the U.S. — speaking the same language, reading the same newspapers, and enjoying the same entertainment. 
 
“There is ease of access,” Casserly continued. “Caribbean telephone area codes are U.S. area codes. Flights from the U.S. to Caribbean islands are frequent and the time difference is minimal in most parts of the country. With the slow-down of business in the U.S., companies now need to cut costs wherever possible and with wages on a rapid increase in India, they are now looking at us for a more cost-effective alternative.”
 
The core business of e-SGI is business process outsourcing (BPO). It has 3,000 employees in three different offices in Montego Bay and Kingston, Jamaica, and St. Lucia. Annual billings are in excess of $60 million. The company accesses more than 120,000 calls per day. Approximately half of the employees have a high-school education and half are college educated. Each worker is dedicated to only one client. The company takes great pride in its employee benefits program, maintaining annual attrition at approximately 14 percent, which is startlingly low for call center work. Each employee is provided at least 10 weeks of initial training and then a minimum of an hour of continued training per week. 
 
The company states that its strengths are a stable labor force, sophisticated technical service and quality customer care. It is the largest employer, as well as an employer of choice, in Jamaica. With near-shore outsourcing gaining in popularity in the Caribbean, other islands such as Puerto Rico and Barbados are also beginning to offer outsourced customer care services. e-SGI is the largest BPO provider in the Caribbean and is a major player in economic development in the area.
 
For more information, visit www.e-servicesgroup.com.
 
Tracey Schelmetic is Editorial Director for Customer Interaction Solutions magazine, and covers the customer relationship management and call center industries for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey’s articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.
 

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