New Brunswick has long been recognized as a North American leader in the customer service industry. Opportunities NB (ONB) continues to build on that success by creating a more robust business services sector offering New Brunswickers more advanced career opportunities.

New Jersey-based Stafford Communications is among the latest U.S. companies to establish a business services centre in the province, launching operations in late 2016. Timed with an announcement today from Stafford and ONB, we spoke to Kevin Schofield, Stafford’s Director of Canadian Operations.

ONB: Let’s begin with an overview of Stafford Communications.

Schofield: Stafford Communications specializes in handling complex customer communications with high-end service. We manage smaller customer care programs for companies of all sizes. In addition, we provide customer care consulting and marketing services. The company was founded in New Providence, New Jersey in 1995 by our Founder and CEO CJ Stafford. Ms Stafford left a 20-year career with Johnson & Johnson for a new career path focused on the customer care industry. We now work with a number of different verticals, most notably with healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and food companies across the United States and Canada.

How did a New Jersey company end up establishing a presence in New Brunswick, Canada?

In spring 2016 it was announced that a global company was closing its Saint John-based contact operations. Shortly after that news broke, a job fair was held in town organized by ContactNB. Opportunities NB’s Workforce Strategy team was in attendance at that event as well. I knew Ms Stafford through an industry association so I connected ONB with her and that’s how this all really began. Ms Stafford recognized that New Brunswick talent would be looking for a new opportunity and decided to establish a Canadian branch in Rothesay.

This helps us better service our growing Canadian customer base. There’s also a nice retention story here as I’d estimate that 80 per cent of our NB staff, including myself, are former employees of the operation that closed in 2016.

ONB support helped things came together rather quickly and the timing was excellent. Many people finished work with one company at the end of August and began work with Stafford in mid-September with very little downtime.

ONB continues to work with Stafford to grow their New Brunswick presence. This leads us to today’s announcement.

Yes, we are targeting the creation of up to 31 new full-time positions in Rothesay by the end of 2019 with support from ONB. Since opening our doors last fall we’ve increased our headcount by about 55 per cent, and we are confident that will continue moving forward.

Can you speak to the benefits the company sees from operating in New Brunswick?

It’s really about the workforce. We hit the ground running here because our staff has a tremendous amount of experience in this industry. I’d estimate the industry experience of our current staff to be about 200 years combined.

Quality of life in New Brunswick is second-to-none as far as I’m concerned. Short commutes are great, and where else but New Brunswick can you have urban and rural living so close to each other?

Besides being a business services centre we also assist clients with crisis planning, claims management, and marketing — so there are opportunities with us beyond frontline service representatives. Stafford is a growing company and this announcement means more opportunities for people looking to join the team but also for existing staff looking to make their next career move. We’re excited about future growth here in New Brunswick.

For opportunities with Stafford Communications Group, visit their career page.

Written by Jason Boies