Meet the company helping expats in Czechia find their voice

Providing customer service excellence and copious opportunities for expat employees, BlueLink’s Prague Center is a place where people come first.

William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 25.01.2024 16:52:00 (updated on 25.01.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

Rapid technological advancements are changing the ways in which businesses interact with their customers. For any company, it’s essential to follow the latest trends in customer behavior and create the right conditions for a quality relationship.

BlueLink, a customer relations provider with a major center in Prague, is focused on helping clients navigate new challenges in customer relations. As a daughter company of the AF-KLM Group, a leading European air transport company, BlueLink creates “the art of customer relations” for many of the world’s biggest businesses, including a portfolio of household-name luxury brands. 

Unsurprisingly, given the international nature of its business, it’s a company thriving with expats. Foreign employees include those who have helped the Prague center grow over the long term, and fresh-faced recruits manning the phones today

Employing around 500 people, you might expect such a shared service center to be a stressful environment. In reality, though, BlueLink has created an environment in Prague which is friendly, marked by an atmosphere of calm professionalism, and where every person working at the company has a voice. 

An international work environment

Around 10-15 percent of BlueLink’s Prague team are Czechs, but the rest are an eclectic mix comprising over 70 different nationalities. Walk around the office and you’ll hear English spoken as standard, but you’ll also catch snippets of diverse other languages, as the company serves customers in diverse markets.

The company’s center in Florentinum is one of three European locations (the other two are in Paris and Strasbourg). It provides full customer relations outsourcing, available 24/7 in 35 different languages, as well as consultancy and research services.

The entire space is designed acoustically and spatially to foster a sense of quiet, calm and relaxation. Stand in the center of dozens of people responding to customer enquiries, and you can make yourself heard with little more than a whisper. 

Dotted around the center are numerous small rooms designated as silent rooms with hammocks and cushions, game rooms with table football, Xbox and more, and various other spaces where people can take a break from their work to recharge or let off some steam.

The emphasis on calm and quiet is necessary to creating an environment conducive to the exercise of a demanding profession. According to Berenger, a Team Leader for Customer Care who hails from France and has worked at BlueLink for three years, “the job can sometimes be challenging; we work hard to create the right conditions for a good interaction, despite the fact that sometimes, some of our customers can be facing difficult situations.”

“But at the end of the day, you have the satisfaction of being helpful, and you’ve gained skills that I have never found in any other job in terms of communication and management.”

Along with phone calls, BlueLink’s advisors respond to customers through the more modern modes of communication such as social media. Keeping up with such trends is a major part of the service that BlueLink provides to global companies looking to take care of customers with a high level of engagement.

Team spirit is key

The familiarity and friendly relationships between people at BlueLink are plain to see. Even the CEO of the Prague center has a reputation for knowing the faces, names and roles of new recruits into the 500-strong team. One common theme is that the attitude of people working at BlueLink is just as important as their qualifications or educational history. Alona Hordiienko, a member of BlueLink’s recruitment team, says “the main focus is the interest and motivation of the individual.”

The friendliness of the team is also something that people working at BlueLink emphasize. Alona describes how the high proportion of expats “is one of the reasons why it’s so easy to make friends and to feel welcome from your very first day.”

The number of expats is one of the reasons why it’s so easy to make friends and to feel welcome from your very first day.

-Alona Hordiienko, BlueLink recruitment team

Aranzazu Grau Barrachina, a customer advisor already performing a mentoring role after working at BlueLink for a year and eight months, says her favorite thing about the job is the people around her. “The people are beautiful,” she says. “We’re a really nice group with a lot of young people who always spend time together inside and outside work.”

For Aranzazu, empathy is also a key ingredient when dealing with customers. “I’m Spanish; I like talking with people, I like to make them laugh! If you try to work in this way, it’s always better.”

Listening to employees

New recruits might worry about being unable to stand out from the crowd in such a large center. For this reason, BlueLink also focuses on empowering its people. As Alona explains, “more than 95 percent of our managers are promoted from within the company. There are lots of opportunities for advancement with roles in many different departments for people of all kinds of skills.” Indeed, both Berenger and Aranzuza progressed quickly, having started out as advisors handling customer calls.

It’s not just through career progression that BlueLink strives to ensure that every employee has a voice. “There are a lot of ways in which we give a voice not just to managers, but also to advisors,” says Berenger. “We have Impact 25, a company action plan which we run every year. Volunteers go to sessions and brainstorm ideas to improve the company. The aim is for the whole company to vote for actions which then become part of the following year’s strategy.”

Such openness to suggestions from employees has resulted in various changes. One popular idea, for example, led to the introduction of raised tables allowing people to either stand or sit during work, boosting their movement possibilities and overall wellbeing.

Other initiatives to help people realize their potential include S.T.E.P., an educational program for tailor-made learning and digital coaching. It’s part of a wider focus on learning and development which saw BlueLink win a “Diamond Award” for education from the Association of Business Services Leaders Czech Republic in 2022.

All these efforts are about making sure that people’s voices are heard. As Aranzuza puts it: “In my previous experience working in Spain, I never felt recognized. Here, you feel like you’re working for something, and that it’s valued. That’s cool.”

This article was written in cooperation with BlueLink. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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