A few days ago, Atención Telefonica – mexican call center provider with over 4000 employees and with clients like Telcel, Banamex, HSBC and many others – announced the expansion of its operations into the United States, through their division AtelUSA. In Portada we interviewed the CEO of their US division: Eduardo Rovira Martinez del Campo. Here is and edited version of the interview:
PORTADA: How are you establishing your presence in USA? Where are you opening your offices?
ER: Atencion Telefonica is a Mexican company that’s been operating for 16 years with six contact center facilities and over 4,000 employees dedicated entirely to Spanish-language call center services. We provide in and out bound call center services for customers such as Telcel, Citi Banamex, HSBC, Megacable, Zurich and Ford Credit Mexico. Atencion Telefonica established an American company called America Contact LLC, doing business as AtelUSA to sell our Spanish-language call center services to U.S. companies from our U.S. headquarters in San Diego, California.
PORTADA: Are you opening contact centers there or are you keeping them all in Mexico?
ER: For our current stage of the project, we are not going to open any Call Center operations in the U.S., we are keeping all of them in Mexico. However, we are considering opening a U.S. call center operations in 2 or 3 more years.
PORTADA: How much of your workforce are you reserving for this expansion?
ER: I have moved from Guadalajara with my family and one key executive from Mexico City has moved too. We always have thought that there is no one better to sell our services and our country than ourselves. However, we understand that doing business in another country out of Mexico needs local support, so we have hired 3 bilingual American citizens to achieve this. Atencion Telefonica currently has approximately 350 workstations working for our corporate clients, primarily in Durango, Toluca and Guadalajara.
PORTADA: How does AtelUSA differentiates from other similar companies targeting US Hispanics?
ER: We have 16 years of experience in the call center industry, serving the top Mexican and Multinational companies; making us one of the most reliable and well performed outsourcers in Mexico. (We have served the largest mobile carrier in Mexico for the last 16 years, handle 40% of their call center calls nationwide.) One of our biggest challenges is to duplicate our brand’s reputation from Mexico into the U.S.
PORTADA: Which are the main differences that you perceive between US Hispanics and Mexican market and how is AtelUSA going to deal with them?
ER: The main difference between this two cultures is the way U.S. Hispanic talk “Spanglish” and it has not been a problem to communicate to them. 67% of U.S. Hispanics are of Mexican descent. Mexicans have always tried to maintain culture and language. Although a portion of U.S. Hispanics are not of Mexican heritage, the Mexican accent is the most accepted Spanish dialect.
PORTADA: What is the potential of this US Hispanics market for AtelUSA? What are your projections for the next few years in the region?
ER : 50.5 millions of Hispanics live in the U.S. They are the first minority ethnic group and the fastest growing. By 2015, Hispanic purchasing power will be approximately $1.3 trillion dollars, so the potential is huge and the sky is the limit. We are not intimidated by the existence of more LATAM companies reaching U.S. Hispanics. It is a great opportunity for all of us to be here. Our projections are to achieve 200 works stations working for American Companies by 2013 and by 2015 building our first Call Center in the US.
PORTADA: From the pan regional companies you've worked with in Mexico (like Telcel), with which of them are you going to work with in the US? Are you expanding to USA also because of the international needs of this global companies?
ER: Actually, we are not including any of our current clients in Mexico. We are in the U.S. to acquire new business from the States.
PORTADA: On the same note of last question, starting operations in USA puts you in a strategic position to do pan regional campaigns, with many of Latin-American pan regional brands managing their global marketing from USA too, What is your perspective on pan regional efforts? and Is this going to be an objective for AtelUSA or are you only going to focus on US Hispanics market?
ER: Definitely pan-regional clients could give us a huge opportunity to build operations on both sides of the border and this could come from Mexican or American companies. We are wide open; we always are! However, for now we are going to focus on the growing U.S. Hispanic market.
Eduardo Rovira Martínez del Campo is the CEO of AtelUSA, a division of Atención Telefónica, a premiere call center with 6 contact center facilities and over 4000 employees.