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GTT and shareholder, ATN International, launch call centre in Guyana with focus on at-home operations

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 May 2022, 21:54 by Denis Chabrol

Shem Erskine – Newly appointed General Manager for Arrowhead Communications Inc

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) company on Wednesday announced that it has joined with its United States-based shareholder, ATN International, to launch a call centre in Guyana that would serve the telecoms company and clients worldwide through a mix that would include decentralised at-home operations.

GTT said its 214-member  Customer Care team that was hired and trained over the past year would be hired by the new company, Arrowhead Communications Inc. in time for the commencement of operations  from June 12, 2022. “We are excited to introduce our new Customer Success business, Arrowhead as a premier supplier of customer success services and products to consumer and business to business service providers worldwide. Arrowhead will create more jobs in Guyana, supported by GTT’s flagship Fibre service to facilitate working from home and decentralise access to employment,”  Chris Daly, ATN International’s VP Sales and Marketing and Chairman of Arrowhead’s new Board of Directors was quoted as saying in a GTT statement.  The telecommunications provider said  GTT’s Customer Care team already serves the needs of GTT and other subsidiaries of ATN International in United States Bermuda,  and United States Virgin Islands.  Additionally, Arrowhead will also expand its provision of call centre services to Viya, ATN’s subsidiary in the US Virgin Islands, GTT added.

Guyanese, Shem Erskine, has been appointed General Manager of Arrowhead Communications Inc.

GTT said the ongoing rollout of it fibre plan, including to new areas  in Regions 3 (West Demerara-Essequibo Islands) , 4 (Demerara-Mahaica) , 6 (East Berbice-Corentyne) and 10 (Upper Demerara- Upper Berbice) enable the growth of more Arrowhead Customer Excellence roles and opportunities. The new company, according to GTT, would initially target creation of 100 work-from-home jobs in Regions 3 (West Demerara-Essequibo Islands) and Region 6 (East Berbice-Corentyne “so that Guyanese in these regions will have an opportunity to commence successful careers in a world-class organisation.”

Arrowhead’s plans include the development of a new state of the art physical Customer Care facility in New Amsterdam that will supplement existing facilities in Georgetown but also work seamlessly with Arrowhead’s new hybrid, flexible work from home team, and the roll-out new services and attract new clients creating job opportunities for hundreds of Guyanese in multiple Regions, the company said.

“99 jobs were created in Guyana this last year to achieve world class Customer Excellence capability servicing GTT and other ATN International telecommunication operations.  We now have a 250 strong team consistently delivering Customer Excellence each day and it’s time for us to take the next step and launch our new Arrowhead business.” Damian Blackburn, the CEO of GTT was quoted as saying.

GTT’s CEO – Damian Blackburn

During the  Arrowhead pilot initiative in 2021,  GTT said that in Region Three (West Demerara-Essequibo Islands), 27 jobs have been created with plans to expand to 40  work-from-home jobs, facilitating operations for Alaska Communications Systems – an enterprise business solutions partner owned by ATN and based in the USA that provides an extensive telecommunications network.

The creation of Arrowhead came even Mr. Blackburn spearheaded the 21st century customer centric transformation of GTT, by first establishing business units within the company, to focus on specific customers, while restoring care levels by training and employing more customer care agents and introducing pro-active outbound call services.  GTT explained that the outbound calling service was critical to the implementation of industry sector leading digital engagement activities, like the paperless WhatsApp and E-billing service transformation, which has now been adopted by over 77% of GTT’s customers.

According to the utility company, all those initiatives in the last year have led to the creation of 99 new Customer Care roles. That represents a 66% percent increase in staffing to vastly improve the quality, timeliness, and efficiency for all clients (including GTT) that will use the new Arrowhead services. Over 50% of our Customer Care teams have also transitioned successfully into a flexible, work-from-home arrangement, which will be key to the business going forward, the company said. 

Chris Daly – ATN International’s VP Sales and Marketing and Chairman of Arrowhead’s new Board of Directors

Concerning the appointment of Mr Erskine as Arrowhead’s General Manager, the Board said, “Shem has operated in Client Relations and Customer Success leadership roles for in excess of 10 years. We are confident that with this appointment he will utilise his wealth of knowledge to significantly impact and advance the operations at Arrowhead.

Mr. Erskine has more than a decade of leadership experience in the telecommunications and BPO sectors where he has built a successful career through roles in Business Sales, Client Relations and Customer Operations. In the past two and a half years at GTT, he was instrumental in restoring the company’s service levels to industry standards, deploying critical CRM technologies, establishing, and commercializing outbound capabilities.

In an invited comment, Erskine said, “I am delighted to be leading this new subsidiary of ATN International. ATN has been committed to development in Guyana for more than 30 years and this business will highlight what is now our core competency of customer success for our clients (local and international). In the past year, we have established a business model that has already created repeated success stories through a team of talented Guyanese and the use of best-in-class technology. My immediate focus as General Manager will be capitalizing on these to deliver planned new services and attract new business. Exciting times are ahead.