Caribbean’s tourism hospitality, an enabler of BPO growth - Epstein
Yoni Epstein, Founder and Executive Chairman of itelbpo.
Yoni Epstein, Founder and Executive Chairman of itelbpo, believes that the Caribbean’s long history of tourism and hospitality has created a culture of service that fuels growth and success in the business process and outsourcing (BPO) sector, which relies heavily on the ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences to global brands.
Speaking on the second episode of ‘Happy Hour Chat with Yoni’, itelbpo’s monthly webinar series, Epstein revealed that an advantage upon launching the company filtered through its deliberate recruitment of talent with experience from the local tourism industry to build his first group of customer service agents.
“They already have a step-up on the game of customer experience. The hospitality industry has been prevalent in Jamaica for the last 50-60 years and from that they have learned how to deliver a very high level of service, which transitions well into the contact centre industry,” explained Epstein, in response to moderator Melissa O’Brien, Research Vice President, Customer Engagement, Retail and Travel Strategies at HFS Research, one of the most influential analyst firms in the world.
There are other reasons why Jamaica is especially attractive for the BPO sector. It offers great climate, a conducive business environment, reliable infrastructure and extensive air travel routes.
As it relates to competition, this is important in the wider context of the Caribbean, which continues to attract a high level of interest in the BPO sector due to an inviting culture and high-touch customer service approach, nurtured by businesses directly and indirectly associated with the tourism industry.
Ultimately, all of that comes with accessing a skilled labour force. Epstein expressed that good rapport with customers is one of the most important attributes of a good agent, noting that it plays an important role in the contact centre’s overall success and helps to eliminate what is called ‘dead air’ - breaks in conversation that end up in silence.
An agent’s ability to mitigate these occurrences is key and this unique trait is one that tourist industry workers seem to have already mastered.
“In the tourism industry you’re at the bars, you’re on the beach, you’re trying to ensure people are having a great time. You’re much more open to starting a conversation and building that rapport with the customer, which really transcends through to the end-user having a great experience,” he said.
Providing a tourism-minded service approach is an even greater asset when servicing travel and hospitality clients, which accounts for approximately 25 percent of itelbpo’s business.
“We cater to the needs of both large and small businesses within the tourism industry. We are one of several vendors for Hilton hotels and take reservation calls, as well as customer care calls. Itelbpo also supports small independent properties where all their calls are registered into a central reservation system, which allows our agents to assist their customers in the same way a big brand would,” stated Epstein.
Itelbpo continues to provide innovative technological and outsourcing solutions to customers across all industries. The company that started in 2012 with only seven employees now boasts 2,000 employees with operations in Kingston, Montego Bay, Bahamas, Mexico and a work-at-home staff spread across the United States.
The next in itelbpo’s monthly webinar series, ‘Happy Hour Chat with Yoni’, is slated for December 6, 2018.