May 31, 2013

Camera 360Cebu, Philippines – May 31, 2013 – Qualfon, a leading business process outsourcing (BPO) and call center service provider, recently had one of its contact center supervisors awarded the Certificate of Appreciation by the Cebu City Government.

Elenita Cortes was recognized for her work for the Qualfon Read Aloud volunteer program. The program involves volunteers from Qualfon reading to children at the Cebu Public Library on a regular basis. The purpose of the Read Aloud program is to re-awaken the importance of reading in the children and emphasize the human interaction involved in this, despite the age of technology and the Internet.

Camera 360“Elenita Cortes’ effort and dedication to this program has touched many children in the community,” said Steve Brown, Site Director for Qualfon Cebu. “She is also a highly valued member of our Qualfon family and truly lives the Qualfon mission of Making People’s Lives Better.”

Qualfon welcomes the participation of any people or organizations who would like to join in the efforts of the Read Aloud program. Please reach out to our local Qualfon Foundation c/o Kristine Sejano @ mksejano@qualfon.com or call 032 2301400 loc. 23130

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May 30, 2013

Dumaguete, Philippines – May 30, 2013 – Qualfon, a leading business process outsourcing (BPO) and call center service provider, has launched back-office operations for the title industry in its Dumaguete, Philippines location. The program is a result of Qualfon’s recent acquisition of Data Control Group, now called Qualfon Data Services Group (DSG). Qualfon DSG recently expanded operations to the Qualfon Dumaguete II site.

SONY DSCPete Lutz, Senior Vice President of Qualfon DSG, remarked, “Qualfon Dumaguete is an ideal location for back-office operations. Dumaguete is called University Town due to its high ratio of universities to population and it provides a large pool of highly qualified people seeking career opacities. This provincial Philippines location also provides a significantly lower cost of living compared to Manila.”

Scott Warner, Qualfon Dumaguete Site Director, explained, “We launched the back-office title program in our new state-of-the-art Dumaguete II center last week. This is great program to bring to the people of Dumaguete and we found an abundance of talent from our large pool of prescreened applications. We are very excited about the addition of back-office opportunities from our Qualfon DSG clients that complement our extensive voice programs.”

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May 16, 2013

New York, NY  – Qualfon, a leading business process outsourcing (BPO) and call center service provider, was recently recognized by Nearshore Executive Alliance and Neashore Americas for its employee-focused corporate social responsibility program. Qualfon was the runner-up for the Foundations for the Future (F4F) award, while Globant, a software development company, won this year’s award for its training software.

Rebeca Hassan, Executive Director for the Nearshore Executive Alliance stated, “The Foundations for the Future is our way of recognizing the effort that global services companies put into the social well-being of their communities. We were very impressed with Qualfon Guyana’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program and its numerous areas of impact including environment, community and business sustainability. What stood out the most about Qualfon was it special focus on programs supporting its employees and their families. Qualfon certainly deserved to be the runner-up for this award, and was the top business process outsourcing (BPO) company we evaluated. They are a great example of how Near-shore outsourcing can have a positive social impact and hopefully it will encourage other companies to follow their lead.”

Roberto Sanchez Mejorada, Qualfon’s Chief Mission Officer explained, “We are thankful to be the runner-up for the Foundations of the Future award. At Qualfon, our mission is Making People’s Lives Better and it all begins by taking care of our people so they can take better care of customers, our communities, and each other. This simple but important approach is the key to our success.”

 

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May 3, 2013

Washing Diplomat Guyana IssueQualfon, a leading business process outsourcing (BPO) and call center service provider, participated in The Washington Diplomat’s report on the call center industry in the South American country of Guyana. Qualfon CEO Mike Marrow was interviewed for its article titled, Guyana Emerges as a Leader In Global Call Center Industry.

In the article, Mr. Marrow explained many key factors that make Georgetown, Guyana an ideal call center location. “Their native language is English, not Spanish, and like the Filipinos, the Guyanese have a very strong affinity to the United States,” said Mr. Marrow. He provided other benefits, as well, including that Guyana is close to the United States and is only about a five-hour direct flight from New York’s JFK Airport.

The capital of Guyana, with a population of 750,000 people, Georgetown offers scalability for the call center industry, where call centers jobs are in high demand. Marrow said, “They earn what an accountant with a few years’ experience or mid-level manager would make.”

Cost structure is another major benefit of Guyana. Marrow indicated that when factoring in all operating costs, Guyana is still about ten percent cheaper than the Philippines and 30 percent cheaper than Costa Rica. Qualfon has been providing call center services in Georgetown since 2007, and it has been a great location for the company and its clients. It is the largest private employer in Guyana with 1,700 employees, and Qualfon is about to launch a new 800-seat, state-of-the-art center this summer. In addition, Qualfon plans to build a call center campus in 2014 with employee amenities and capacity of for 5,000 agents. Qualfon views Georgetown, Guyana as the next great frontier of the call center industry.

The Washington Diplomat dedicated an entire issue to covering the South American Guyana, in which it profiles the country, its current trends, and providing insight to many of its developing industries.  Click here to read the entire publication.

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April 30, 2013

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The next time you call your phone company with a question about cellular service, or need to dispute a charge that appeared on your latest credit card statement, don’t be surprised if the voice on the other end of the line belongs to a customer service representative in Guyana.

Qualfon, a leader in the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry, has quickly become one of Guyana’s biggest private employers. Qualfon has a strong track record of sales, customer service and back-office processing growth in the BPO industry. As part of its mission of “making people’s lives better,” Qualfon invests in the well being of its people — a philosophy that’s been key to high employee morale and tenure.

It has launched support programs such as providing milk subsidies for its employees and in the community to take care of its people — which in turn provides a high-level platform for Qualfon to better care for its customers, clients and communities.

It now has 1,700 workers in Georgetown, the capital. A second site just a few kilometers away will have an additional 800 employees within the next 12 to 18 months, and a large multi-building campus planned at a third site near Guyana’s new national sports stadium will eventually house up to 5,000 workers.

Qualfon, established in 1996, has just over $100 million in annual revenues; its chief executive officer, Michael P. Marrow, is based in Boca Raton, Fla. “In the early years, India was the country of choice for BPO firms because of its large labor pool, low wages and prevalence of English speakers.

“The challenge India has had is a very recognizable Indian accent that Americans tend to have a difficult time with,” Marrow told us. “The Guyanese have a pleasant accent, and we’ve never had any problems with that. Several large mobile phone operators and banks visited our Guyana operations and were very pleased.” He added: “Companies like ours are constantly looking for other locations and have been opening up call centers in Costa Rica, Mexico and Honduras. One advantage is that we’re in similar time zones and close by, so if one of our Fortune 100 customers uses our services, they can frequently go and visit the sites.

Marrow said Qualfon’s clientele consists of wireless operators, banks, credit-card companies and major retailers.“Guyana has the benefit of proximity. You can get there in five hours from JFK [John F. Kennedy Airport] or four hours from Miami,” he said. “Their native language is English, not Spanish, and like the Filipinos, the Guyanese have a very strong affinity to the United States. There’s also a strong affinity to the U.K., so it’s a terrific location. The government is very supportive, and the technology infrastructure has really progressed since we first opened there seven years ago.

“When we started, we were communicating with our domestic centers via satellite. Now it’s via fiber-optic cable linked to Trinidad,” he added. “There’s also a new fiber-optic route coming in from Brazil, which we expected to go online momentarily. By May, we will have a state-of-the-art, fully redundant network in place for our clients.”

So far, Qualfon has spent about $4 million in infrastructure in Guyana and plans to spend another $3 million in the next few years. In that regard, Guyana’s GO-Invest promotion agency has proven extremely useful. “Virtually everything in Guyana is imported, so part of the incentives GO-Invest provided was for us to have these import duties waived,” Marrow explained. “In order to build our sites, we had to bring in all the computers, cubicles, servers, routers, office equipment and telephony infrastructure.”

While Qualfon is the largest call center company in Guyana, it is not the only one. Clear Connect Inc. was established in 2007 by local businessman Adrian Collins, who had offshore experience in the Philippines, India, Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Collins started in the first floor of a Georgetown office building with 36 employees, and he has since built Clear Connect into a successful operation with a local workforce of 200.

“As near-shore leaders in this industry, we rank second to none in providing principled customer management and BPO solutions tailored to specific industry verticles,” says the company website. “We strive to improve operational efficiencies, achieve key performance metrics and reduce costs in the industries of communications and media, financial services, health care, retail, travel and hospitality.”

Another company, London-based Sambora Communications, offers its clients inbound sales and service, retention programs, customer satisfaction surveys, lifestyle surveys and debt collection services from its Georgetown branch office.

Sambora’s chairman is Ralph Ramkarran, the senior partner in Cameron & Shepherd, Guyana’s oldest and best-known law firm, as well as the outgoing speaker of the National Assembly. The company says it plans to expand its workforce to as many as 1,000 employees, citing “Guyana’s reliable and secure communications network” as well as its English-speaking workforce and its people’s neutral accent. Sambora adds: “Our low-cost base in Guyana allows us to provide high-quality solutions at costs that are competitive with all offshore locations.”

Qualfon’s Marrow said that when factoring in all operating costs, Guyana is still about 10 percent cheaper than the Philippines and 30 percent cheaper than Costa Rica. “In Costa Rica, Spanish is the native language and we’re trying to hire English-speaking people. Only a small percentage of Costa Ricans speak English, and an even smaller percentage speak English fluently, and they command a premium for their services.” In Guyana, the call center position is a mid-level or above opportunity. “Comparatively speaking,” Marrow said, “they earn what an accountant with a few years’ experience or mid-level manager would make.”

Read the entire Washington Diplomat coverage of the South America Country of Guyana, click here.

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