The drive to enable Flexi-work and Tele-commuting Workplace in Jamaica as chronicled in my article Jamaica’s 100MBps Internet Silver Lining – Tele-commuting Workplace is coming is getting a serious boost from Call Centers. The employers who work in this clandestine Sector of Jamaica driven by Flexi-work will tell you that this is the norm: hours scheduled by Workforce and Pay determined either by the number of Inbound calls you resolve on first contact or sales you make on outbound calls.
I currently work at such a Call Center, ACCENT Marketing Limited as a TES (Technical Engagement Specialists). Due to contractual obligations (about 18+ document I signed in total!) to be on the Sharp Account for Sharp corporation of Japan and the super cool Police-esque title, I am not at liberty to discuss what I do. All I can say is that Sharp Corporation Limited is the maker of certain “technologies” behind the coming launch of the Apple Television set rumoured for a First or Second Quarter of 2013AD Debut as hinted in article Web-enabled Television Sets Sales Rise – The Apple Television cometh. So an article on that is definitely coming as Sharp Corp of Japan is poised for great things.
JAMPRO’s Jamaica Investment Forum
What I can say is that their world [Call Centers] is expanding rapidly. Ever since the JAMPRO (Jamaica Promotions Corporation) sponsored Jamaica Investment Forum dubbed “Invest in Jamaica: Invest in a Global Brand” was held earlier in the year on Thursday March 1st 2012AD and on Friday March 2nd 2012AD at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, Call Centers have been on a tear to set up in Jamaica.
“Quick, Quick, Quick, Quick, Quick” as we Vybz Kartel crazed Jamaicans would say or “Andele andele” and the Mexicans would say!
At hundred (400) delegates from nearly sixteen (16), the Jamaica Investment Forum was definitely oversubscribed, as the following countries made even FDI (Foreign Direct Investor)-phoebe GOJ Ministers make a cameo appearance. The countries that showed up to invest directly in Jamaica were as follows:
- Russia and China
- Grand Cayman
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Canada and the UK
Ohio-based company Convergys and US-based Aegis Communications Ltd are coming to Jamaica to set up Call Centers. Convergys in particular has been interested as far back as November 2011AD . Further reports in both the Jamaica Observer in December 2011AD revealed definitively that they were the ones taking an interest in having a presence in the Montego Bay Freezone Area that was at the time controlled by JDI (Jamaica Digiport International).
Convergys would definitely be welcome as they have an impressive resume:
- Fortune 500 Clients such as T-Mobile, Telefonica of Spain, Macy and Cisco
- Operations in 70 countries with 85 Call Centers Worldwide
- A trend towards building their own Call centers instead of renting buildings
- Higher levels of Remunerations for higher skilled CSA’s and TES (Technical Engagement Specialists) in the region of JA$400 per hour and upwards
Even more interesting is the fact that Convergys plans to build its own Call Center Facility in the now Liberalized Montego Bay Freezone Area. This was made known by JAMPRO President Sancia Templer at the Jamaica Investment Forum, quote: “They will start construction this year and have decided that they want to have a strong presence here, developing their own ICT Centre. When you put brick and mortar in a country it means you are in that country for the long haul”.
Convergys has an eye on are employing at least one thousand (1000) CSA (Call Center Agents) for various Inbound and Outbound Accounts and expanding that amount to about three (3000) CSA’s.
The ACS-Xerox Effect: Amazon Kindle Fire Renaissance
This going to be a big boost to the Call Center Industry as since 2009AD the ICT Sector, which currently employs some eleven thousand five hundred (11,500) people has been seeing something of a renaissance.
That was the year that printer maker Xerox in purchased ACS (Affiliated Computer Services) Ltd assets globally including Jamaican operations for US$6.4 billion in cash and stock in September 2009AD. The Jamaican chapter of ACS Jamaica Limited, more popularly known as E-Services Jamaica Limited with locations in Naggo Head Portmore, Montego Bay Freezone in Montego Bay, St. James and Newport West, previously owned by Patrick Casserly and Partners, was sold to ACS for US$85 million a few years prior.
I know all this as I worked on the Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk Accounts from November 2011AD to February 2012AD. This was during the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire in December 2011AD of that year as chronicled in Amazon lights a Kindle Fire as a Gladiator worthy of the Apple iPad.
The Amazon Findle Fire demonstrated to all that the E-Readers can not only hold their own but that there is a strong market for 7” tablets once the price is right as noted in Kindle Fire vs Nook Color & Apple iPad 2 – Despite the Specs the Price is Still Right and Amazon Kindle Fire vs the Apple iPad – The Stats Wars worth Reading About.
So much so that Apple may have to consider making a 7” e-Reader Tablet for the lower end of the Tablet market. This market is powered mostly by female readers of Glossy magazines, an as-yet-to-be-tapped gadget market even Apple has not been highly successful as noted in Apple needs to consider a 7” Tablet as the million-selling Amazon Kindle Fire is Razor Sharp and Amazon sells 5.5 million Kindle Fires in Fourth Quarter 2012 – Apple iPad sales drop and plans January Press Event.
With the looming possibility of a revamped Amazon Kindle 2 making its debut this Summer of 2012AD and a chip-off-the-ole-block smartphone based on the Kindle Fire possibly coming in the Fall of 2012AD, business is definately set to ramp up for the CSA’s working at ACS-Xerox in Jamaica.
Why invest in Call Centers in Jamaica
This oddball success in Jamaica must have caught the eye of Cincinnati, Ohio-based Convergys who have now decided it’s worth the risk to permanently invest in Jamaica as the reasons that drove Xerox to invest in Call Centers in Jamaica are quite compelling:
- Call Center Business diversifies Xerox from printing, now dominated by Hewlett-Packard and facing certain extinction due to the Apple iPad et al
- Jamaica speaks English as our First Language
- We have excellent Fiber Optic Connectivity to the US and South America, making Jamaica the perfect place to Host Call Centers
- Cheap, plentiful highly educated Labour willing and ready to work
- Non-discriminatory workplaces
- People with various skill and education levels
- The coming of Energy Sector Liberalization and large power company investors such as Canadian Solarmon Energy Corp as per my analysis in Solamon Energy Corporation to build Caribbean’s Largest Solar Plant – Jamaica to get a Green Energy Boost and American-Based Green RG as noted in Green RG in Jamaica to make Solar Power Gearheralding cheaper electricity; the candle to attract the moths [ICT Sector, Call Centers] whose operations are power-intensive
One thing is definately certain: Jamaica is now experiencing a Call Center Age of Empire that should boost the GOJ’s Adoption of Flexi-Work and Tele-Working with increasingly attractive salaries sure to attract good talent to leave their current jobs at ACCENT Marketing and other Call Centers to work for these new invaders in the ICT Sector.