The work week is going to be a short one in the U.S. because of the Independence Day holiday, but there are still stories we’ve been following in the world of the outbound call center.
New technology is changing the way people interact with customer service. Americans are used to a wide variety of choices for products and services, but customer service has left a lot to be desired. The usual situation is for someone to call customer service, told to “please stay on the line,” get connected to a random customer service agent and if they were lucky, have their problem solved. A new trend toward social routing allows customers to choose their customer service representatives from a website, matching their skills to a customers’ needs and building customer loyalty.
Comcast has stimulated the Florida economy with its “Center of Excellence” call center in Ft. Myers. The center added 220 open positions, bringing the total number of people it employs in the state up to 1,800. Of course, as a large cable company, it has a large presence all over the country, not to mention its media properties, including NBCUniversal.
Volvo Construction Equipment, a subsidiary of the Swedish automotive company, has announced that it has opened a new campus in Shippensburg, Pa. The new facility will not only serve as its headquarters for North and South America, but will house its Customer Care Center. The complex will add an estimated 300 jobs to the region. It’s part of a strategy of shifting operations from Europe to North America.
Outbound call centers can get bad reputations, and telemarketers and spammers are the major reasons. As soon as a new communications technology is developed, someone will find a way to send unwanted advertising messages over it, and that seems to be the case with SMS. AdaptiveMobile estimates that there has been an increase in SMS spam. Canada has actually enacted a law, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which went into effect July 1. Whether that will stem the tide of spam, only time will tell. But like the junk fax controversy in the ‘80s and ‘90s, junk SMS messages cost mobile subscribers money in a lot of cases, so it looks like a step in the right direction.
A lawmaker in the Philippines, Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, has proposed that call center employees working the “graveyard shift” between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. should be paid more. He cited the stress that these workers go through taking calls from angry customers. As the call center industry depends on outsourcing, particularly in countries like the Philippines that have cheap labor conditions, it could affect the willingness of companies to locate call centers there.
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