Call Center Openings

Budget Group Inc., Lisle, IL, parent of company of Budget Rent a Car Corp., opened a new call center this month in Redding, CA. The 250-seat call center will handle inbound reservations and outbound marketing calls. The center will also field inbound customer service inquiries for Ryder TRS Inc., a Budget Group subsidiary that is the nation's second-largest truck rental company. Currently, the call center has 200 employees. Budget Group has call centers in Carrollton and Wichita Falls, TX, Lemoore, CA, Tampa, FL, and Toronto. Four of those call centers have opened since April 1999.

Cerida Corp., Andover, MA, a customer relationship management firm, opened a Web-enabled call center in Pittsfield, MA, this month. The 20,000-square-foot call center will contain 140 seats and house 155 employees. The center will perform outbound telemarketing and will use inbound Internet technologies, including live online chat. The center will be used to help Cerida clients identify target markets and generate sales leads. The center will service clients with complex products, services and sales processes, the company said.

Cross Country Automotive, Boston, announced plans this month to open a 37,000-square-foot contact center in Sebring, FL. The center will employ more than 365 people and is scheduled to open in June. Cross Country Automotive Services, a member of The Cross Country Group of customer-service firms, provides customer relationship management, direct marketing and emergency roadside assistance for automotive clients. The company examined more than 100 locations on the Eastern seaboard for the 260-seat call center before choosing Sebring. The center will provide emergency response services for people covered under new car warranty programs, insurance policies and memberships.

Electronic Data Systems Corp., Plano, TX, announced plans this month to open its second contact center in the Cape Breton Island region of Canada. Located in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, the 55,000-square-foot center will handle inbound customer service inquiries for the company's North American clients. The center will be equipped to handle voice, fax, e-mail and Web communications. The scheduled date of completion for the still unconstructed center was not disclosed. The company picked Port Hawkesubry because of its stable, well-educated work force and its high level of telecommunications infrastructure. The company said it was building on the success of its 700-employee call center in Sydney, Nova Scotia, also in Cape Breton Island region.

NTELOS, Waynesboro, VA, purchased a 100,000-square-foot building in Portsmouth, VA, for $6.8 million to house its customer contact center. The center will take up 30,000 square feet of the facility. The center will serve NTELOS digital wireless customers in the vicinities of Richmond, Norfolk and Hampton Roads, VA. The center employs 117 people and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is equipped to receive voice, e-mail and fax communications.

Prestige International, San Francisco, this month announced the opening of a new division of its call center operations in San Francisco's financial district. The center is expected to employ 150 agents by the middle of this year. It offers service 24 hours a day, seven days a week and employs multilingual agents. It is equipped to handle live chat, e-mail and fax, in addition to voice communications. The center serves clients with catalog order processing, technical support and travel services. The company plans to add work-at-home call agents to complement its staff at the call center.

RMH Teleservices, Bryn Mawr, PA, last month announced the opening of a new 350-workstation Canadian call center in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The company also said it plans to open four new call centers in March with a total of 1,100 workstations. The locations of the planned call centers were not disclosed. The call centers were created in response to increasing demand from the company's telecommunications, financial services and technology clients. RMH Teleservices recently shut down several call centers after experiencing lower-than-expected revenues at the end of 2000. The number and locations of the closed call centers was not revealed. The company said it could not reopen the closed centers because the facilities and agent skill sets were not compatible with the new jobs the company received.

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