24-7 Intouch, the Winnipeg-based global customer care/call centre company has acquired a company that specializes in the gaming industry, a vertical market that 24-7 Intouch was keen to expand into.
The acquisition of Austin, Tex.-based Goodbay Technologies adds another three call centre locations to what is now a global network of more than 20 call centres all featuring well-appointed work spaces for about 20,000 full-time employees.
Shane Kozlowich, 24-7 Intouch president and chief financial officer said Goodbay is a particularly good fit because of its success in the gaming industry.
"Gaming is a nice vertical that we wanted to get stronger in," Kozlowich said. "There is lots of growth in the gaming vertical and Goodbay really cares about customer service."
Goodbay also has clients in the digital media, consumer electronics and fintech sectors. At the time of the acquisition it operated call centres in Manila, Philippines, Kingston, Jamaica and Bangalore, India, in addition to its head office in Austin.
It is the second acquisition 24-7 Intouch has done in the last couple of years, In February 2020 it acquired Knoah Solutions. That one provided the company with its first call centre in India as well as two in Honduras, adding to the company’s Latin American exposure where it already had operations in Guatemala and Colombia.
As well before the pandemic 24-7 Intouch opened a call centre in Athens, Greece, its first and currently only European presence.
But the actual locations of its high-tech call centres may not mean as much as it once did, as just about every one of its employees around the world have been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic.
"There was lots of heavy lifting at first to get everyone working from home (including providing many with laptops) but we have kept up the continuity with our customers," he said.
Even though it operates in some developing countries, Kozlowich said the broadband infrastructure in every city where it has employees based has held up well and the company has had no trouble keeping up with its customer service functions that now entail as much chat and email communications as voice.
Kozlowich said the company has fared well during the pandemic. Demand for its services has remained strong, if not increased.
"One thing we have seen through the pandemic is the recognition of the importance of customer service, especially digital customer service," he said. "There is simply more on-line interaction now then there has ever been before and more reliance on technology. That has benefitted us and others in the industry."
While the company has grown dramatically around the world, it has also been gradually increasing its presence in Winnipeg where it now has about 3,000 employees.
In addition to its head office on Kennedy Street, it has three Winnipeg call centres: one in the Polo Park region and two more on Waverly Street and Taylor Avenue.
The company has also signed a lease on another location in Winnipeg, that has yet to be disclosed, which will be the home of the company’s fourth call centre here.
24-7 Intouch was founded by and owned by brothers, Greg and Jeff Fettes. Among other things, Greg Fettes is the owner of the Winnipeg Ice of the Western Hockey League.
The company also operates a growing artificial intelligence research operation, called Laivly, headed by Jeff Fettes for which the company has recruited almost 100 people.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.