Call Center Openings: Merk-Medco Plan Customer Center in Tampa, FL

Merck-Medco, Whitehouse Station, NJ, will launch a 125,000-square-foot customer care call center in Tampa, FL, by the end of the year. The new center will have a capacity for 1,000 employees. By year's end, 200 new employees will be in place, with 400 additional employees being added in each of the succeeding two years. Merck-Medco, the pharmaceutical benefits management arm of drug maker Merck & Co., said an aggressive employee recruitment campaign began at the end of September. The call center will be a licensed pharmacy. Although it will not dispense medicines, the facility will provide one-on-one patient care to Merck-Medco customers, a Merck-Medco executive said. Staffers will include licensed pharmacists, along with normal customer service representative and management personnel. The center will be capable of handling 200,000 inbound inquiries a week and up to 10 million each year. Representatives will answer routine health plan and billing questions along with complex inquires about drugs and drug interactions.

Americall, Naperville, IL, has opened a new call center in South Bend, IN. The center was built with assistance from local economic development agencies. Americall now operates 10 call centers in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, employing 3,000 people. Its newest center opened in August and was announced in late September. Further details were not disclosed. Americall is a teleservices agency specializing in the insurance, financial and credit industries.

ATEC Group, Commack, NY, opened a new call center in October at an undisclosed location in India. The new facility will enable the company, which also has call centers in the United States, to provide round-the-clock teleservices, including outbound telemarketing, help desk and customer support, and back-office processing. ATEC Group is a systems integrator and provider of single-source technology solutions.

Bank of America, Los Angeles, announced earlier this month that it planned to expand its call centers in Pasadena, Glendale and Irvine, CA. More than 400 new positions will be created at the three call centers over the next several months, the company said. The Pasadena center handles collections, while the call center in Irvine is used for mortgage processing. The customer service center in Glendale helps service Bank of America's more than 3 million customers.

Covista Communications, Little Falls, NJ, moved its corporate headquarters and opened a new call center in Chattanooga, TN, the company announced earlier this month. The new call center is in a former department store and has a capacity of 200 seats. Covista is also planning the construction of a telecommunications switching and interconnection facility in Chattanooga. The company said the move was made to take advantage of substantially lower real estate and labor costs at the new location. Covista, a long-distance telecommunications, Internet and data services provider, said it would retain a presence in New Jersey.

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