The culture fit
When it came to building a nearshore team in Guadalajara, Mariner put culture first. They traveled to meet with the team on a regular basis, and they interacted with their Guadalajara-based Rapido team no differently than their US-based in-house teams. That was the key to their early and continued success. “If we treat them like outsiders, we don’t think we will get the whole value out of them. They are part of the team,” said AJ DeGroot, SVP Operations of Mariner. Rapido co-founders Danny Frisco and Roberto Icaza were a big part of the decision-making process for Mariner. “They’ve seen it all and are solid and reputable. Not just bilingual but they are bicultural too,” said DeGroot. “They understand how to find talent in Mexico that can hang and really get stuff done.”
The key to a great partnership
The Mariner team invested heavily in the relationship. They first hired a manager to help moderate and communicate with the Rapido nearshore team. Then, they visited the Guadalajara team every quarter. Because of this effort, the team is high performing and connected, and Mariner sees high client satisfaction numbers. “It’s because we are present and invested. We do not treat them like a ‘contractor,’” said DeGroot. “The more we invest in them the better results we get from them.” The Rapido team are part of Mariner’s company communication and are day-to-day communications recipients. If the Mariner CEO has an announcement, they are on it.
Mariner was moving so fast that they initially cut corners. “We were an offender of the ‘move fast’ mentality”, said DeGroot. “We asked Rapido to bypass the training to get people in seats. I was not happy about that.” Taking the time to train is essential to the process and success of the partnership. DeGroot’s advice for others looking for a successful nearshore experience: Trust the training process that Rapido has for new hires. Take the time for the initial training and don’t fall victim to sacrificing process for speed.
DeGroot and team have very specific KPIs that they use to measure success of the Rapido team. Daily communication on what to expect and what expectations are for the day are clearly communicated via Teams. They are set up in region pods and have access to instantaneous communication via Teams with the US-based Mariner team they support.
“We have gotten the relationship to the point where the day-to-day operations that the Rapido team handles is “set it and forget it” without Mariner oversight. That is a huge advantage for us.”
- AJ DeGroot, SVP Operations, Mariner
A right-sized team
A huge evolution in Mariner’s nearshore team is the addition of five Rapido reps in consultative, customer-facing roles. The customer service rep (CSR) tasks include data entry, order acceptance, issue resolution, and setting appointments. These new roles are about developing relationships and providing top-level customer service.
Next up, Mariner is looking for the nearshore team to produce account managers — another customer facing role.
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