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Telecom Moving Call Center Jobs; Philippines to Benefit

February 04, 2009
In a time of job loss, one area that seems to continue to benefit from company budget cuts is the offshore call center market. The Philippines should gain the latest offshoot as Telecom Corp., New Zealand’s largest telephone company plans to move an additional call center jobs to this country in the next 18 months.

Tracy Withers reported this latest move in a Bloomberg (News - Alert) article, citing Telecom’s drive to reduce operating costs. The company is attempting to offset its profit decline while also facing increased competition.

Telecom has also been dealing with the expense of meeting a government directive to separate into three units. A year of trials to examine current practices and determine best moves resulted in the company retaining roughly 550 residential call center positions in New Zealand while also shifting positions to the Philippines.

“We always said we would not make proposals until after the exhaustive trials were complete, and we’ve stuck to that promise,” said Alan Gourdie, CEO Telecom Retail, in a company statement.

“Put simply, if the customer experience offshore could not be proven to match the experience provided by New Zealand-based call centers, we did not proceed.”

The Auckland-based company told Withers in an e-mailed statement that Manila will house 700 call center jobs, while 1,600 positions will remain in New Zealand after the restructure.  

The year-long trials demonstrated to company decision-makers that staff located offshore delivered strong results in areas where specific technical knowledge was important. Approximately 155 jobs designed to support the company’s high-speed Internet service will be moved.

Telecom reported that it plans to offer redeployment to reduce the number of workers it must dismiss. The final decision on relocation will be made once company officials complete talks with workers.

“With the trials complete, we will strike a strong balance between offshore and New Zealand call centre positions that will deliver great customer service, and achieve the cost savings necessary at a time of challenging economic conditions,” added Gourdie.

While these changes for Telecom are expected to better position the company for growth and profit maximization, the internal impact could slow the realization of these benefits. The company’s efforts to take care of its employees are sure to help streamline changes, although morale could suffer, which could trickle into the quality of customer support.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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