Normally, the closing of a 750-seat contact center is bad news. With Citibank's new announcement, however, the news is good for most of the agents themselves, though perhaps bad for the City of Albuquerque. Citibank has announced its intent to shut down a major Albuquerque contact center facility, but it's not eliminating most of the jobs: about 700 of the employees will continue to work as representatives for Citibank, but they will work from their homes, reports Kob.com.
The sudden announcement, made Wednesday by Citibank, a subsidiary of the Citigroup Corporation, will affect a large facility located just east of the Balloon Fiesta Park in northeast Albuquerque. But city officials confirmed Wednesday evening that 700 of the employees will begin working from home with their pay and benefits remaining the same. Roughly 50 employees will be losing their jobs. The company, however, says that it plans to help them find work both inside and outside Citibank.
The changes are part of the company’s corporate strategy to reduce cost. According to Citigroup’s website, the company reported a net income of $10.6 billion last year.
Bank officials told KRQE-TV news that the company is looking at the cost effectiveness of its consumer banking operations while giving employees flexible work options.
Many companies with large, expensive contact center demands are turning to work-at-home models, now that technology has caught up, allowing employees to log in from home via cloud-based customer service applications and voice over IP (VoIP) telephone connectivity. With this model, the agent needs only a PC with a broadband connection and a headset in order to take calls and utilize the company's support software and systems. In this way, companies save a lot of money on physical contact center facility overhead, such as rent, real estate taxes, heating and air conditioning and building and parking lot maintenance.
The news may not be quite so good for municipalities, who lose out on business and facility taxation.