ON CALL

Dominican Republic 2015 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rudy A. Ganna, President & CEO of LAURUS INTERNATIONAL, on customized solutions for clients, leading edge call center technology, and the key to attracting and retaining the best staff.

Rudy A. Ganna
BIOGRAPHY
Rudy A. Ganna received his degree in Electro-Chemistry and Biology in Switzerland in 1985. In 2003, he established Pyhex Ventures with the main objective of incubating new technological ideas to assist in the economic and development of nations. At Pyhex he develops strategic solutions for governments and private companies in the fields of health, migration, taxes, fraud control, contact centers, education, and virtualization. Under Pyhex, Ganna successfully launched Laurus International, which was the first of three call centers in the Zona Franca Special Economic Zone.

What technologies has Laurus introduced to increase its agents productivity and customer satisfaction?

When we acquire a new client, we do not initially focus on productivity or quality initiatives. Every client and program is unique, and we need to understand the program. Hence, we normally contractually agree that we own the program for the first 90, days during which time we develop an understanding for the company, its customers and the program. Once we gain insights into the program and identify areas of opportunity, either in efficiency or quality, we apply our strengths in customer care and technical support experience to develop solutions. We have highly experienced development and IT teams that have designed and developed automation solutions that eliminate handling time in the majority of cases, and operate an internal process to monitor quality. In our experience, US clients want quality first and efficiency a close second. We have developed software, and hardware with special keyboards, that allow quicker access to key systems and information for our agents. Beyond technology and innovation, we also invest heavily in our employees through our recruiting and retention initiatives. We have the lowest rate of attrition for both English and Spanish-speaking agents.

What is the average profile of your workers?

Around 58% of our workers are female, which is not common in the Dominican Republic as most call centers in general, employ primarily men. We want to change this, and we believe that by having more women in our centers, we can encourage strong work ethics, respect, productivity, and challenge the current culture that dominates in many industries. Laurus International offers equal work and career opportunities for everybody. Another interesting consideration is the number of students who join us straight from universities. Approximately 30% of our employees are students. Many of these workers join and remain with us because they discover call centers offer excellent careers and financial opportunities unmatched in other industries with similar experience. It is difficult to find a job in the Dominican Republic that pays Ps30,000 or more. In the summer, with overtime, people were making up to Ps90,000 a month, which is uncommon. However, it is not just about money. Laurus is an enjoyable place to work with excellent benefits and advancement opportunities.

What differentiates Laurus International from other call centers?

There are several elements that set us apart from other companies. The largest loss in a call center is the attrition. In every call center worldwide you will find the same thing; a huge building full of people, but just a couple of people in HR. We took a different route, and rented space initially from multiple call centers to compare working models. Then, we built our call centers in a different way. We saw a need in the areas of recruiting, managing, retaining, and rewarding employees. Ultimately, the industry's primary asset is its human capital. We set up Working Bees, our HR department, as an integrated but separate division focused solely on recruitment, retention, and employee development. It is housed in a separate building and maintains responsibility for all recruiting and retention of our employees. We have a 90-day guarantee period for every new recruit, meaning if they are fired before this time, the HR department gets a reduced bonus. Our dedication and focus on constant improvement makes us the most respected and best performing call center in the region. We also offer the best healthcare plan available, and have three fully bilingual doctors on rotation from 6:00 am to 5.30 pm seven days a week. We have our own pharmacy, so not only is there a doctor free of charge, but we also have the medicines available immediately. Another area we are exploring is food. Our goal is to give free food to employees during work time. At the moment, we provide half of their meals.