Just over a year ago CSS Corp., a global tech support business,initiated operations in Latin America by opening its first Delivery Center in Costa Rica. Since then the Delivery Center’s Manager, Adolfo Bonilla, has focused on expansion; hoping to make it one of the most profitable and productive service centers in Latin America.
This center has 80 employees offering level 0, 1 and 1.5 technical support, with plans to increase this number in the near future to 130, Bonilla explains.
“We are continually expanding operations in Costa Rica and we are looking to extend into other countries within the region where we see potential for growth,” stated Bonilla in his interview with Nearshore Americas.
As Manager of the Delivery Center,Bonillaworks closely with local promotional organizations to advance business development within the region.For example, they are currently working with the Costa Rican Development Initiative Corporation (CINDE), looking for ways to attract direct investors to the country. “This organization has shown us great support and we make sure we join potential clients in attending all its forums,” he states.
The Costa Rica Delivery Center offers customer support services to clients from businesses located in Europe, Asia and the United States but operating in Latin America. Technical support is offered in four languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese and French. According to Bonilla, they started by working with the already established client base with hopes that this would lead to attracting Latin American businesses to Costa Rica.
“We are entering these markets for the first time; they are unexplored territory for CSS Corp,” says Bonilla. He explains that approaching potential clients has been a gradual, carefully planned process as, “it is not just a matter of simply generating new business; it involves fully understanding these new clients, getting to know their weak spots, or areas in which they could benefit from support, so as to be able to come up with the best possible proposal.”
Basing CSS Corp operations in Costa Rica has opened up possibilities for expansion into several Latin American countries, Bonilla explains. They are currently looking to expand into Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. They are even looking to Miami as many noteworthy businesses operating in Latin America base their corporate offices there.
At the moment CSS Corp does not have any plans to open additional support centers or offices in Latin America, although, according to Adolfo Bonilla, they may have to establish some legal entities. “In Brazil, for example, it is impossible to operate without setting up a legal entity. To be able to offer clients the best possible prices you have to keep a close eye on costs. Opening new offices always incurs costs so we will look to managing operations from Costa Rica whenever possible,” he states.
According to Bonilla, in the future they hope to offer a much more complex range of support services from Costa Rica itself, as the proficiency of the human resources currently available in the country is excellent. At the moment, support consists primarily of consumer technical support. “The talent currently available in the country is sufficient to allow us to offer the highest levels of technical support,” he says.Bonilla adds that improving complexity of the support on offer makes sense as it adds value and results in a much more sustainable business.
Company’s Reputation at Stake
According to Tiger Ramesh, the current CEO at CSS Corps, user support plays a fundamental role within any company, whether it be an airline, a hotel chain, a cell phone business or a bank, and the faster and more effectively you respond to a request for support the more highly your company is valued.
Bonilla states that the businesses that fully grasp the importance of this concept are the ones that will do well in the market. Understanding that good support reflects well on a company is a concept that, although not fully understood by all, is finally becoming recognized, he says: “It is clear that leading businesses such as American Express and Amazon have raised expectations when it comes to the quality of customer service.”
When it comes to Latin American organizations, Bonilla claims that these too are evolving: “I believe that the world is much smaller than before and people are more clued in; so expectations are no longer regional but global.”In fact, customers from Latin American countries expect to receive the same level of support they would from businesses based in the States or Europe. “Our job is to help our clients understand this so that they can become more competitive,” he states.
In 2011 a regional integration initiative known as the Pacific Alliance was set up, involving countries such as Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. This Alliance aims to promote open circulation of goods, services, capital and personnel, boosting growth and economic development and creating a political and commercial platform with emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.
Bonilla believes that a similar model could be used within the technology industry to strengthen collaboration between LatinAmerican countries, helping to transcend the borders and barriers established over a hundred years ago. For this to be possible, he says, there needs to be the freedom to move resources from one country to another.
“If, in Costa Rica, I need talent that can be found in Chile, I would like to be able to bring it with me. The same can be said if I’m in Mexico and need talent from Colombia. There needs to be mobility, not just of capital, but of people, knowledge and technology, so that we can develop together,” he states.
Another significant advantage of working from Latin America is the availability of human resources with a good command of Spanish, English, Portuguese and French. Finally, Bonilla highlights the role played by local governments in aiding the development of technology businesses. “We can’t do it on our own; governments need to speed up the implementation of procedures to improve collaboration between our countries,” he concludes.