ServiceZone sold Monday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Less than two years after ServiceZone opened its doors in Andalusia, the call center has been sold to ClientLogic Corporation. This, according to Jeff Miller, site vice president, is a good thing, a very good thing.

“This is a good thing for ServiceZone, a good thing for Andalusia,” said Miller. “We’re one of the number one sites for Service Zone and with client right now, that makes us a pretty strong contender as we enter into the new company.”

“We have been a growth company from the very beginning,” said John Bray, executive vice president of human resources and administration for the Tampa, Fla., based ServiceZone. "While ServiceZone has experienced significant growth and outstanding success over the last five years, it became increasingly clear that, in order to continue that growth and success, we needed the kind of resources and scale represented by a company like ClientLogic."

According to Nicole Piotrowicz of Schwartz Communications, representing ClientLogic, the sale took place Monday afternoon. The amount of money involved was not released, but

Miller said all those currently working for ServiceZone will be kept on.

Under the terms of the agreement, ClientLogic has acquired all outstanding shares of ServiceZone Holding, Inc. The transfer was immediate, and according to the ClientLogic press release, "Effective immediately, ServiceZone contact centers, clients and staff are part of the ClientLogic family."

"ClientLogic's vision is to be the leading business process outsourcer in the contact center and fulfillment industry," said David Garner, president and CEO of ClientLogic. "This acquisition helps ClientLogic further realize this vision by gaining several contact centers in the US and the Philippines in addition to adding marquee clients to our already impressive client roster. The acquisition of Service Zone also brings some very skilled and reputable operational management to ClientLogic. To win in this increasingly competitive market, you need scale and talent - this deal gives ClientLogic both."

Miller sees the acquisition as an opening of new doors for the Andalusia call center.

"One of the things that was really important to us, our business is heavily technology related. The ClientLogic companies are more diverse," he said. "With the merging, we are much more diverse, and stronger companies will make for additional clients and additional jobs for us here in Andalusia. It is definitely a better opportunity for us."

In fact, not only has the Andalusia call center brought back those who had hours shortened, were laid off during the seasonal slow-down, or took vacation over the winter holidays, they are again hiring new workers.

"We have about 400 working now," said Miller. "We really didn't lose that many, even with the shorter hours. But we're hoping to hire 50 to a 100 each month in February, March and April."

Miller said the implementation of the insurance call center will begin next week, as planned.

The acquisition also benefits ClientLogic clients by providing expanded geographic service options. Clients can now utilize the company's newest offshore service offering, a 1500-seat contact center in Pasig City, Philippines. In addition, ClientLogic now offers eight additional US facilities in cost effective markets. With this acquisition, ClientLogic operates in 12 countries: USA, Canada, Austria, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, The Netherlands, The Philippines and the UK through 52 locations including 39 contact centers, seven fulfillment and response processing facilities and administrative offices.

Alabama is new territory for the company, and Miller sees nothing but good news in the future.

"Everything is business as usual and all that good stuff," he said. "ClientLogic does basically the same kind of work that ServiceZone has done, but much larger - they have 45 suites and we have nine. ClientLogic has been very successful in landing some great accounts that everybody would like to be doing some work for - we're very excited to be a part of that."

Late Tuesday night, Amit Shankardass, spokesperson with ClientLogic told the Star-News that the company was excited about acquiring the Andalusia facility.

"The acquisition of ServiceZone, including the Andalusia facility, is a very strategic part of the ClientLogic plan to expand on its footprint in the United States and internationally," Shankardass said. "It also brings us some exceptional talent from ServiceZone."

As for the Andalusia site, Shankardass said it holds a key role in ClientLogic's plan.

"The Andalusia site is key to our growth," he said. "With more than 250 clients worldwide, we are one of the largest companies of its kind in the world. Seeing size as an integral part of growing our infrastructure, we are looking at growing the size of the Andalusia site as a part of our overall growth."

A subsidiary of Canadian diversified company Onex Corporation, ClientLogic is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The company's 250+ industry-leading clients include numerous technology and communication-oriented businesses.

ClientLogic offers an international suite of services, including integrated customer acquisition, list management and brokerage, database design and development, multi-channel customer and technical support (phone, fax, eMail, Chat, Self-Help, etc.), eCommerce services and warehousing/fulfillment. Service Zone's core business is providing leading companies with outsourced call center services including technical support, customer service, and sales support.

Besides the Service Zone call centers, ClientLogic has centers in New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, New York, West Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Nevada, Tennessee, and Washington.