Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Executive Interview : Richard Blank From Costa Rica's Call Center On The Past Year And What To Expect In 2017

Richard Blank, C.E.O. of Cost Rica's Call Center, sees an opportunity for growth in the Business Process Outsourcing sector in Costa Rica for 2017. Political change and near-shoring are just a few of his reasons as he explains throughout his interview with ContactCenterWorld.com



https://www.contactcenterworld.com/view/contact-center-executive-interview/richard-blank-from-costa-ricas-call-center-on-the-past-year-and.aspx



ContactCenterWorld: In your opinion, what has been the greatest challenge the contact center industry has faced in the last 12 months?



Richard Blank: An adapting business climate that relies on non-voice technology. For example, clients that prefer to communicate via email or text could lose an old school type of relationship building experience. Most importantly, a faster resolution for anyone that is slow to respond to their overflowing inbox or uncharged phone.



ContactCenterWorld: Why do you believe has this been a challenge? Richard Blank: Clients and customer service agents are looking for a short cut. I agree that there are some common sense applications towards a call center experience. Yet, nothing beats an educated and well trained live agent that can walk you through a call than an IVR that will kill your time and patience.



ContactCenterWorld: In 2017, what do you think will be the top priorities in the contact center industry for each of the following: a) Contact Center Directors b) Company Executives c) IT Directors d) Human Resources Directors Richard Blank: a) Retention. If you do not have a nice environment, top pay, honest work and bottom line gratitude, then nobody will show up at your call center party to answer a single call.



ContactCenterWorld: What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 12 months? Richard Blank: Cell phones.



ContactCenterWorld: What impact have "external events" even had on your company, and how have you adapted your business? Richard Blank: The rising cost of living in Costa Rica. CCC made strategic financial moves in the past few years to ensure that we can continue to offer top pay and benefits to our bilingual telemarketers. In addition, building our own 14,400SF call center location to eliminate all rent, mortgage or cash draining commitments. Thus, keeping our hourly rate low to our clients.



ContactCenterWorld: Do you feel the service you personally get as a customer is better or worse than it was a year ago? Richard Blank: I have stated this in the past. I believe that it has gotten worse. The age of cell phones, texting and increased non-voice contact will only diminish vital social skills needed for FCR and other important KPI metrics. People are losing the ability to speak well.



ContactCenterWorld: How do you intend to improve your contact center in 2017? Richard Blank: Dedicated practice in phonetics. Naturally, every mistake made is an opportunity to correct your actions with humility. Most importantly, knowing why you hit a home run on a call and focusing on doing it until the end of every shift. Day after day you focus on each call. Every week you analyze the past run and by the end of the year, your large Christmas bonus will more than speak for itself for your 12 months of dedicated practice.



ContactCenterWorld: What contact center technology or other innovation excites you the most right now? Richard Blank: Better noise cancelling headsets.







ContactCenterWorld: What has been the most important contact center related conversation topic in 2016 and what are your views on this? Richard Blank: Call center attrition and telemarketing burn out. This industry is not for the thin skinned or weekend warrior. You need a presence of mind, good humor, fast wit and the ability to really focus on the art of speaking. Anyone that can make a great call will always have my attention and admiration for a lost art.



ContactCenterWorld: Can you share a great story of service you received when contacting a contact center in the past year? Richard Blank: The moment I mention that I am in Costa Rica, the agent will break from character and ask me a few questions or make an excited comment. Sometimes, they will share a quick story or happy moment while vacationing in Central America. I can truly say that it did increase the customer and client satisfaction level ten-fold.



ContactCenterWorld: What do you think will be the buzz word / focus for the contact center industry this year? Richard Blank: Call Center App.



ContactCenterWorld: Regarding the change in governments in places like the US and the Philippines - do you see this is good or bad for the contact center industry in those countries and why? Richard Blank: The call center industry is virtual. The main focus on outsourcing in the U.S.A. concerns factories, manufacturing and other physical labor ventures. As long as a call center agent can do their job well, be reliable and honest, someone will hire and retain their services somewhere in the world. Not just the U.S.A. or the Philippines. My call center competes with all talented telemarketers in the world and we respect the growing BPO labor pool and reputation. As long as we can fulfill the needs, CCC will have a project to call and still be a division 1 call center.



ContactCenterWorld: Lastly, what do you think 2017 holds for the industry? (Good or bad and where/how etc.) Richard Blank: As long as the IVR systems drive people crazy, our live phones will continue to ring. http://www.outsourcingtocostarica.com COSTA RICA'S CALL CENTER FREE PLAY EMPLOYEE GAME ROOM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYE04hh6BwM COSTA RICA'S CALL CENTER FAN PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/23284906585/ BARRIO ARANJUEZ, 23RD STEET AND 11TH AVENUE. San Jose, Costa Rica https://goo.gl/maps/4TXSs8zFeuo call center,esl outsourcing,costa rica, BARRIO ARANJUEZ,1984 300D MERCEDES W123 LONGWAGON SEDAN LIMO, telemarketing,BPO, business process outsourcing,obamacare, customer service, lead generation, bilingual call center agent, virtual executive assistant,appointment setting, scriptwriting,rhetoric, telemarketing training, telesales,Costa Rica, telecommunications,seminar registering,direct mail campaign,near shore, bpo,obs,costa rica call center, telemarketing professor,Central America,management,public speaking,telephone, phone, cubicle,boiler room, script, rebuttal,call list,prospect,Outsourcing to Costa Rica,BPO call centers,Call center inbound calls,Call center management Costa Rica,Call center outbound calls,Call center outsourcing campaign,Call center outsourcing Costa Rica,Call center outsourcing jobs,Call center services Costa Rica,Call center software Costa Rica,Call center solution Costa Rica,Outsourcing call center Costa Rica,Call center telemarketing services,Bienvenido a la contratación externa en Costa Rica,El Cuidado del cliente ,Ventas avanzadas de Telemercadeo,Generación principal ,Colocación de una cita,Enfoque Inspecciones de Grupo,Ayudante Ejecutivo virtual,Escritura creativa de guión,EnTREnAMIEnTO AVAnZADO DE TELEMERCADEO,Registro de seminario y seguimiento,Correo directo de campaña,Recaudación de fondos,Reclutamiento,El DISEÑO WEB,PROGRAMACIOn POR COMPUTADORA,OBAMACARE, COMPU TICOS,COMPU TICAS, COMPU COSTA RICA, COSTA RICA COMPU, COSTA RICA INTERNET CAFE, CAFE INTERNET COSTA RICA, TICO COMPU, COMPU REPARACION COSTA RICA, COMPUTADORAS USADAS CR, COMPU REPARACIONES, COMPUTADORAS DE SEGUNDA, INTERNET CAFE CR, CAFE INTERNET CR

Richard Blank from Costa Rica's Call Center sits down with ContactCenterWorld.com for an extensive interview. His thoughts and actions towards gamification in his Contact Center is quite revealing and something you might want to consider for yourself.

Executive Interview : Richard Blank from Costa Rica's Call Center Answers Must Ask Questions for the Industry inShare



https://www.contactcenterworld.com/view/contact-center-executive-interview/richard-blank-from-costa-ricas-call-center-answers-must-ask.aspx



Richard Blank from Costa Rica's Call Center sits down with ContactCenterWorld.com for an extensive interview. His thoughts and actions towards gamification in his Contact Center is quite revealing and something you might want to consider for yourself.



What is your number 1 priority for your center in the short term (next 3 months) and why is it critical? Moving to our new 14,400 SF building in order to increase our size, strength and call center strategy.







In your opinion, what is more important to you when managing your center? Net Promoter Scores? Customer Effort? First Call Resolution? Employee Engagement? Or something else and why? A positive working environment overshadows everything in a call center. When the telemarketer is happy and feels comfortable, their work will create a "butterfly effect". Centers should expect an increase in QA scores, call metrics and especially, the customer experience.



How have you adapted to meet changing channels like Twitter, Facebook, Live chat, etc. and what challenges has this posed in the way you have run your center in the past? Unfortunately, these social mediums control the mind and focus of many employees in the current working environment. I strongly support an old school mentality of spoken communication vs. a virtual world where texting and selfies rule one's ego. Unfortunately, vocal communication is becoming a lost art and is taken for granted.



How do you structure your team to make sure the customer reaches the most appropriate employee to answer the question at hand? All agents assigned to a campaign should be ready to assist in any capacity. If a call is escalated or needs the reassurance of a supervisor, the team has been instructed to pass the call accordingly. Yet, our center does not want to give anyone the chance to not try to resolve the request on a first call and to just pass the responsibility to another telemarketer for lack of trying.



In your opinion, what technology has had the greatest positive impact on your customer satisfaction results? Cell phones. It enables our telemarketers to reach a client at any time for a faster turnaround time on requests.



Away from reality for a moment - Assume you have unlimited budgets and could change 3 things in your center, what would you change and why? 1) Everyone gets a corner office with an ocean view. 2) Free company car and gas budget. 3) Pay each CCC call center agent the largest salary in Costa Rica.



What do you see as the 3 key 'hot topics' in the industry today and what are you doing as a center to address these? 1. Limiting the agent’s internet search capacities. Web navigation should be work related only and have all other unnecessary pages blocked. 2. Competing in the global BPO industry. Costa Rica must remain competitive in price, quality and services offered. 3. The disadvantages regarding virtual agents. In my opinion, educating the client on the infrastructure, discipline and nuances of an onsite call center location that would offset any savings working with home based agents.



From a Human Resource 'HR' perspective, what initiatives do you rate as the most successful when it comes to retaining talent in your center? - Knowing their names. - Free retro video arcade - Secure and legal campaigns that the agents can be proud and tell their family what they do for a living. - 9 years of stability and growth. - CEO personally conducting soft skills and rhetoric training classes. - Prime location for easy transportation. - Strong online local presence. - Happy work environment



What are some of the common mistakes you see or hear others doing in this industry - mistakes etc. that we can all learn from? Giving the agents full web access at their work stations. Facebook and Youtube are company killers.



In your opinion, is the customer service you personally receive in your country getting better? Getting worse? Or staying the same compared to say a year ago? Getting worse. The online forums and websites that allow employees to bash their company, employer, co-workers or industry in general. Less focus on improvement than the gripes and challenges to work for a living than career advice. Yet, there are some sites that do share tips and tricks and do filter haters, trolls or disgruntled employees that hijack threads to just cause a stir.



Artificial agents - will they kill or support the contact center industry? And how? If someone makes a quality call and can fulfill the need of a customer, then I believe that anyone should have the right to take the call. If we can provide top service, then CCC phones will continue ringing. It is a fair shot for all and I am okay with some friendly competition and respect a phone artist with skills.



What are 3 ways you have fun in your contact center? Retro video arcade machine and air hockey table (free play) Friday popcorn (all you can eat and smells great) Birthday parties for everyone.



What's the best way to schedule staff? Human Resources have a transparent working relationship with all team members. All family obligations, health issues and psychological aspects must be taken into consideration to reduce attrition, tardiness and absenteeism. Priority schedules and perks only work when the agents feel that another has earned a preferred shift and that there is no resentment between coworkers. When there is a pattern of perfect attendance and time sheets, then it is obvious that the schedule fulfills the work/life balance the telemarketer requires to be successful.



Gamification - how does it affect the contact center performance? CCC has invested wisely in an employee "free play" retro arcade at our call center.



A solid ROI since day 1 because the telemarketing staff has enjoyed a spike in morale, increased online industry community support and a flattering local reputation in Costa Rica as a great call center environment run by generous owners. I will personally continue to reward my amazing staff by a pace of 1 new arcade machine per 44 new telemarketing agents hired and hitting their monthly quota.



Recess play has been lost in memories of youth and days long gone. Not at my call center. The recreational advantage at our call center speaks volumes. Once the word spread, the game room has been packed with our amazing staff having a great time.



Telemarketers and customer service agents may burn out after a period of time. That is a fact. CCC firmly believes that the more an agent stays away from their virtual cell phone world; the more they will increase their interpersonal relationship building among other employees.



We took a chance when most call centers do not utilize a common medium of old school retro arcade gaming. Many people in the outsourcing call center industry will question the distraction ratio, loss production or adverse effects towards an arcade game room. Well, the risk of an arcade game room was definitely worth the reward. The most common reaction from the agents is that they are "letting off steam". All telemarketers are able to function better by structuring their break times around a more productive activity than checking their email, text messaging or having a cigarette. The average call center agent will smoke a minimum of 4 fewer cigarettes a day via our game room. I always promote finding a healthy alternate than chain smoking outside in between calling sessions. We have noted that once a professional telemarketer leaves the game room, they feel recharged. From a scent perspective, they do not emit an odor of tobacco that carries on the calling floor.



All agents are given the option to arrive early to play the games or they may choose to stay inside and enjoy the machines during the evening while waiting for their ride to safely take them home. More new friendships have blossomed in the game room. The average age of our Costa Rican call center agents correspond with the virtual gaming boom that grew up mastering Nintendo has amazing skills.



Just like on a golf course, we are able to use a game room during a conversation, find alternate ways to focus and share BPO ideas than spending time in a board room with a projection screen and QA recordings. Bottom line, we have the option to have gamification meetings when communicating with today's new work place demographic.



Call centers and video games do have something in common regarding performance and success. A professional telemarketer's natural ability to become in sync with their rhythm, pace, concentration, decision making and a positive attitude emerge stronger through video games. BPO agents return to the phones in motion after going into the arcade during their break. Combining a gaming experience to help motivate, focus and relax the work place mind set is priceless and makes perfect sense.



Our Human Resources Department was intent on a positive learning experience through gamification.



How to reward your best staff - what do you do that makes them more loyal and perform better? Money is the best motivator. When they can produce solid metrics and increase margins, then everyone shares in the success accordingly. Pizza parties can only go so far.



Do you believe the future leaders of this industry are the people at the front line, or others coming in from other industry sectors or parts of the company and why? In my personal opinion from 15 years of experience, the best leaders in BPO have walked the same paths, in the same shoes and felt every pebble along the way as all call center employees.



Unless the CEO, supervisor or QA director has not put in their solid time of telephone inbound support, appointment setting or sales, they will never receive the level of respect or results they desire from their staff in the outsourcing industry.



Do you believe in the saying 'Happy Staff = Happy Customers' and why? Pure attitude dictates the majority of the results. Patience must be displayed and simple soft skills can convert the toughest customer into a thankful positive experience.



The agent must always remain consistent in their delivery for an endurance to handle an 8 hour shift. Shifting energy and changing phonetic patterns will only increase stress on the agent and will have them lose steam before the end of a shift.



Outsourcing your contact center to a 3rd party - good or bad and why? It all depends on your specific project and needs.



Personally, I like to control all aspects of my business when a word is given to all of my clients. Accountability is very important to my moral fiber and my persona. To find myself in an unlikely position where my reputation is solely based on a 3rd party is an uncomfortable option for my current business model.



http://www.outsourcingtocostarica.com COSTA RICA'S CALL CENTER FREE PLAY EMPLOYEE GAME ROOM



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYE04hh6BwM



COSTA RICA'S CALL CENTER FAN PAGE:



https://www.facebook.com/groups/23284906585/



BARRIO ARANJUEZ, 23RD STEET AND 11TH AVENUE. San Jose, Costa Rica



https://goo.gl/maps/4TXSs8zFeuo



call center,esl outsourcing,costa rica, BARRIO ARANJUEZ,1984 300D MERCEDES W123 LONGWAGON SEDAN LIMO, telemarketing,BPO, business process outsourcing,obamacare, customer service, lead generation, bilingual call center agent, virtual executive assistant,appointment setting, scriptwriting,rhetoric, telemarketing training, telesales,Costa Rica, telecommunications,seminar registering,direct mail campaign,near shore, bpo,obs,costa rica call center, telemarketing professor,Central America,management,public speaking,telephone, phone, cubicle,boiler room, script, rebuttal,call list,prospect,Outsourcing to Costa Rica,BPO call centers,Call center inbound calls,Call center management Costa Rica,Call center outbound calls,Call center outsourcing campaign,Call center outsourcing Costa Rica,Call center outsourcing jobs,Call center services Costa Rica,Call center software Costa Rica,Call center solution Costa Rica,Outsourcing call center Costa Rica,Call center telemarketing services,Bienvenido a la contratación externa en Costa Rica,El Cuidado del cliente ,Ventas avanzadas de Telemercadeo,Generación principal ,Colocación de una cita,Enfoque Inspecciones de Grupo,Ayudante Ejecutivo virtual,Escritura creativa de guión,EnTREnAMIEnTO AVAnZADO DE TELEMERCADEO,Registro de seminario y seguimiento,Correo directo de campaña,Recaudación de fondos,Reclutamiento,El DISEÑO WEB,PROGRAMACIOn POR COMPUTADORA,OBAMACARE, COMPU TICOS,COMPU TICAS, COMPU COSTA RICA, COSTA RICA COMPU, COSTA RICA INTERNET CAFE, CAFE INTERNET COSTA RICA, TICO COMPU, COMPU REPARACION COSTA RICA, COMPUTADORAS USADAS CR, COMPU REPARACIONES, COMPUTADORAS DE SEGUNDA, INTERNET CAFE CR, CAFE INTERNET CR

Sunday, June 25, 2017

CALL CENTER SALES JOB C500000 BASE PLUS COMMISSION

CALL CENTER SALES JOB C500000 BASE PLUS COMMISSION



CALL CENTER SALES JOB.

c500,000 BASE PLUS COMMISSION!

4001-7749

ADMINISTRACION@COSTARICASCALLCENTER.COM

7 AM - 4 PM

MONDAY - FRIDAY

AVENIDA 11 CALLE 23 BARRIO ARANJUEZ (CARMEN)

Multiple call center agents needed for outbound calls.

USA SHIPPING COMPANY!!!!

90% English.

WE ARE WILLING TO TRAIN THOSE WITHOUT SALES EXPERIENCE.

Monday through Friday schedule.

call us at 4001-7749


http://www.outsourcingtocostarica.com


FREE PLAY EMPLOYEE GAME ROOM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYE04hh6BwM

https://www.facebook.com/groups/23284906585/

https://goo.gl/maps/4TXSs8zFeuo



We are NOT a :
Sportsbook
Casino
Pharmacy
Stocks
Sweepstakes

Unishippers:

Launch Logistics, LLC is Currently looking for rock-stars to fill our open Account Executive positions. Come join an excited, rapidly growing team in the 3rd party logistics world!
Unishippers has been in business for 30 years and does 1.3 billion in annual revenue.
Responsibilities of the Account Executive*
 Contact and develop sales leads and close sales from not only your prospecting activities, but from qualified leads generated from a team that you will lead and mentor.
 Close the sale by addressing customer concerns, demonstrating empathy, & consistently moving the customer towards commitment.
 Give ongoing service to existing and new clients.
 Consistently identify new sources of business.
 Articulate ideas clearly and concisely, adjusting the message to match the audience.
Requirements of the Account Executive*
 College degree preferred in business or other related fields, but not required
 2+ years sales experience preferred, but not required
 Experiences in leadership, training, achievement & competitive environments
 Professionalism, energy, motivation, enthusiasm & integrity
 Computer proficiency
 Experience with training and mentoring sales staff preferred
 Demonstrates persistence, overcomes obstacles and achieves goals
Responsibilities of the Account Executive
 Contact and develop sales leads and close sales from not only your prospecting activities, but from qualified leads generated from a team that you will lead and mentor.
 Close the sale by addressing customer concerns, demonstrating empathy, & consistently moving the customer towards commitment.
 Give ongoing service to existing and new clients.
 Consistently identifies new sources of business.
 Articulate ideas clearly and concisely, adjusting the message to match the audience.
Requirements of the Account Executive
 College degree preferred in business or other related field, but not required

Friday, June 2, 2017

CCC ART DECO DESIGN

COSTA RICA'S CALL CENTER ART DECO DESIGN . BARRIO ARANJUEZ . 4001-7749 . WWW.COSTARICASCALLCENTER.COM

Sunday, May 14, 2017

CLASSIC 1984 MERCEDES 300D W123 LONG WHEELBASE LIMOUSINE COSTA RICA

CLASSIC 1984 MERCEDES 300D W123 LOMG WHEELBASE LIMOUSINE COSTA RICA: CCC purchased and is restoring a 1984 300d mercedes w123 long wheelbase sedan Limousine for all of COSTA RICA'S CALL CENTER'S clients. Her name is DAISY.

Richard Blank, the proud owner of a classic Mercedes Limo, wanted a similar customer relationship experience just like the famous REMINGTON STEELE back in the 1980s. Yet, there was a lot of work to do that is still in progress: a custom made wood Art Deco wet bar, new chrome, black interior, killer paint job, limo tint, new rims and restored classic hub caps. We changed her to an automatic transmission and placed in the best alarm and sound system. Finally, a very special mix of retro style for the personal touch while crusing in style the beautful costal and city highways of Costa Rica.

Monday, April 24, 2017

300D Mercedes W123 Long Wheelbase Sedan Costa Rica

CCC purchased and is restoring a 1984 300d mercedes w123 long wheelbase sedan Limousine for all of COSTA RICA'S CALL CENTER'S clients. Her name is DAISY. Richard Blank, the proud owner of a classic Mercedes Limo, wanted a similar customer relationship experience just like the famous REMINGTON STEELE back in the 1980s. Yet, there was a lot of work to do that is still in progress: a custom made wood Art Deco wet bar, new chrome, black interior, killer paint job, limo tint, new rims and restored classic hub caps. We changed her to an automatic transmission and placed in the best alarm and sound system. Finally, a very special mix of retro style for the personal touch while crusing in style the beautful costal and city highways of Costa Rica. (DAISY'S interior the day we bought her and before the restoration) http://bringatrailer.com/2015/08/18/stretch-1984-mercedes-benz-300d-in-costa-rica/ http://barnfinds.com/limo-face-off-mercedes-300d-vs-ford-granada/ The 1984 Mercedes 300D w123 Limousine offered a unique combination of luxury, exclusivity, economy and reliability that could not possibly be matched by any other brand making it the vehicle of choice by countless diplomats, executives and other such entities. These luxurious Mercedes 300D Long Wheelbase cars still command a strong demand internationally for its high degree of ride comfort and great spaciousness and predictably. Classic 300D Limos join the exclusive vehicle fleet of diplomatic embassies and the era's top celebrities and social elite. W123 production ended in January, 1986 with 63 final T-models rolling out. Most popular single models were the 240D (455,000 built), the 230E (442,000 built), and the 200D (378,000 built). Mercedes-Benz is celebrating an important anniversary for the W123 family of cars -- the ones known here in the states by names like 240D, 280E and 300TD. The Mercedes-Benz W123 is a now legendary series of flagship executive vehicles manufactured by Mercedes-Benz from 1975 until 1985 and was a successor to the earlier W114 and W115 series. From 1977, limited number of Long Wheel Base versions (3,425mm or 134.8") were produced by Mercedes-Benz with a 3.0L straight 5 cylinder (OM617.912) Diesel engine and these stretched sedans would comfortably seat 8 people and could be ordered as either a 240D, 50 or 300D model. The W123 series ended production in January 1986 with over 324,718 W123 series cars being built but with only 4,679 LWB Limousines! These diesel models are considered to have one of the most reliable engines ever produced and one of the key reasons for Mercedes popularity around the world today as the ultimate long distance and durable touring car with many models still being used around the globe as taxi cabs boasting many hundreds of thousands of miles on the clock. Mercedes-Benz introduced the W123 four-door versions in January, 1976. While there were some technical similarities to their predecessors, the new models were larger in wheelbase and exterior dimensions. The styling was also updated, although stylistic links with the W114 / W115 were maintained. Initially, all models except 280/280E featured quad unequal-size round headlights and the latter large rectangular units. When facelifted these units became standard across the range. All W115 engines were carried over, with the 3 litre 5-cylinder diesel model being renamed from "240D 3.0" to "300D" (as it had already been called before in North American markets). The only new engine was the 250's 2,525 cc inline-six (Type M123, a short-stroke version of the 2.8 litre six Type M110) that replaced the old 2,496 cc Type M114 "six". Diesel W123s never die, as the saying goes. They just go into hibernation until the next gas crisis. In September 1982 all models received a mild facelift. The rectangular headlights, previously fitted only to the 280/280E, were standardized across the board, as was power steering. Since February 1982 an optional five-speed manual transmission was available in all models (except the automatic-only 300 turbodiesel). It was 40 years ago last week that the new sedan premiered before the media at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France, kicking off a successful ten-year production run that would see more than 2.7 million examples roll out of the factories. The exterior design of the W123 may have been quiet and unassuming, representing a gradual evolution of the well-regarded W114/W115 family of smallish sedans that preceded it combined with styling cues of the larger W116 sedan. But it paved the way for the E-Class as we know it today in addition to proving to be one of the most indestructible cars out there, just like its boxy neighbor from Gothenburg that celebrated its 40th birthday a couple of years ago. In the spring of 1976, a coupé version was introduced on a shorter wheelbase than the saloon (2,710 mm (106.7 in) versus 2,795 mm (110.0 in)) for the saloon). This W123C/CE was available as a 230C (later 230CE) and as a 280C/CE in most markets; in North America there were additional 300CD versions with naturally aspirated, later turbocharged 3 litre diesel engines. Enthusiasm for the 123 series increased further in 1977 as this was the year in which Mercedes-Benz presented three additional body variants: the coupe, he long-wheelbase saloon, nd for the first time in the brand's history a factory-built estate wagon. In August 1977 Mercedes-Benz introduced the long-wheelbase version of the intermediate class saloon: the wheelbase of the W123 (3.43 metres) was 63 centimetres longer than that of the saloon (2.80 metres). That provided enough space for a third seat bench and made the car a comfortable executive company car or hotel limousine for seven/eight passengers. W123s are still with us as a readily-seen population of daily drivers on both coasts and everywhere in between, which is the most powerful reminder of their legacy It is a tribute to the car's instant popularity – and possibly to the caution built into the production schedules – that nine months after its introduction, a black market had developed in Germany for Mercedes-Benz W123s available for immediate delivery. Customers willing to order new cars from their local authorized dealer for the recommended list price faced waiting times in excess of twelve months. Meanwhile, models that were barely used and were available almost immediately commanded a premium over the new price of around DM 5,000. The Mercedes W123 is a range of executive cars produced by German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz between 1976 and 1985. The W123 models surpassed their predecessor, the Mercedes-Benz W114 models, as the most successful Mercedes, selling 2.7 million cars before replacement by the Mercedes-Benz W124 after 1985. The additional range of smaller Mercedes-Benz W201 models were introduced in 1982. Only the 250, 40 D and 300 D models were offered with the long wheelbase. The W123 line was continuously and relentlessly developed and improved and refined throughout its production cycle and by 1985 the series was near perfection and marked perhaps the ultimate expression of Mercedes long renowned and well deserved reputation for build quality, urability and longevity. From August 1977, long-wheelbase versions (3,425 mm (134.8 in)) were produced. These were available as 7/8 seater saloons with works bodies or as a chassis with complete front body clip, the latter serving as the base for ambulance and hearse bodies by external suppliers like Binz or Miesen. These "Lang" versions could be ordered as 240D, 300D and 250 models. Mercedes-Benz introduced the W123 four-door versions on 29 January 1976. While there were some technical similarities to their predecessors, the new models were larger in wheelbase and exterior dimensions. The styling was also updated, although stylistic links with the W114 / W115 were maintained. Initially, all models except 280/280E featured quad unequal-size round headlights and the latter large rectangular units. When facelifted, these units became standard across the range. All W115 engines were carried over, with the 3-litre 5-cylinder diesel model being renamed from "240D 3.0" to "300D" (as it had already been called before in North American markets). The only new engine was the 250's 2,525 cc inline-six (Type M123, a short-stroke version of the 2.8-litre six Type M110) that replaced the old 2,496 cc Type M114 "six". At the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, 1977 the W123T estate was introduced; the T in the model designation stood for "Touring and Transport". All engines derivative except "200TD" were available in the range. T production began in March, 1978 in Mercedes' Bremen factory. When it debuted in 1976 the W123 offered plenty of new features in addition to Stuttgart's durable brand of luxury, some of them trickling down from the large W116 sedan that would go on to become the S-Class. The W123 featured a double-wishbone front suspension, crumple zones, a collapsible steering column, ABS brakes, a range of economical new engines, and even airbags starting in the 1982 model year. Despite its imposing proportions and powerful engines, he Long-Wheelbase saloon was not mainly intended as a solely representational vehicle, ather, his rare Long Wheel Base body variant was intended to serve as a sophisticated touring car for several passengers for a variety of upscale purposes and When it first debuted, the sedan borrowed engines from its W114/W115 predecessors, but it also added a 2.5-liter six-cylinder M123 engine producing 129 hp. In 1978 the powerplant lineup was joined by an engine that became almost synonymous with this midsize sedan: the five-cylinder 300D Turbodiesel. In early 1979, the diesel models power output was increased; power rose from 55 PS (40 kW; 54 hp) to 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) in the 200D, from 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp) to 72 PS (53 kW; 71 hp) in the 240D and from 80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp) to 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp) in the 300D; at the same time, the 220D went out of production. The W123 also brought with it a new-for-Benz station wagon bodystyle, a fact that remains underappreciated to this day because of the ubiquity of Mercedes wagons. At the time the mere offering of an estate was a major step for the automaker, one that would also force various coachbuilders that offered station wagon conversions to reexamine their business models. Mercedes offered the W123 in coupe form as well, with a shorter wheelbase. The coupe actually arrived before the wagons did in 1978, with their assembly taking place at the Bremen factory. There was also an extra-long-wheelbase sedan with redesigned rear doors and passenger compartment that served as a limousine, primarily favored by embassies and luxury hotels. This version was much more popular overseas, and was positioned as an alternative to the W116 and W126 S-Class models. The first Mercedes turbo diesel production W123 appeared in September, 1979. This was the 300 TD Turbodiesel, available with automatic transmission only. In most markets, the turbocharged 5-cylinder 3 litre diesel engine (Type OM617) was offered only in the T body style, while in North America it was also available in saloon and coupé guises. In the spring of 1976, a coupé version was introduced on a shorter wheelbase than the saloon (2,710 mm (106.7 in) versus 2,795 mm (110.0 in)) for the saloon). This W123C/CE was available as a 230C (later 230CE) and as a 280C/CE in most markets; in North America there were additional 300CD versions with naturally aspirated, later turbocharged 3-litre diesel engines. In North America, buyers favored diesel engines for upmarket cars, while CAFE legislation meant that Mercedes-Benz North America had to lower their corporate average fuel economy. This led to the introduction of a few diesel models only sold in the United States It is a tribute to the car's instant popularity – and possibly to the caution built into the production schedules – that nine months after its introduction, a black market had developed in Germany for Mercedes-Benz W123s available for immediate delivery. Customers willing to order new cars from their local authorized dealer for the recommended list price faced waiting times in excess of twelve months. Meanwhile, models that were barely used and were available almost immediately commanded a premium over the new price of around DM 5,000. In the U.S., the W123 wore a slightly different fascia than in Europe and other markets in addition to much more prominent bumpers, courtesy of federal regulations. Still, the visual changes were on the mild side compared to some models -- the Peugeot 604, for instance -- and they didn't do much damage to the looks of the sedan. The American-market models have even been exported back to Europe by enthusiasts, as well as to various other countries that had no distribution network. June 1980 saw the introduction of new four-cylinder petrol engines (Type M102). A new 2 litre four with shorter stroke replaced the old M115, a fuel-injected 2.3 litre version of this engine (in 230E/TE/CE) the old carbureted 230. Both engines were more powerful than their predecessors. Production of the W123 ceased in January of 1986, with the W124 E-Class taking over for the model. The W124 would go on to become a legend in its own right, but it never really displaced its predecessor entirely. The W123 remains not only one of the most widely produced cars from Stuttgart but also one of the most important, even though hardly anyone is surprised by their continued presence on the roads in 2016. From August 1976, long-wheelbase versions (3,425 mm (134.8 in)) were produced. In 1980/81 the carbureted 280 versions went out of production; the fuel-injected 280E continued to be offered. These were available as 7/8 seater saloons with works bodies or as a chassis with complete front body clip, the latter serving as the base for ambulance and hearse bodies by external suppliers like Binz or Miesen. These "Lang" versions could be ordered as 240D, 300D and 250 models. At the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, 1977 the W123T estate was introduced; the T in the model designation stood for "Touring and Transport". All engines derivative except "200TD" were available in the range. T production began in March, 1978 in Mercedes' Bremen factory. It was the first factory-built Mercedes-Benz estate, previous estates had been custom-built by external coachbuilders, such as Binz. In early 1979, the diesel models' power output was increased; power rose from 55 PS (40 kW; 54 hp) to 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) in the 200D, from 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp) to 72 PS (53 kW; 71 hp) in the 240D and from 80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp) to 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp) in the 300D; at the same time, the 220D went out of production. W123 introduced innovations including ABS (optional from August, 1980), a retractable steering column and an airbag for the driver (optional from 1982). Power (vacuum servo) assisted disc brakes were standard on all W123s. Available options included MB-Tex (Mercedes-Benz Texturized Punctured Vinyl) upholstery or velour or leather upholstery, interior wood trim, passenger side exterior mirror (standard on T models), 5-speed manual transmission (European market only) 4-speed automatic transmission (standard in turbodiesel models), power windows with rear-seat switch cut-outs, vacuum powered central locking, rear-facing extra seats (station wagon only), Standheizung (prestart timer-controlled engine heating), self-locking differential, sun roof, air conditioning, climate control, "Alpine" horn (selectable quieter horn), headlamp wipers (European market only), Tempomat (cruise control), power steering (standard after 1982/08), seat heating, catalytic converter (available from 1984 for California only, from fall (autumn) 1984 also in Germany for the 230E of which one thousand were built). The first Mercedes turbo diesel production W123 appeared in September, 1979. This was the 300 TD Turbodiesel, available with automatic transmission only. In most markets, the turbocharged 5-cylinder 3-litre diesel engine (Type OM617) was offered only in the T body style, while in North America it was also available in saloon and coupé guises. June 1980 saw the introduction of new four-cylinder petrol engines (Type M102). A new 2-litre four with shorter stroke replaced the old M115, a fuel-injected 2.3-litre version of this engine (in 230E/TE/CE) the old carbureted 230. Both engines were more powerful than their predecessors. In 1980/81, the carbureted 280 versions went out of production; the fuel-injected 280E continued to be offered. In September 1982, all models received a mild facelift. The rectangular headlights, previously fitted only to the 280/280E, were standardized across the board, as was power steering. Since February 1982, an optional five-speed manual transmission was available in all models (except the automatic-only 300 turbodiesel). W123 production ended in January, 1986 with 63 final T-models rolling out. Most popular single models were the 240D (455,000 built), the 230E (442,000 built), and the 200D (378,000 built). The W123 introduced innovations including ABS (optional from August, 1980), a retractable steering column and an airbag for the driver (optional from 1982). Power (vacuum servo) assisted disc brakes were standard on all W123s. Available options included MB-Tex (Mercedes-Benz Texturized Punctured Vinyl) upholstery or velour or leather upholstery, interior wood trim, passenger side exterior mirror (standard on T models), 5-speed manual transmission (European market only), 4-speed automatic transmission (standard in turbodiesel models), power windows with rear-seat switch cut-outs, vacuum powered central locking, rear-facing extra seats (station wagon only), Standheizung (prestart timer-controlled engine heating), self-locking differential, sun roof, air conditioning, climate control, "Alpine" horn (selectable quieter horn), headlamp wipers (European market only), Tempomat (cruise control), power steering (standard after 1982/08), seat heating, catalytic converter (available from 1984 for California only, from fall (autumn) 1984 also in Germany for the 230E of which one thousand were built). 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