Pond Island:--- TelEm Group management says, contrary to what was stated by a company union representative, Chief Financial Officer, Mrs. Helma Etnel, was NOT asked to address Parliament or the Central Committee regarding the outsourced Helpdesk that is based in Curacao and was in fact responding to a question from a government official on the matter.
Management issued the following statement in response to SMCU President, Ludson Evers’ claim yesterday.
“The decision to outsource the Helpdesk was a decision taken by the former Change Manager, Mr. Pieter Drenth, who was appointed by the then government, and is a situation that is inherited by Mrs. Etnel.
The Helpdesk was initially established on St. Maarten with local employees and was located at the Harbour, however, due to several well-document challenges, a request was made by the Helpdesk company to move their operation to Curacao where personnel challenges could be better resolved.
The move to outsource the Helpdesk to an outside company was a major cost reduction for TelEm Group, not only were the cost or operation reduced, but service hours also be extended so that customers could now be served after regular office hours up to 9PM and at weekends.
The Helpdesk was initially established to provide DSL support to customers, however these services were extended to include Customer Care, ,Directory services, Billing enquiries, Call Transfer, Registering of complaints and phone line outages, Blackberry and 3G services, Product information and Mobile voice and data information and Telemarketing services when needed.
Mrs. Etnel has informed government on several occasions in the past that she would prefer to transfer the Helpdesk service back to St. Maarten so long as a qualified local helpdesk company can be found that can provide at least the same level of service.
It is normal that telcos outsource certain activities to call centers that are often overseas. Just as it is normal to also outsource many other activities, such as cleaning, security and work to contractors.
In our case the decision to outsource the Helpdesk lead to major cost savings while extending service hours till 9:00 pm and into weekends, which has been very important, especially for our customers who depend on their internet and DSL service 24/7.