Romania remains one of the top countries in Europe in terms of multilingual call center services
April 16, 2014
Note: Last week our Sales & Marketing Director for Europe, Grégoire Vigroux, gave an interview for the Romanian website Manager.ro to discuss the competitive advantages of Romania making it a top European outsourcing destination. Here is a part of the interview that he gave.
“There are several reasons why Romania is well placed in terms of call center services. Among these are excellent language skills, strong knowledge in IT and cultural proximity to Western Europe,” said Gregoire Vigroux, TELUS International Sales & Marketing Director Europe, in an interview for Manager.ro.
How many job positions you want to open this year?
GV: TELUS International currently has 400 employees spread into two centers – Bucharest (300) and Craiova (100). We plan to hire another 400 people this year, until December 2014.
What are employee’s benefits (bonuses, working conditions, training programs and other benefits)?
GV: Besides attractive salary, on our new programs we offer introductory training lasting six weeks, fully paid by the company, or personal development training in the TELUS Academy and TELUS languages in the Language Academy. Also, employees are awarded performance bonuses, meal tickets, wage increase of 25%, medical insurance for employees and their families and healthcare discounts for gym. Last but not least, employees benefit from flexible schedule shifts, team-buildings and other activities that increase team cohesion.
What are the selection criteria?
GV: We hire people who have excellent communication skills and the ability to stay calm in any situation. You must also be able to operate with a computer. Multilingual projects require an advanced level of written and spoken language.
Why did you choose Romania as one of the countries to provide services for international clients?
GV: Romania remains one of the top countries in Europe in terms of multilingual call center services, according to a recent ranking published by A & T Kearney. The main reasons for which Romania is so well placed are the excellent language skills, strong knowledge in IT and cultural proximity to Western Europe. In addition, the Romanians are famous for being able to find solutions to various problems, which is extremely important in terms of providing quality services to clients. TELUS International Europe (formerly CallPoint) was founded in Bucharest in 2007 with the objective of providing services to local clients (in Romania) and those in Western Europe and North America. At the moment the main languages spoken in the TELUS International Europe are Romanian, English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.
Although salaries are competitive in Romania, lowering costs is not the only reason for business to outsource call center services. Ability to provide services at an affordable price is of course always important. However, I would add that just as important is the ability to demonstrate that by partnering with experts in customer service, we can offer high quality services and increase customer loyalty. This is the area in which Romania can excel – providing exceptional service to impress clients at affordable prices. Therefore, we see Romania as the new El Dorado in call center services for companies in North America and Western Europe. Romania has become a leading country in the European IT outsourcing.
What is the impact of the recent rebranding over the company’s employees?
GV: TELUS International will double the headcount this year in Romania and we will reach 800 by December 2014. Bulk of this growth will be generated by new programs submitted by the parent company – TELUS Corporation – second largest telecom provider in Canada with annual revenue of over $ 10 billion. Also, our colleagues will have the opportunity to grow within and with a large group.
How do you estimate the market evolution that you operate in?
GV:Currently approximately 30,000 employees are working in call centers in Romania or in BPO sector. More than half of these are in Bucharest, which generates a strong competition to attract the best talent in the labor market. To cope with this problem TELUS International Europe has launched a call center where there is no competition. We opened the center in Craiova in 2012 where now work 100 colleagues.
What are the main trends in the market that you operate in?
GV:The main trend in 2014 is the growth of social media versus voice. More and more people interact with customer service departments through social media (Facebook mainly). By interacting in social media we manage the “e- reputation” of our customers, bringing consumers closer to the brand. At the same time our solutions for monitoring social media allow us to find out what Internet users say about our customers, who are these users where they are located and how influential they are. Further, the Community Management services increase online presence of the clients, making their brand more visible. Furthermore, on behalf of our clients, we provide the public with relevant information about them. The main result is an increase in consumer loyalty, brand notoriety and eventually increase sales.
Gregoire Vigroux is Director, responsible for Sales and Marketing for TELUS International Europe.
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Expanding our business to new countries is one of the highlights of my work with TELUS International. As a global BPO, TELUS International has over 16,000 team members throughout North America, Central America, Asia and Europe.
The customer of 2015 demands 24/7/365 support and expects it anytime, anywhere and from any device. This generation of shoppers simply wants service their way. They expect companies to solve problems quickly and they expect to enjoy themselves while they are doing it. The days of waiting patiently in line are long gone.
This year the magic of the TELUS Day of Giving reached Bulgaria on August 30 and Romania on September 27. Over 500 TELUS International Europe team members from our Bulgarian sites came together to support the Louis Braille School for visually impaired children in Sofia, and over 300 team member from our Romanian sites supported the “Pinocchio” Center for Social Services in Bucharest.
The world is globalizing at a remarkable rate. For the companies selling goods and services overseas this without doubt a positive, represented in billions of extra revenue coming from overseas markets, also presents a significant challenge: how to communicate with consumers who speak different languages, who operate in different time zones, and who have radically different cultures?
According to Media Bistro, over one million selfies are taken each day. And, as much as some people would like to blame Apple for starting the trend back in 2010 when it first introduced its front-facing iPhone camera (can self-portrait taking get any easier?), what we really need to do is figure out how to take advantage of the selfie phenomenon to better our relationships with customers.
Few weeks ago I was asked by mycustomer.com to give my opinion on the topic how to decide which customer interactions should be self-service and which still require agent input? Even though at TELUS International Europe we don’t offer self-service solutions we try to keep up with the latest in customer care.
As summer approaches its end we at TELUS International Europe associate this time of the year with the opportunity to bring social change by giving back to our communities. Our TELUS Day of Giving in Europe is coming up in support of our “we give where we live” philosophy.
The contact center of 2014 is almost unrecognizable from the call center of 1984, 1994, and even 2004. The industry has definitely seen its fair share of change – and yet, within the next few years, we can expect even more change to come.
With both the Games Developer Conference Europe and gamescom descending upon Cologne, Germany, August 11 to 17 collectively, we’ve got gaming on our minds! You see, since 2005, TELUS International has partnered with leading games companies to deliver player support services.
In Bulgaria and Romania together, there are more than 50,000 people working in O&O (Outsourcing and Off-shoring) industry. The competition for top talents is intensifying in the region, especially in the big East European cities such as Sofia and Bucharest ranked by A.T. Kearney among the top South-east European hubs for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.
Increasingly companies begin to realize that just transferring their processes to an outsourced contact center provider is not enough for delivering excellence in customer service and delighting their customers. Contact centers, on their part have also done their homework.
In an industry where reputation is everything, this is where customer service can be a real game-changer in the games industry. Through strategic planning and investment in analytical and support tools, studios can create an opportunity for highly personalized, engaging player service experiences that will “bond” consumers to the brand.
TELUS International Europe will invest 5 million leva for the equipment of new work stations as part of the project “Expansion of TELUS International Europe and entering new markets” and plans to create 523 new jobs in Bulgaria.
From June 9 to 11, approximately 100 customer experience professionals met in Lisbon, Portugal, to discuss best practices in customer service at the annual Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange event. Now it’s time to share what we’ve learned from our Fireside Chat topic on Excelling at Multilingual Customer Care, which we presented alongside Joey McClain, the Head of Customer Care at paysafecard.com.
(English) It has become increasingly difficult for game developers to generate and sustain brand loyalty. While technological advances and the proliferation of social media have generated more real-time interaction with players, it is important not to overlook the importance of player support, or to underestimate its powerful influence on brand loyalty and a player’s likelihood to recommend.
As consumers migrate online to manage their business transactions and decisions, the influence of online chat on the customer experience will continue to increase. A recent report states that one-fifth of both Gen Y (ages 18-27) and Gen X (ages 28-40) consumers located and engaged in online chat when they visited a company’s website. Comparatively, just one-tenth of boomers and seniors take advantage of chat.
It’s that time again! TELUS International will be heading to another Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange event from June 9 to 11 – this time in Lisbon, Portugal. What’s even more exciting is that I will be presenting a Fireside Chat topic on Excelling at Multilingual Customer Care, alongside Joey McClain, the Head of Customer Care at paysafecard.com.
When it comes to social media, companies have become not only more visible than ever before, but also more vulnerable. One single negative mention online can pose a real threat to a company since it can quickly escalate to millions of views, comments, likes, shares and tweets.
In May, 2014, TELUS International Europe has joined the Association of Business Service Leaders in Romania (ABSL). “We are proud to join ABSL in Romania. It is crucial for our company to play an active role in representing our industry locally and move our business interests forward. Our primary objectives with ABSL will be to contribute to drive market insights and intelligence and strengthen positive image of our sector in Romania.”
Customer experience innovation is now a game changer in the rapidly growing Ecommerce industry. The 3 big trends underway – Generation Y, chat and social media, and corporate culture – will largely impact customer service in Ecommerce in the near future.
A lot of business leaders talk about culture, but they struggle to quantify it. Frost & Sullivan recently spoke with members of TELUS International, a global BPO provider, to get their perspective on the importance of an organization’s culture and the impacts it has on customers and on the business itself.
Generation Y world population (ages 14-34) is just over 2.4 billion people. By 2017, Generation Y will have more spending power than any other generation. So how do you attract Generation Y to come work for you? And, once they are employed, how do you get them to stay working with you for the long haul.
No doubt that Generation Y is changing the business landscape. By 2030 Millennials will be roughly 75% of the global workforce. The sheer size of this demographic segment will force organizations to re-think many of their policies.
Generation Y, those born between 1980 and 2000, are seen as a game-changing force both as employees and as consumers. Why is that? • First, as employees Generation Y accounts to a huge segment of today’s workforce. • Second as customers Generation Y is heading towards their peak earning years, controlling and influencing a lot of spending.
While every contact center focuses on the costs associated with attrition, it is much harder to assess the revenue impact of attrition. Assessment of revenue impact reveals significant leakages linked to attrition. These are driven by efficient gaps between the existing customer service representative (CSR) and the replacement CSR.
Everest Group conducted a study with the purpose of assessing the business impacts of contact center attrition by using a methodology which breaks down the impact of attrition to the level of the individual contact center customer service representative, showing how the departure of a given individual generates a series of cost and revenue associated outcomes.
Attrition is considered a leading indicator of the health of contact center operations. The impact of attrition rates on business outcomes is a growing priority for business leaders looking to utilize the contact center to drive new business growth.
Millennials have unique needs for social collaboration and ongoing feedback regarding their personal and professional development. It’s not just about earning a paycheck. It’s about capturing their hearts and minds via a culture that mirrors their personal values, wants and beliefs.
What are the tendencies defining the future of the BPO industry? According to Kevin Bottoms, VP Business Development at TELUS International, five trends are emerging as key factors defining the BPO industry in the next decade.
Now BPO providers have to go beyond client’s expectations in order to stay competitive. The DNA of the emerging model for the BPO industry is based on the value of a caring culture. Progressive BPOs are increasingly mobilizing employees to volunteer in their communities by supporting basic needs.
An online sales chat interaction should seem like a conversation. Agents need to know how, and be trained to construct a conversation flow within the chat environment.
In order to identify the qualitative metrics of an ideal online sales chat session our colleagues from TELUS International conducted a study on six Fortune 500 companies. Several best practices emerged improving the chat channel and creating an ideal customer experience.
Millennial employees, between the ages of 22 and 33 years old, typically make up over 80 percent of the workforce at customer service organizations. Therefore, progressive customer service organizations are already making changes to the way they interact with this new generation.
CallPoint powered by TELUS was honored with the prestigious acknowledgement for Price Social Responsibility by the French-Romanian chamber of commerce (CCIFER) on its annual gala on November 29 in Bucharest, Romania. It is an honor for us to be given this recognition by one of the most important business associations in Romania.
In online sales chat agent skills, chat system features, and communications style all contribute to the total customer experience. Given that agent skills may be a leading factor in effective online sales chat, there are a number of opportunities for improving the customer experience.
A key part of TELUS International’s global operations are based in the Philippines, in the city of Manila. Like everyone else around the world, we have been devastated by the news of Typhoon Haiyan, which caused unprecedented destruction in many parts of the Philippines island chain.
TELUS International Europe is adding an incredible new twist to its work environment. Across its offices in Bulgaria and Romania, TELUS International Europe will be broadcasting its own TV channel, TELUS International Europe TV, on the 42-inch HD screens located in the offices’ open and relaxation spaces.
Companies from among all industries and across the size spectrum have proven many times with their experience the value of business process outsourcing (BPO). Still, there are debates regarding the perceived benefits and concerns surrounding outsourcing. Not all of the commonly discussed concerns or perceived disadvantages, however, are founded on direct experience and truth.
Once committed to social care, organizations often struggle with handling volume. The magnitude of conversations can seem overwhelming, but in reality, not all social conversations require a response.
TELUS International Vice-President of Information Technology, Michael Ringman, recently shared his views with Outsource UK Magazine on the evolution and impact of IT in the call center. In the interview, Ringman discusses how global outsourcing trends impact individual call centers.
Social customer service is rapidly becoming the new, critical channel to drive satisfaction and loyalty. Our colleagues from TELUS International call this activity “social care” and it’s defined as the efforts employees make through social media to care for customers. In this post we offer you some of the social care best practices of Apple, HP and Best Buy.
Net Promoter Score (NPS), a customer loyalty metric developed in 2003 by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix, is going to save the world. At least that’s how some view it. Ever since its inception, NPS has become the darling of executive management teams all over, and, as such, many organizations now use NPS as their primary Customer Satisfaction (C-Sat) measurement tool.
Last month, TELUS International President Jeffrey Puritt sat down with Economy.bg Magazine to discuss the company’s expansion into Eastern Europe. Jeff also shared his thoughts on the future of outsourcing, and its impact on countries like Bulgaria and Romania.
(English) A common trend among organizations nowadays is working with a number of service providers in order to address their contact center requirements. The main reasons in support of this practice are the access to scale and capabilities including languages and geographic market access, competitive tension, flexibility, and risk management.
It’s difficult to deliver exceptional customer experiences when the person doing the delivering is dying inside and dreaming of an escape.
When it comes to managing staffing levels, there are some things you know (like holidays and back to school volume spikes) and some things you just don’t. For the former, solid workforce management practices with clear goals can keep things on track.
Over the years, workforce management has become very sophisticated. As a result, today’s RFPs often require providers to detail their workforce management processes and how call volume changes are handled.
Let’s face it. Attrition is a big issue for call centers – and perhaps even more so for outsourced call center providers.
(English) The world is changing faster than ever before as the population has been growing exponentially and the impact of our actions is felt not only stronger, but also in more and various ways. Populations’ footprint and irreversible impact has various implications for businesses in terms of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies as businesses possess not only the human, but also financial capital to be at the forefront of initiating and delivering socially responsible activities.
As the link between contact center attrition rates and the effectiveness of contact center outsourcing services is gradually becoming stronger contact center outsourcing (CCO) have evolved their thinking on contact center operations.
There are many factors to consider when selecting a country and city for your contact center operations. We have identified characteristics that fit into four groups; each group is important to evaluate when selecting your outsourcing partner and location to do business.
Social customer service is rapidly becoming the new, critical channel to drive satisfaction and loyalty. Almost all organizations, however, struggle with measuring the impact of social customer service on important business metrics. In this post we will point your attention to a framework of 8 metrics measuring the effectiveness of your social care program.
Attrition rates continue to be a key operational metric for contact centers. As the CCO (contact center outsourcing) market continues to evolve, the set of factors driving attrition continues to change as well.
Building strategic customer relationships in the BPO industry, particularly with fast-growing clients, requires having lots of tools in your toolkit.
According to recent article in Forbes, corporate social responsibility continues to emerge as a core cultural ethos where 94 percent of consumers want companies to evolve their business practices to make as positive an impact as possible. Corporate social responsibility initiatives are used by companies for the purpose of increasing employee engagement, motivation and employee satisfaction.
(English) Multilingualism is the ability of a community of speakers to use multiple languages. In Romania, multilingualism is one of the assets that attract large foreign investments, particularly for the call center and BPO industries. The contact center industry in Romania has been growing rapidly over the past 10 years – as of 2013, it employs over 30,000 people.
The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry was born out of a desire to cut operating costs. However, the industry is changing considerably. Today, progressive BPOs are focused on creating an exceptional customer experience while delivering top-line value to their clients in a way that also addresses social inequities in the countries where they operate.
Getting precise measurements on First Call Resolution (FCR) is about as easy as getting work-at-home agents to shower on a daily basis. The good news is that neither is essential for optimum contact center performance and customer experiences.
Customer service organizations are being pushed into social care by savvy customers who are already asking questions on social networks and expecting responses. Almost all organizations, however, struggle with measuring the impact of social customer service on important business metrics.
Are brands not taking social media customer care seriously? Are they consciously choosing not to respond on social channels? Have they invested in the wrong listening tools? Or are they simply overwhelmed with the volume of feedback?
(English) In today’s global business environment where customer diversity and global operations are increasingly common, call centers need to offer some level of multilingual support to remain competitive. Multilingual support allows call centers to continue servicing their existing client base while also going after new business opportunities and generating additional revenue.
“Social care” is defined as the efforts employees make through social media to care for customers. Social customer service is rapidly becoming the new, critical channel to drive satisfaction and loyalty.
In our previous article on the topic 5 step plan to creating strategic outsourcing partnerships we touched upon the first 3 of the 5 steps in the strategy. To remind you these steps were: 1. Introspect 2. Establish open communication 3. Realign priorities to reset relationship Now let’s continue with the remaining 2 steps of the strategic plan that would help you realize greater value from your current outsourcing partnership.
Outlined below are five remedial steps we recommend to customers as they identify the symptoms we’ve covered in our articles 8 Signs your Outsourcing Partnership is in Trouble Part 1 and Part 2 in their contact center relationship. These steps are not only designed to assist buyers in realizing value from their current operations, but may also help in situations of complete breakdown of a relationship.
TELUS International Europe will be participating at the annual Gamescom event, the world’s biggest trade fair for interactive games and entertainment. The fair will take place from August 21st to 25th, 2013 in Cologne, Germany.
Forward-thinking gaming studios realize that providing exceptional customer interactions, alongside popular games, can directly impact the bottom line. Download our insight paper to learn best practices for customer support for gamers from BPO companies and their industry leading US based gaming clients.
In our last post we’ve reviewed the first 4 signs indicating that your BPO partnership is performing at a suboptimal level. To remind you the first four indicators were: 1. Decreasing end-customer satisfaction 2. Increasing agent attrition/staff rotation 3. Measuring success exclusively through savings and efficiency 4. Lack of proactive intent to grow the relationship
In this joint presentation, global technology company Google alongside our colleagues from TELUS International, discuss the role of culture in rallying agents and transforming customer service including: • how to create a culture with meaning • the importance of finding and selecting the right partners to bring your culture to life and more
With this article we are starting a series of posts on the topic of strategic outsourcing and managing outsourcing partnership. The starting point of our discussion will be the major indicators that you need to track and keep an eye on in order monitor the “good health” of your outsourcing partnership. Let’s start with the examination of the first 4 signs indicating that your outsourcing partnership is in trouble, or at least that it is performing at a suboptimal level.
To give you the big picture on the topic of customer support in the interactive entertainment industry we want to point your attention to a whitepaper giving deep and thorough information on the topic. The whitepaper provides deep examination of how a well-structured customer service plan can directly impact the bottom line as well as best practices to consider along the way.
In the past few posts on customer support in the gaming industry we explained the potential of implementing customer support for gamers and the best practices for implementing it. In this article we’ll focus on the how to measure customer satisfaction after you’ve implemented customer support for players. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an extremely powerful tool for assessing whether a studio’s brand commitment to its customers is being recognized and fulfilled.
Predicted to grow to $82 billion by 2017, the global gaming market is forecasted to become more and more competitive. A crucial question arises here. How can studios stand out from the crowd in the highly competitive gaming industry? For sure the current de-personalized, homogenous consumer support experience for players should be reconsidered by studios.
Customer support is critical to customer loyalty and financial performance. Yet, many companies have neglected to update business processes to unleash the customer service potential of the new frontline workforce – Generation Y, also called “Millennials.”
The gaming industry is undergoing dramatic change as customer service becomes another battlefield for winning over players. By implementing customer support for gamers you’ll maximize player lifetime value, improving the player experience, resulting in player retention and ultimately, player recommendations. Follow those guiding principles to enhance your own game plan for customer support and level up your business in the gaming industry.
(English) As Generation Y customers, those born between 1980 and 2000, are heading towards their peak earning years, controlling and influencing a lot of spending it is crucial to factor them in your customer service equation. We offer you 5 simple best practices to follow in your customer service to the Gen Y customers in order to make them your loyal customers and enlarge your customer pool.
Customer experience innovation is now a game changer in the rapidly growing e-commerce industry. The 3 big trends underway – generation Y, chat and social media, and corporate culture – will largely impact the e-commerce customer service in the coming years.
Companies are no longer questioning “why” or “what” they should outsource, but “where.” They are aiming at destinations where they can take advantage of outsourcing while at the same time minimize the inherent business risks of such initiatives. This infographic gives detailed overview of Bulgaria's capabilities and experience as outsourcing destination.
At one of the most influential industry events, the Call Center Week held in Las Vegas, June 10-14, our colleagues from TELUS International made a joint presentation with our client Google. In front of an audience of approximately 600 people, Jeffrey Puritt, President of TELUS International, and Peter “Scotch” Scocimara, Director of Enterprise Support for Google Apps, showcased why cultural alignment matters in both customer service delivery and selecting customer service partners.
If you are chat agent or a manager who is about to train his/her agents on best practices in chat customer support you might want to look at this cheat sheet. It focuses on communications style, in particular the 10 grammar rules agents should follow to communicate effectively in the online chat channel.
The choice of outsourcing destination is not only a starting point, but also crucial moment in the decision making process of choosing your BPO partner. As this decision will affect the long-term success of your outsourcing partnership we want to point your attention to 7 non-price factors that we advise you to consider in your decision. Why non-price factors?
What do ninjas, pigs, titans, batman and a soiree have in common? Nothing? Think CallPoint style. What unite them are the members of CallPoint powered by TELUS who epitomized the spirit of those creatures at the annual admin teambuilding of the company. The event took place in the old town of Tryavna, situated in the north slopes of the Balkan range in central Bulgaria. All admin CallPointers from Sofia, Plovdiv, Bucharest and Craiova gathered together on June 21 in the town of Tryavna for the annual administration teambuilding, where their teamwork, intellect, creativity and initiative were tested.
(English) Corporate culture is currently more and more viewed as a crucial factor for employee’s performance, satisfaction and turnover, thus affecting the quality of customer experience. In regard to the importance of corporate culture we want to point your attention to an article written by Carolyn Crews, senior vice-president at our partners TELUS International. The article was originally published on customer Think blog and gives insights and best practices on the “right” corporate culture.
In a multichannel environment the digital space is one of the most preferred contact channels for customers as they are increasingly techno-dependent and internet savvy. Therefore, customer service call centers are rapidly implementing live chat as additional method of customer interaction as it has a significant impact on operating cost, employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
Our sustainable partnership with the Romanian Red Cross continued with a donation of 6 tables, 12 chairs and a foosball with the purpose of supporting the logistics of the Red Cross. As only volunteers help the NGO, the Romanian Red Cross was very happy to receive this donation made on June 4.
Last week the president of TELUS International, Jeffrey Puritt, awarded the best agents at CallPoint with special diplomas for outstanding performance. Mr. Puritt visited both Sofia and Bucharest to personally congratulate the agents for the excellent results achieved by delivering exceptional service to our clients.
Do you know that we spend on average 1700 hours per year at the office? Our working days although very dynamic and spend among friends are quite mundane sometimes. We at TELUS International Europe are aware of that. Therefore, we decided to make our days at the office more exciting and fun by rebranding the relax areas in all the cities where we operate.
CallPoint’s partner TELUS International together with Google will be participating in the Call Center Week event held in Las Vegas from June 10 to June 14.
The core component of CallPoint’s corporate culture are its CSR activities which bring employees together to support social and environmental causes. Our latest CSR activity is called Waste Office Week 2013 and it takes place from May 27 to June 1 in our offices in Bulgaria.