Northern Irish specialist customer service provider global email company limited (www.the-gem.com) has announced an alliance with online retailer Amazon.com (www.amazon.com) to enhance its worldwide customer service network. The three-year contract begins in September 2001. The agreement, which is subject to gem shareholder approval, also provides that Amazon will take an equity position in gem.
With five international Web sites and customers in more than 200 countries, Amazon.com must maintain a year-round, 24-hour, 7-days-a-week customer service network,” said Diego Piacentini, senior vice president of international for Amazon.com. “Working with a co-sourcer of gem’s expertise and professionalism allows us to seamlessly handle incredible volume surges, especially around the holidays, and provides strong multilingual capabilities year-round.”
gem will complement Amazon’s existing customer service network, which includes seven customer service centres, incorporating both internal and co-sourced facilities.
“gem and Amazon.com share a passion for serving the customer, and we are thrilled that we are able to help Amazon.com continue its mission of being the most customer-centric company in the world,” said Owen Lamont, gem chairman and chief executive officer. “Amazon.com’s selection proves that gem and Northern Ireland are succeeding at providing best-of-class customer service support for the Internet and high-technology industries.”
gem is a privately held company established in Belfast in December 1999 that provides a range of customer service and marketing solutions, specializing in e-mail response management, to clients in the U.S. and Europe. gem aims to offer best-in-class outsourced customer service solutions that combine state-of-the-art communications technology with the personal touch.
gem has access to a dynamic, vibrant work force in Northern Ireland. A high percentage of Northern Ireland graduates are multilingual, and its location gives gem the benefit of cultural similarities with both U.S. and European companies and their customers. The company currently employs native speakers of French, Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch.
gem currently handles the customer service needs of tens of millions of Internet users worldwide on behalf of existing Blue-chip clients, and 1.5 percent of its current inbound volume consists of thank-you e-mails from satisfied customers.
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) opened its virtual doors on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection, along with online auctions and free electronic greeting cards. Amazon.com seeks to be the world’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online. Amazon.com and sellers list millions of unique new and used items in categories such as electronics, kitchen and house wares, books, music, DVDs, videos, camera and photo items, toys, software, computer and video games, cell phones and service, tools and hardware, and outdoor living products. Through Amazon Marketplace, zShops and Auctions, any business or individual can sell virtually anything to Amazon.com’s more than 35 million customers (cumulative accounts), and with Amazon.com Payments, sellers can accept credit card transactions, avoiding the hassles of offline payments.
Amazon.com operates four international Web sites: www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de and www.amazon.co.jp. It also operates the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), the Web’s comprehensive and authoritative source of information on more than 275,000 movies and entertainment titles and 1 million cast and crewmembers dating from the birth of film in 1891 to 2003.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management’s expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, Amazon.com’s anticipated losses, significant amount of indebtedness, competition, seasonality, potential fluctuations in operating results, management of potential growth, risks of system interruption, consumer trends, risk of fulfillment center optimization, inventory risks, limited operating history, risks related to fraud and Amazon.com Payments, and risks of new business areas, international expansion, business combinations, strategic alliances and strategic partnerships. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2000, and all subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.
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