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Meet Nick Jiwa of CustomerServ in Sugar Land

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nick Jiwa.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.

Some facts about me:

-My first language was Swahili, can’t speak a word of it today

-I’m a WWII buff, having read over 100 books on the subject

-From August-May, I passionately follow the English Premier League

-Was a junior table tennis champ, shortstop and soccer goalie

-Big collector of anything vintage and retro

-I know a heck of a lot about Westeros

-My playlist has many genres, dominated by 80s alternative and synth

-I have done over 2000 volunteer hours at 2 Houston hospitals

-I support School Lunch Fairy because no child should go hungry

I was born in Tanzania, grew up in New York City and have been living in Houston since 1991.

Professionally speaking, I founded CustomerServ in 2006 and we’re a team of 6 consultants and advisors in the call center outsourcing industry. Although we’re Houston based, our clients, vendors and associates span 27 countries, supporting over 75 languages.

An accidental career is how I can best describe my 30 years in call centers and outsourcing. A part time summer job in 1986 unexpectedly turned into a lifelong passion and it’s been an amazing ride. Back in the 1980s, the concept of a call center and outsourcing was fairly new to companies. Today, the call center and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry is a $200 billion dollar global phenomenon which employs millions worldwide. Call centers are ubiquitous as one of the first points of contact between a company and it customers.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
If it were smooth I wouldn’t have enjoyed the ride so much. The struggle is what makes it fun. Coming from humble beginnings and growing up in a single parent home had its challenges. But I always believed in the greater good and this thing called the American Dream because it is alive and well. Underprivileged kids like me are challenged daily by things that most people take for granted. But I decided to persevere, not complain. I dreamt of and visualized success and I found the strength to push that boulder uphill.

I grew up in a typical Queens neighborhood in NYC, started working at age 12, attended a highly ranked city college—while working 2 jobs…and the next thing you know, I’m a successful entrepreneur.

Please tell us about CustomerServ.
CustomerServ created in 2006 is an “on-demand” matchmaking service in the call center outsourcing industry. One of the first of its kind, CustomerServ is successful at helping a wide range of companies from Fortune 100s to startups find, select and retain the right call center outsourcing vendor(s) in the USA (on-shore) and globally (near shore – Latin America/Caribbean) and off-shore (Europe, Asia, etc.).

Our clients are companies that need to outsource all or some of their call center and/or BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) needs. And we help our clients choose their 3rd party outsourcing vendors with precision and accuracy. A typical outsourcing need could be for customer service, technical support, telesales, email, chat, back office, social media monitoring, content moderation, etc. – any service that can be done in a call center.

I’ve had the pleasure of advising, counseling and providing thought leadership to nearly 40% of the Fortune 500 on the best outsourcing strategies, particularly in selecting the right 3rd party call center outsourcing vendors.

Outsourcing is necessary, not as a job killer, but as a job creator. Throughout my career and since we started CustomerServ, I’ve created tens of thousands of new jobs in the USA and in developing countries. By outsourcing, companies can reduce costs and improve efficiencies, thereby making products and services cheaper for consumers and end users.

But your outsourcing program is only as good as the 3rd party call center vendor you use. Companies like Apple, Amazon and Comcast outsource tens of thousands of call center jobs to high quality outsourcing vendors that serve as an extension of the brand. Therefore, selecting the right vendor is critical. Incorrect vendor selection can result in poor service levels and disastrous outcomes, costing companies $millions and sometimes $billions in market cap. Perpetually bad service, long hold times, ill-trained call center agents—these are among the reasons why customers switch to competitors. Think of the revenue lost as a result.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have started CustomerServ prior to 2006. I had the idea in mind for many years but I wasn’t mentally prepared to venture out on my own. I wasn’t ready to take the risk until I had an epiphany and decided to make the jump in ’06. It was the right time to start a very special company that solves a real problem in our industry. I really wanted to make the call center outsourcing world a better place by bringing our knowledge base, ideas, solutions and passion to a broader audience, with nothing holding us back from making an impact daily.

Other than this, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my journey.

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