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  • 1. A 21st century industry Customer service, customer relationship… behind these foggy words lays our daily life.Customer service, customer relationship… Behind these shady words lies our daily life. ON tephone, on the internet, in store… the renowned “customer experience” is everywhere. LionelFaure, married and father of two is on his way to transfer his four phone subscriptions to Free,when is provider contacts him to adjust his bills. Bingo.Touched by this mark of attention, Lionel remains loyal to the brand. As for AntonioGonzalez, overbooked entrepreneur, he takes time to buy his sport shoes in a specialized shopinstead of on internet. On his opinion benefiting from vendor advices, which also runsmarathons, is essential.Pampering customers is making the difference. On western overcrowded markets, it even isone of the rare “niches” for growth. Tesco understood it very well and just hired 22 000people to polish the welcoming in stores. As for Danone, the group now proposes a waterbottles packs home delivery service. Finally, in these days where twitter and American class-actions are common, dissatisfied customers –are there is quite a few of them–have now athand a humongous power of nuisance. To sum up, brands have no more choices. How toimpress durably customers without spending fortunes on the task? It’s one of the sector’smajor challenges.In fifteen years, customer relationship imposed itself as a real industry. Renamed bynumerous Medias as “third millennium factories”, call centers met an unprecedenteddevelopment. Their services display diversity and growing sophistication: information, sale,advises, helpdesk, e-mail processing, chats, data capture, billing… With more and moredistant branches, these call centers are even giving a geopolitics lesson.These services are concentrated in three main areas, legacies from the past. Even if everythingchanges really fast in these sectors, for now India and Philippine are concentrating call centersfor English speaking countries; Mexico, Colombia and Argentina are dedicated to Spanishspeaking calls. As for France, it deployed its call centers in Maghreb, Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and in Mauritius.In this industry which allying to of the range services and technologies, France is one o themain characters. Someing to cheer up after the lost o the triple A. Releperformance,worldwide leader of call centers, employs 130.000 people in around fifty countries. As forVocalcom, founded seventeen years ago, it distributes its software in 43 countries.
  • 2. When national unemployment rate is close to 10%, customer services is unmistakably aresource sector for employment. Normalians and polytechnicians are now setting their sightson Functions such as Head of Customers Service. If these jobs are still reserved to elite, it’snot the case for thousands of contracts as cashiers, televendor and supervisors, of salarymenin trade and distribution. Even if wages are not as good as many could hope, possibilities ofevolution and mobility are numerous. A self-made person can make his or her way. Evenbetter, some schools are now teaching the work’s basics.Originally published in the weekly magazine L’express translation by our team, thework remains property of the magazine and his author Manuel Jaquinet.