Working from home is an increasingly popular form of business in developed countries. Since 2005, the number of employees and employers who have adopted this model has increased by 140%. BiH lags far behind these trends, but there are employers who base successful business in our country on this proven business model.
One of them is Damir Berilo from Hadžići, the owner of the GoCloud Group, which has grown into the largest virtual contact center in Southeast Europe in this decade. The company currently employs 96 workers in B&H and Serbia who work on German-speaking customer support services and an additional seven employees in the operational and administrative part of the company. In an interview with hercegovina.info, Berilo talks about the very beginnings, challenges, responsibilities, but also open jobs:
“It’s a classic entrepreneurial story. My business partner and I worked night shifts in a classic stationary call center. There was very little work in those night shifts and we always felt that the employer could let us make those few calls from home. As we both have technical affinities, we looked for technical solutions to this idea and saw that Home Office customer support was in its infancy, but not yet sufficiently developed in Europe, let alone in B&H “, Berilo points out.
After intensive and serious research work, they found a potential partner in Berlin who at the time was trying to establish customer support from home. Although the Berlin-based company was initially skeptical about this form of work, they agreed to work together on a pilot project: “We founded the company and of course were the first and only employees for the first year.”
The turning point in the business happened when they realized that only hard work and perseverance can reach the goal:
“Some classic milestone was not and will not be. We face difficulties and challenges every day, but also success and a reward for our work, so one should not think that one day one will just sit in one’s office and not have to do anything.
The initial challenges around complicated administration now seems ridiculous. Difficulties in protecting personal data from the EU that seemed insurmountable have now been resolved. The structure of the work was a thought noun, but it is now resolved. Now we are dealing with the big task of expanding our business, and we will overcome that and find adequate business partners, just as we did at the beginning “, points out Damir Berilo.
Working from home, in itself, is a very attractive story for an employee. Still, the employer, who has not encountered this model, is more skeptical, but it doesn’t have to be this way:
“Our company saves huge amounts of money because we do not rent expensive infrastructure. We do not need business premises or technical equipment. The employee provides this for himself and for us. We don’t have to worry about finding staff either, while stationary employers are staring at staff, our employees are everywhere in B&H and Serbia. And they can work wherever they want”, says our interlocutor, adding that all this makes them more competitive and more favorable in market competitions and that is why they are becoming more and more attractive to companies that want to outsource their customer support.
The model of working from home brings a number of advantages for employees:
“I think it is not only good for employees, but it is an ideal model of work. An employee in our company saves an average of 28 hours on arrivals and departures from work. It is a time that neither the employer nor the worker counts in their work obligations, not to mention the price of that same transport which is also saved. In the current story about air pollution throughout BiH, we must not neglect the aspect of environmental protection by working from home. Our agents do not use means of transport and participate to a lesser extent in air pollution “, Berilo points out and adds another key advantage: “In our company, our employees determine when and how much they will work. We don’t have classic shifts where the other person decides when which employee will work. This role was taken over by the employee himself and he is independently responsible for the shifts entered. All this leads to an excellent work-life balance and that is why this model of ours is very popular”.
The industry’s call center is often notorious, mostly because of bad employers. This was one of the biggest challenges the GoCloud group faced: “
Employees in our industry have often been deceived and it has been difficult to gain trust, especially considering that we are a virtual contact center and on the one hand “invisible” to them. Since we were call agents ourselves, we knew how to set up a work and reward system.
In addition to the above benefits, we have given call agents a fixed hourly rate since day one, all of their income is fully taxed and we do not practice any type of payment on the black.
Our portfolio of employers we work with has certainly contributed to gaining trust. There I have a publishing house that publishes the highest circulation daily newspapers in Europe, through the largest online optician in Europe, large chains of jewelry stores, to promising Start-Ups from the E-Commerce market. I am proud that we managed to gain the trust of employees and this is shown in the reviews on the Internet, but also in the recommendations of our employees for all interested individuals, “said Berilo, owner of GoCloud.group.
The company is also planning a rapid expansion, and open job vacancies are underway:
“GoCloud.group is a company that aspires to expand in both the domestic and foreign markets.
In the domestic market, we plan to cooperate with companies that care about optimizing customer service and thus provide their clients with comprehensive professional support.
We plan to do the expansion towards foreign companies gradually and exclusively with partners who do not want to outsource the prices, but it is important for them to get a quality service abroad, because that is how we work. We do not want mass projects where it is important to receive a call without help, but to have tools and processes that will really help the client’s user and thus contribute to mutual satisfaction.
This industry can definitely be a great potential for B&H:
“Absolutely! BPO (Business process outsourcing) industry should be one of the pillars on which the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina will rest. This is really one potential that we must use, because we have smart and talented citizens with knowledge of one or two foreign languages, and why not use it? The fact that an association like ABSL (absl.ba), which is considered one of the largest BPO associations in Europe, came to B&H, shows that our market is interesting to foreign companies. Their client portfolio includes multinational corporations such as Apple, Google, IBM, Lufthansa, etc. Of course, GoCloud.group has become a member of ABSL from the very beginning and we hope that we will be able to contribute to the establishment of the BPO industry as a crucial part of the BiH economy “, Berilo points out.
More than 100 employees also carry great responsibilities. We asked ourselves – Does Damir wonders why he needed all this?
“Of course, every day (through laughter), but pride and responsibility towards employees still prevail. I’ve wondered a hundred times so far, but I always find a reason how to motivate myself and move on. Is it stressful? I think that you will get a more adequate answer from my family doctor or you can conclude from my personal pharmacy “, Berilo points out in a joking tone. Finally, he believes that B&H does not do enough for young people: “Not only does the state not support young entrepreneurs, but it does not support anyone who brings money from abroad. It is a devastating fact that companies working for the foreign market and the most basic and ordinary store, which, frankly, does not contribute to the growth of the B&H economy, are also taxed. Our youth has very good and prosperous ideas with which they could compete in the international market. Unfortunately, due to the lack of support and distribution of knowledge, many of these ideas do not come to life. One of the plans for the future is for GoCloud.group to help these young people through consulting and financial support “, Damir Berilo points out at the end.
If you also want to be a part of this model of work, and at the same time speak excellent German, maybe this is the opportunity for you, considering that the largest virtual contact center in Southeast Europe employs! You can apply HERE!