Press Release Published on March 18, 2013

SQM is proud to announce it has expanded its operation with the opening of a new state of the art research call center in Coeur d’Alene (CDA), Idaho, with the capacity for up to 200 workstations. Since 1996, SQM has been a leading North American call center industry Voice of the Customer research firm expert for measuring and improving organizations’ first call resolution (FCR) and customer satisfaction. Our clients are Fortune 500 companies such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, U.S. Bank, Office Max, Capital One and Marriott. SQM benchmarks over 450 leading call centers on an annual basis and has been conducting FCR benchmarking studies for over 15 years. Over 70% of our tracking clients improve their FCR year over year and we are viewed as the people that call centers call for help.

As a result of having more than 70% of our clients being U.S. based, it became important to conduct surveys from the U.S. rather than Canada. For Canadians, we continue to conduct customer surveys from our Vernon, British Columbia location. For our CDA location, SQM has hired a number of supervisors who are enthusiastic, focused and responsible for managing a team of over 80 Telephone Survey Representatives (TSRs). Visitors to SQM’s state of the art research call center in CDA will be impressed with the quality of our new employees.

Our CDA location uses VoIP technology for dialing out to customers to conduct customer surveys. The VoIP technology also allows us to provide 100% recording of customer calls and surveys. We have also developed a robust knowledge management tool (KMT) that TSRs can use in real time when surveying customers. The KMT enables the TSR to provide customers with accurate information which helps protect the integrity of the quality of the surveys. We use a job simulation tool for assisting us in hiring the right type of TSRs and to train them on how to properly conduct FCR and customer satisfaction surveys. We have a backup generator that keeps our research call center operating even if there is a city-wide energy black-out. All data is backed up and stored in a secure off-site data center. In addition, SQM uses speech recognition technology for transcribing customer feedback and analyzing the data.

The reason why we chose CDA is because it is only a six hour drive from our Vernon, British Columbia location and it has a pro-business philosophy. Also, “what makes CDA really attractive is when you talk to people, it’s less about bureaucracy and more about getting things done”, said Mike Desmarais, President and Founder of SQM. Desmarais said he’s confident that CDA’s available work force will fit his company’s needs. “SQM pays more than most call centers and offers benefits because,” he said, “it’s the right thing to do. The TSR job is a good job and is a very important job and that is why our pay and benefits are higher than other call centers in CDA. It is also important that we are viewed as an employer of choice, in order to have good people apply and want to stay with SQM for a long time.” Sarah Kennedy, SVP of Business Development, said, “SQM’s low historical turnover rate speaks volumes about its desirability as a workplace.”

SQM sees further expansion in its future as a result of opening the CDA operation. There are many U.S. based organizations unable to work with a Canadian company. Thus, opening up the CDA research call center will allow SQM to continue to grow because of its new U.S. based operation.