Lillian Vernon Moves Overnight Calls to India

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Cataloger Lillian Vernon is closing the midnight-to-7 a.m. shift at its call center in Virginia Beach, VA, and outsourcing the calls to a contact center in India, partly in response to the effect of Hurricane Isabel in September.


The hurricane closed its national distribution center in Virginia Beach for three days, said David Hochberg, vice president of public affairs for Lillian Vernon, Rye, NY. Because of that incident, the cataloger decided to set up a second inbound call center as a backup.


Peak holiday employment at the Lillian Vernon call center is about 1,100, Hochberg said. The entire national distribution center, of which the call center is a part, employs about 3,500 people.


All employees on the overnight shift are being offered jobs at other shifts, Hochberg said. Staffing the shift had been difficult due to the odd hours.


The overnight hours in the United States are daylight hours at the call center in India. Many companies have taken a "follow the sun" approach to call center staffing, using a network of domestic and outsourced overseas call centers to provide 24-hour teleservices coverage.


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