Call Center Openings: Centralized Marketing, Transnational Diversified Create Venture

Centralized Marketing Co., Cordova, TN, partnered with Transnational Diversified Group to create a jointly owned venture, e-Performax Center Corp., and open a 1,200-seat call center in October in Manila, the Philippines. Centralized Marketing said it targeted the Philippines as a call center location because of problems with turnover at its U.S. call center. Though the 10 percent turnover rate there is well below industry standards, the training costs associated with the constant influx of new employees made domestic expansion costs prohibitive, Centralized Marketing said. Philippine call center workers view their jobs as a career, Centralized Marketing said, and are expected to have a turnover rate of less than 1 percent in the new facility. The company partnered with Philippines-based Transnational to benefit from its experience in local hiring, training and technology.

Consumer Direct of America, Santa Ana, CA, will double the size of its call center operations in Las Vegas as part of an effort to integrate its contact center technology into its national mortgage call center operations. Consumer Direct presently operates two call centers, a 13,000-square-foot telesales center and a 7,000-square-foot mortgage processing center, in Las Vegas. The expansion will enable Consumer Direct subsidiary Las Vegas Mortgage to expand its staff of loan officers in the Las Vegas mortgage call center facility. Details of the expansion and how many new agents will be added were not disclosed. Consumer Direct has been piloting a mortgage lead-generation program at the call center since late June. As of the end of July, the pilot had generated 300 leads. Loan officers for Las Vegas Mortgage, who number 200, follow up and close the leads. Consumer Direct also operates a 5,000-square-foot call center in Santa Ana and a 3,000-square-foot branch in Denver. The company has 350 employees.

Delta Air Lines, Atlanta, plans to open a 49,650-square-foot contact center for reservations in Miramar, FL, in fall 2003. Delta's newest call center will employ 400 sales representatives and have a capacity of 900 employees. It will replace Delta's current call center for the South Florida region, located in Coral Gables, FL, and one of 20 Delta call centers worldwide. The Coral Gables center handles an average of about 1 million calls monthly. Delta said it expects its call center capacity to grow at the new location and to incorporate new contact technologies, including automated service options for customers and speedier access to booking and flight schedule information.

Stream International, Canton, MA, a customer relationship management services outsourcer, selected Watertown, NY, as the location of its next customer call center. The company entered into a 10-year lease for a building in downtown Watertown and expects to have the facility operational by October. The center will employ 700 workers. Stream said it is recruiting for all positions at the facility and plans to hire for site management positions from recruits who live in the Watertown area. With the new facility, Stream will operate five customer contact centers in the United States.

The Connection, Burnsville, MN, an inbound call center service agency, will open a 200-seat call center in Jamestown, NY, in November. It is expected to generate 300 jobs for the Jamestown area. It will serve East Coast clients of The Connection. The company selected Jamestown for its 11th call center because of its large pool of educated job candidates with a rural work ethic, said Fred Weiner, president of The Connection. The Connection also operates call centers in rural areas in Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. The company has clients in wireless, catalog, direct response television and financial services.

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