16 years in the BPO industry

Greymouse Fiji staff members celebrated the company’s 16th anniversary at their office on May 8. Picture: SUPPLIED

ONE of the major players in the business process outsourcing (BPO) in the country – Greymouse – celebrated its 16th anniversary early this month, signifying the company’s ability to make it through the challenges and successes over the years.

Greymouse general manager Faiyaz Khan said it had been a whirlwind kind of a journey for them – full of happiness, challenges and great lessons through the years.

Mr Khan said it was a significant time for all of them.

“Being 16 years in the business did not come easy at all and we had to work our way up, back then, power outages were bound to happen and Greymouse was spending more than what was being made.

“It was a rough start but with all these challenges, we were able to pull through— look at where it got us!”

As the company celebrates its 16th anniversary, Mr Khan says celebrating 16 years is not only for them to look back on Greymouse’s humble beginnings but to also take this opportunity to highlight how the company has built a ‘multicultural’ workforce.

“Most of our teammates are working from home but nonetheless, although simple and far from extravagant, we made sure that we were able to thank each other— the clients, our colleagues and all those behind the success of Greymouse. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, we weren’t able to hold a big celebration but we did celebrate it with a cake in both offices.”

According to Mr Khan, when the company owners – Marisa Wiman and Kelvin Davis – first started Greymouse, they had three questions: What solution can this business offer? Who will this benefit?

Lastly, how can philanthropy go along with entrepreneurship?

“The goal is to create a profitable institution by empowering talented individuals through employment. The evolution of this idea stems from the realisation of how Greymouse can mitigate poverty— targeting countries in which it is prevalent.”

Mr Khan said like all other businesses, Greymouse had struggled at the beginning – in 2005 as the dream was being pursued, the infrastructure and needed technologies were not yet reliable.

“We have to fight our way with innovation, guts, and determination. Greymouse started offering IT support in Fiji in 2005 with only two people working in the office.

“As more services were provided later on, we were able to cover virtual assistant services, virtual reception services, admin support, accounting, and bookkeeping and even going forward with the most in-demand services today— marketing, social media management and website design and maintenance.

“It was all thanks to our valued clients who have trusted us. Because of this, we were able to thrive and finally form a team in the Philippines creating a wider reach and providing more opportunities,” he said.

Today the company employs 40 people in Greymouse Fiji and 35 in the Philippines.

Mr Khan said even with a very diverse workforce, Greymouse was able to build a business culture that united its people into one working “machine” with the team referred to as “MICE”, adding that Ms Wiman referred to Greymouse as the “Mice Haven”.

Meanwhile Mr Khan said at present the BPO market had been consistently growing, but because of COVID-19, businesses were heavily affected which eventually led some to close their establishments and reduce employees — among its many inevitable measures.

“Needless to say, Greymouse has been true to its principle to continuously help alleviate poverty through transformational jobs, knowing that it has helped and given hope to hundreds of people across the globe.”

Mr Khan said there were definitely clients overseas and in Fiji who needed to reduce cost especially because the pandemic impacted us a lot.

Greymouse Fiji general manager Faiyaz Khan. Picture: SUPPLIED

“This benefits people in Fiji or the Philippines since this provides them jobs.

“When you use Greymouse services, you are helping people by providing employment opportunities.

“The mission of Greymouse is to alleviate poverty by providing employment to those in dire need, so laying off staff would defeat our purpose. We make an effort to increase our presence in the industry so we will be known to potential clients who require our services. With the help of our clients, more opportunities will come knocking for us,” he said.

According to Mr Khan the company allows its clients to control costs and access to a multi-skill set, which is the largest reason why companies use its services.

“You can pay for services as you need them and avoid making major investments in infrastructure, software, and personnel. Best of all, we provide transparency to our clients! Overall, Greymouse allows you to keep your labour costs low.

“Furthermore, you’re able to increase the efficiency of your business by getting expert help without having to hire full-time experts.

“Whenever you have a job that doesn’t fit nicely into a current employee’s duties, it’s worthwhile to outsource to a professional rather than consume more time just to hire and train a new employee.

“No matter what you outsource, you’re likely to save money over having that new department in your own business. You won’t have to pay full-time salaries, benefits, or invest in expensive software and equipment. When you outsource, you can pay for exactly what you need.”

In terms of marketing their services, social media has played a crucial role in helping the company get more leads.

“With a brand new decade rapidly approaching, top marketing trends for 2020 include artificial intelligence, video marketing, social messaging apps, conversational marketing and more.

“On the other hand, co-working spaces have experienced a major hit, with social distancing becoming the new norm.

“During the lockdown in many countries, a large number of companies have either given up their co-working space or reduced their office size. If you’re looking to build a remote team for your business, feel free to reach out to us.”

Described as a pioneer and standard when it comes to outsourcing in Fiji, Greymouse Fiji continues to be at the forefront in the delivery of various possible outsourcing roles.

Mr Khan said Fiji had been called “the contact centre industry’s best-kept secret” and the “new frontier” of business process outsourcing.

Although it may not be the first country that comes to mind for Fijian, Australian and Kiwi businesses that are looking to outsource, but that may be about to change.

“With the support of the Government, the industry is making a concerted effort from 2020 to make the market aware that Fiji is not just an island paradise, but a highly competitive and quality destination for a range of business services – from call centre and collections to digital marketing, IT helpdesk, accounting, HR and more,” he said.

Mr Khan said although the pandemic outbreak happened and team members transitioned to working from home, the company never faltered at odds just as with the many obstacles encountered before.

“Teamwork, commitment and dedication set forth as the team made adjustments in light of the current situation.

“We are doing our very best in delivering reliable, time-sensitive and cost-effective services not only in Fiji and all over the world— helping not only businesses to grow and succeed but also talented individuals through life-changing employment.”

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