Customer experience BPO Konecta is making moves. The company recently announced a merger with fellow European contact center operator Comdata. Finance Colombia Executive Editor Loren Moss spoke briefly with Konecta’s CEO for The Americas, Mariano Castaños at Bpro’s 20th Customer Experience Summit in Cartagena, Colombia for details on the deal.
Finance Colombia: So who did Konecta acquire?
Mariano Castaños: Comdata. It’s a business that has more of a European footprint. lt’s the leading company in Italy, also France, and has a very good footprint coverage in England, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic, Madagascar, and Morocco. So it has a very good European footprint, and also North Africa.
Finance Colombia: That’s very interesting because Konecta is a major BPO here in America, Comdata has a huge footprint in Europe. Congratulations in this big agreement you’ve made, so tell me a little bit of the reason for the merger.
Mariano Castaños: Well, the BPO industry is evolving a lot, the consumers are evolving, they’re changing. They demand different things, and technology is accelerating all this evolution process, and the demands of customers, our customers, the companies that take care of the consumers, are also changing and evolving. What we were looking with this merger was to strengthen our offer in terms of footprint and languages. We’re a mainly a European company that is focused on Spain, with a small expansion to Portgual, and very strong in Latin America, so we had a large amount of global customers, but we didn’t have a full offer to take care of their needs in a global and consistent way. This merger was born from that, by adding Comdata’s European footprint, with Konecta’s strength in Spain and Latin America.
Comdata is also in Latin America, they have a very good presence and a very good customer base in Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, but we are substantially larger and better positioned. The result of this is a stronger footprint, more languages, more countries, and a complemented value offer. Comdata was really good in developing value solutions and Konecta as well, and now we are taking the best of both companies to deliver a better value offer to the customers.
Finance Colombia: How many BPO employees do you have in your call centers?
Mariano Castaños: Now at Konecta we have 70,000 employees and with the merger, we will end up above 100,000 employees.
Finance Colombia: It’s going to be one of the world leaders.
Mariano Castaños: We will become the fifth worldwide.
Finance Colombia: Wow.
Mariano Castaños: Integrated, we will be the world’s 5th BPO, and our bet doesn’t end here, we’re making an aggressive bet in the United States, we disembark organically already, and now we’re looking for customers there and we’re looking to do acquisitions in the US to expand our value offer, to become more solid and consistent in the United States. Also, we’ve also been aggressive in Brazil where we have a large customer base, but we want to go further.
Finance Colombia: Excellent. We’re here at the Customer Experience Summit in Cartagena. Before, the event was in Bogota. Tell me why do you always maintain a presence here? What’s the importance of this event and Bpro as an industry association for what you do?
Mariano Castaños: Well, that’s a very good question. Bpro is the strongest association for BPOs in Latin America, I think on the world level, the association here works fantastically. This event they organized, and believe me, I participate in a lot of events and fairs in the US, in Europe, and in Latin America, and just a few times I saw one with the dynamic of this event, and particularly this year.
This is the place for competitors, where we shared practices, and vision, with the purpose of providing a better service to our customers, businesses, and clients. The best clients, the best companies of Colombia and Latin America are here, business advisors trying to learn about this and understand something as simple as how to deliver a better experience to the customers. And also there are the technology providers, who are providing their own vision, so a powerful ecosystem has been created here regarding networking, work, about building vision. I am very pleased with this event, and I am very thankful and congratulate the association and everyone that is participating here.
After two days of working together I think we all have a clear vision of how to improve the experience of the consumers and how to improve the experience of our workers, I think the event is very positive for all of us.