With the U.S. economy slowly recovering, the President laid out his agenda to sparking job creation and incentivizing businesses to hire in this State of the Union Address. One of the ideas the President has recently spoken about is encouraging companies to hire domestically rather than send jobs overseas.
One of those companies heading the call for such job expansion is Iowa-based business process outsourcing (BPO) service company Caleris. Founder Rick Grewell explained how his cornhusker company is growing and fielding calls from around the world.
LL: We have been hearing a lot about the insourcing of jobs. You started your company with just 25 employees. How many employees do you have now as more companies are scaling down their workforce but still need that customer support?
SO: We now have 300 employees. That's organic growth. No acquisitions, We have a very small sales force and we are growing more out of word of mouth than a sales campaign.
We approximately serve 70 companies. We specialize in technology companies, broadband products and providers and high end consumer electronics. High end software products between 80 percent of our business?
LL: How do you stay competitive with India?
SO: That’s kind the meat of it. It’s mainly labor arbitrage. While India may offer 70% savings and we offer 50% savings, the quality of the call is what wins over the customer. For example, the length of our call is 50% shorter and that 50% negates the price the savings India. First call resolution is higher as well. Based on this, our customer satisfaction is in the low 90's while in India, the satisfaction rate is in the 50% range. That’s based on public surveys we have reviewed.
LL: Given the global economic landscape, is that providing an opportunity for your company to entice other countries to outsource to us?
SO: We support several Japanese and European suppliers. Between 8-10 companies overseas.
LL: You provide services for call centers, social media monitoring and back office support. What is growing the fastest?
SO: We’re best known for the call centers for tech support. But an area that is growing is social media monitoring. Someone needs to look at the social media uploads, images, words that are going up online.
Software can only do so much. You need a human being to monitor as well. Software can eliminate some things when when it comes to photp image uploads. Software flags the image but it can’t replace a real human being.
LL: Social Media is still new, what are the emerging trends and what advice can you offer businesses in protecting their online branding and presence?
SO: Don’t assume all the uploads are legitimate. You need to monitor user generated images. Photo sharing sites are a great example. Ad agencies who have contests have to keep a close eye on the data and imagines on their sites. User generated content needs to be monitored because you can’t assume everything posted on there is on the up and up. It may be a small percentage that’s not, but you don't want to have images on your site that will upset visitors or advertisers.
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A Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and author of "Thriving in the New Economy:Lessons from Today's Top Business Minds."