Posts Tagged ‘Call Center’

Bill announced to fight outsourcing of call center jobs

April 3rd, 2012

Congressman Tim Bishop announced that his bipartisan bill to bar American companies that outsource call center jobs from receiving federal grants and loans has topped 100 cosponsors, an important milestone in the effort to compel a hearing on the legislation in the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Bishop’s bill, the U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act (HR 3596), has gained 106 co-sponsors including Congressman Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island). The legislation continues to gain momentum in the House as identity theft and sale of customers’ personal information by call center employees in India and the Philippines have been exposed in stunning new reports by the British and Australian media.

Australian TV Newsmagazine Today Tonight reports that an employee at a call center operated in the Philippines for Australian phone company Telstra offered to reduce a customers’ $557 (AUS) mobile phone bill to $99 (AUS) in exchange for a $60 (AUS) bribe.

“After I sort of had a chuckle at it, I realized it was like this is quite serious ‘cause this woman has access to my credit card account details in Telstra and all my personal details,” said Telstra customer Sam McNeil in the report, which has received over 100,000 views on YouTube.

An in-depth investigation by reporters for the Times of London who set up a sting operation to snare one of the criminals who make up a “army of data traders selling swathes of personal information – ranging from credit card details and medical records to loans data and satellite TV information – that has been stolen from India’s enormous network of call centres” is available at:

“These recent reports of theft and misuse of sensitive information from British and Australian customers of Asian call centers are deeply disturbing, and it is impossible to believe that the financial and medical information of Americans has not been similarly compromised,” said Congressman Tim Bishop. “It is clear that overseas call centers simply cannot provide the same level of security for sensitive personal data as facilities in the US, and Americans should be guaranteed the option of a domestic call center to conduct their business. Taxpayer dollars should not be supporting companies that choose protecting their bottom line over protecting their customers.”

“American companies should be taking all measures necessary to protect the identities and personal information of their customers, and these incidents strengthen the case to keep call centers in the United States,” said Congressman Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent. “Furthermore, it is important that we do all we can to preserve American jobs and prevent them from moving overseas. This bill ensures that companies receiving taxpayer-funded federal aid or tax incentives don’t use those incentives to move their call centers abroad. I stand behind this legislation that not only protects American jobs but ensures that the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn are protected by American laws that safeguard their personal information and protect them from identity theft.”

The U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act would require the U.S. Department of Labor to track firms that move call center jobs overseas; the firms would then be ineligible for any direct or indirect federal loans or loan guarantees for five years. The provision is partially a response to the practice of companies taking millions in incentives from local taxpayers to open call centers in the U.S., only to off-shore their operations a short time later and leave local communities devastated and still paying the bill.

Bishop’s bill also requires overseas call center employees to disclose their location to US consumers and gives customers the right to be transferred to a US-based call center upon request.

The Communications Workers of America, who represent 150,000 call center employees across the United States, have been strong supporters of the U.S. Call Center and Consumer Protection Act.

“Americans are fed up with good-paying, family-supporting call center jobs here in the United States being shipped overseas,” said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins, who began his career in a U.S.-based Verizon call center. “Now, to hear that personal information is being stolen at overseas call centers just days after T-Mobile USA announces it will be closing seven call centers in the USA — affecting 3,300 American workers – just makes your blood boil.”


Call centers will post 8.6% of GDP growth by 2016

February 1st, 2012

PHILIPPINE call centers will contribute 8.6 percent to the GDP by 2016, Science Secretary Mario G. Montejo said yesterday.

“This is our estimate of the value of services that are done in the Philippines then exported by the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry,” said Gigi Virata, senior executive director of the Business Processing Association Philippines (BPAP). “Then we compared it with total GDP and came up with the 8.6 percent figure.”

“That is big,” she told Malaya Business Insight, “as big as the current contribution of Filipinos working overseas.”

The World Bank estimates that the Philippines received in 2011 about $23 billion from 10 million Filipinos working abroad.

According to BPAP figures, export revenues from the IT-BPO industry is expected to grow from $10.9 billion in 2011, or 5.4 percent of GDP, to $25 billion, or 8.6 percent of GDP, by 2016 when the national economy is expected to be worth $277 billion.

It also translates to 4.5 million jobs by then, up from 2.2 million jobs in 2011, Montejo said in a press briefing.

The industry posted a 22 percent growth rate in 2011, said Alejandro P. Melchor III, deputy executive director of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), which is part of the Department of Science and Technology.


In 2011, the BPO industry contributed approximately $11 billion in export revenues, about 640,000 direct jobs and around 1.5 million indirect jobs like construction and services, he said.

“US anti-outsourcing legislation is unlikely to pass,” Melchor said, adding the move is related to US presidential elections this year to appease American voters worried over domestic unemployment. “It is unlikely to stop outsourcing on the slim chance the bill passes,” he added.

The Philippines intends to become the IT-BPO market leader in the United Kingdom and Australia, Melchor said, adding it will expand its footprint in Europe and Japan as well.

The Philippines surpassed India in 2010 and is now the world leader in voice call centers.

The IT-BPO industry is recession-proof and resistant to the global economic slowdown, Melchor said.

“We remain optimistic with the annual double-digit growth in the past 10 years regardless of the global economic situation,” said Louis Casambre, executive director of ICTO.

“We intend to attain world leadership in four more fast-growing services,” Melchor said, pointing to health care information management, finance and accounting, human resources and animation and game development.

The country also intends to double its IT market share, engineering service and multilingual outsourcing, he said.


IT outsourcing services range from analysis and design to network operations, softwate development to gaming. Business process services include contact centers, banking and insurance, telecoms, health care, oil and gas, animation and legal process and patent research.

Engineering services cover product concept, simulation and design, computer-aided design and manufacturing, embedded software, architecture design and building management models, among many other services.

“We aim to augment to triple the size of the IT talent pool by 2016, improve employability by 200 percent and develop the core skills required by the industry,” Melchor said, pointing out the size and employability of the talent pool is a key constraint to growth.

“The Philippines have matches up very well with some of fastest growing segments of the global IT-BPO industry,” Melchor said. “The demand is tremendous, and the Philippines has risen as a top contender for the demand.”

Montejo said the industry is now focusing on the countryside, in the so-called “new wave” hubs of Cordillera-Ilocos in San Fernanco, La Union, Dagupan and Baguio; Central Luzon (Angeles/Clark, Cabanatuan, Olongapo/Subic and Tarlac); Western Visayas (Bacolod and Cebu); Central Visayas (Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Dumaguete and Tagbilaran); Davao-General Santos; and Metro Manila.


Companies no longer finding call-center outsourcing profitable

January 16th, 2012

Mary Murcott, CEO of Novo 1, a Fort Worth company that handles call-center outsourcing, was getting ready to head out of the country on vacation last Monday when she got an invite to appear at the White House.

She reworked her plans.

Murcott, whose company was a founding member last year of the Jobs4America Coalition, participated in a private White House round table Wednesday with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and several other executives, and then appeared on an afternoon panel broadcast on C-Span. (Visit our Tarrant Business blog at for more on the C-Span broadcast.)

Murcott’s pitch: The outsourcing of U.S. call-center jobs overseas, figuring in all costs and lost revenue, is more expensive than maintaining U.S. call centers.

And Murcott pointed out that call-center jobs are returning to the United States.

“They’re coming back, but nobody’s talking about it,” she said during the panel.

Why not?

“Nobody wants to talk about the mistakes they’ve made,” she said. Also, companies may have brought back some, but not all, of the call center jobs they’ve sent offshore, putting them in a bind if they want to boast. And “a lot of companies that have come back see it as a competitive edge,” she said.

She points to statistics such as that the percentage of U.S. high-tech call-center jobs that were offshore has dropped from 30 percent in recent years to 12 percent.

Murcott estimates that her firm can save companies 15 percent on their call-center costs by bringing the jobs back to the U.S.

“The reason call centers went over there 10, 15, 20 years ago no longer exists,” Murcott said during the panel discussion. “It was the easy calls we sent over there. What’s left is the contextual, the complex problem-solving skills.”

Language and other barriers quickly get in the way, she said. It may take a customer more calls — meaning more time for the call center — to resolve a problem. Frustrated customers won’t be as amenable to sales pitches or buying other products, she said.

“I think people have done a lot of brand damage by putting their call centers over there,” she said.

Novo 1, founded in 1984 as American Airlines Telemarketing Services and sold by AA in 1999, has call centers employing about 2,500 people at CentrePort in Fort Worth; Denison; Billings, Mont.; Waukesha, Wis.; and Holland, Mich. The CentrePort center employs about 1,200. The Denison center, opened last year on a seasonal contract from Harry & David, peaked at 500 employees late in the year and now employs about 300, said Jack Wilkie, Novo 1′s chief marketing officer.

Novo 1 works with clients in healthcare and insurance, transportation and logistics, utilities, retail, government and automotive. About 90 percent of calls handled by the centers are inbound, from customers, Wilkie said.

Six Flags still has slots open for job interviews

Six Flags Over Texas is still filling interview slots for its 2012 job fairs, today, Saturday and Sunday. Interviews are by appointment only and can be set up after applying online at

The park is hiring 700 seasonal workers. Jobs include guest services, food service, games, retail, ride operations, park services, security, entertainment and revenue control. The park employed 3,550 seasonal employees during the 2011 season.

For information contact the Six Flags Human Resources office at 817-640-8900, ext. 4200. Six Flags Over Texas will open for the 2012 season March 3.

Wal-Mart to hire 300 for new Crowley store

Wal-Mart plans to hire 300 people for its new Crowley store, 1221 Farm Road 1187, scheduled to open in March. Applications will be taken from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at its Crowley hiring center, 100 S. Texas St. For information, go to Wal-Mart’s careers site, The store manager, Mark Fleming, says he’s hiring full-time and part-time employees, including supervisors. Benefits are available for eligible employees, full and part time.

Lots for upscale homes finished in Southlake

Hines, the international real estate firm behind Southlake’s Carillon development, said it has completed an initial phase of 94 home lots.

Several of the lots have been purchased by or committed to Atwood Custom Homes, Cambridge Luxury Patio Homes, Tresor Custom Homes and Atrium Fine Homes, the company said. Construction is expected to begin this month.

Carillon is a 285-acre mixed-used development at the northeast corner of Texas 114 and White Chapel Road.

“Carillon will provide the ultimate combination of upscale living, unmatched amenities and an urban community of retail, dining and entertainment,” said Jeff Kennemer, a Hines senior project manager.

The development will feature European-styled architecture, single-family garden homes and million-dollar custom estate homes, 68 acres of parks and green space, landscaped boulevards, a spalike swim center, two lakes and a community sport court.

Hines said construction has also started on elements of the Plaza District and Corporate District, the core of the community’s retail and office area that includes a $21 million Children’s Medical Center that opened in 2011.

Fort Worth Herd trail boss wins awards

Trail boss Kristin Jaworski and the Fort Worth Herd have been honored with a Patriot Award and the Above and Beyond Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department volunteer agency.

The awards honor employers that have personnel policies that allow employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve.

Jaworski and the Fort Worth Herd were nominated by Jesse Hayden, a Herd drover. Hayden starting working with the Herd in May and has recently been deployed to Afghanistan with the Army National Guard.

Service members nominate employers by submitting a narrative describing the ways their employer supports their service. All nominated employers receive the Patriot Award and are eligible for higher awards based on their level of support described in the nomination. The Above and Beyond Award recognizes employers who have gone beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty.

“We are incredibly proud that Kristin and the Fort Worth Herd have received this recognition,” said David DuBois, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau, which oversees the Herd.

Jaworski has served as trail boss of the Fort Worth Herd since 2002. The Herd is seen twice a day in the Stockyards.


Call Center Outsourcing Provider IRT Selects HireIQ Solutions

October 27th, 2011

Call center outsourcing provider Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has selected HireIQ Solutions’ virtual interviewing application to support employee recruitment and acquisition processes. As part of the agreement, IRT will leverage HireIQ’s InterviewIQ to screen prospective employees in its four largest U.S.-based call centers.

The agreement also enables IRT to expand its use of InterviewIQ within its call center outsourcing operations in the future.

Officials with HireIQ stated that the company provided IRT with a one-month trial to help prove the value of its virtual interviewing technology before the company formally committed to a purchase. During this trial period, IRT reported that it was able to screen significantly more candidates and reduce the amount of time required to conduct an initial telephone interview with a candidate, a press release revealed.

“Our employees are absolutely key to providing world-class service to our clients,” said Dick Eychner, president of IRT, in a statement.

“Our clients represent some of the most recognizable and demanding names in the mobility and home entertainment markets, among others. They hold us to a very high standard of performance and our hiring practices help to ensure we constantly meet or exceed their expectations,” Eychner added.

He also revealed that since the company started using InterviewIQ, the quality of prospective employees has risen dramatically.

HireIQ’s virtual interviewing technology enables recruiters to focus their efforts on the detailed evaluation of applicants, rather than trying to get them on the telephone for an initial interview.

According to company officials, InterviewIQ uses media-rich web and voice response technologies to lead an applicant through a series of text-based and voice response questions that are configured to each customer’s unique requirements. Interviews conducted through the company can be designed to test the applicant’s customer service aptitude, critical thinking, math skills, grammar proficiency and communication skills.

Joe Gruca, chief executive officer of HireIQ said that IRT has gained a well-deserved reputation for unparalleled service by focusing on the recruitment and development of high-quality and highly motivated employees. “We are delighted that InterviewIQ is providing value to IRT’s recruiting team and we look forward to the time when IRT extends our footprint to its offshore operations.


Are Companies Moving Their Call Center Outsourcing Operations Away from India?

October 18th, 2011

When some people first hear the term call center outsourcing, they automatically picture a facility abroad (typically in India) where locals are answering phones all hours of the day, boasting fake Americanized names and reading from a script.

However, a recent article in the Washington Post written by Rama Lakshmi highlights the increasingly popular trend of call center outsourcing operations moving away from India. Although India remains the preferred destination for IT support, the country is no longer known as the call center capital of the world since salaries and other business costs have grown significantly within the past year. Currently, a larger number of call center outsourcing employees are working within the Philippines and Malaysia rather than in India, industry experts revealed.

But, why the sudden drive for call center outsourcing operations in the Philippines and Malaysia? Companies are beginning to see multiple benefits including reduced costs, a large pool of English speakers to choose from, and increased government incentives, the article revealed.

“India absolutely cannot take the voice-based call-center business for granted anymore,” said Sujit Bakshi, president of the corporate affairs and business services group at Tech Mahindra, in a statement.

To combat companies relocating their call center outsourcing facilities, some Indian companies have take certain actions including hiring less expensive workers from small Indian towns or even switching to high-end back-office work. However, it seems these steps may have not been enough as the National Association of Software and Service Companies stated that within the past three years, 13 distinct Indian call center companies have opened offices in the Philippines.

“The growth in the Philippines is also being driven, to a large extent, by Indian outsourcing companies that are setting up operations there,” Sangeeta Gupta, the association’s senior vice president commented.

Some other countries that have seen recent expansion in call center outsourcing operations include Indonesia and Vietnam, two countries that boast a large number of English speakers as well as a high amount of government support that will pull in several outsourcing businesses. Analysts add that these countries could also see significant in the next few years.

Furthermore, the Philippines earns about $5 billion annually from call center outsourcing. This is largely due to the fact that Filipinos and Americans share common cultural distinctions, which makes it much easier for outsourcing centers to get adjusted.

“They think like Americans,” Bakshi added, adding that Filipinos “drive on the right side of the road, sing American songs, watch American boxing and play basketball.”

“Many of these decisions about who and where to outsource these operations are still being taken in India, because of the experience and expertise we have,” Gupta concluded. “India continues to be the hub. We are even providing training to centers in the Philippines and working with their universities to develop six-week courses. This signals the maturing of our industry.”

To see where the future of the call center outsourcing industry heads, stay tuned to TMCnet.


Call Center Outsourcing Provider VMC Adds New Jobs in San Antonio

August 30th, 2011

VMC, a technology consulting and call center outsourcing company, announced it will add 40 new jobs this week at their Customer Care and Technical Support Center at Brooks City-Base.

The company is on a hiring spree and it also plans to add 120 new jobs to be filled by the end of September in San Antonio.

In April this year, VMC Consulting announced the opening of its Customer Care Center in San Antonio, Texas. The call center outsourcing center, located at 3300 Sidney Brooks Rd. Bldg. 532 in San Antonio, is a 35,000 square foot state of the art, 600-seat call center on the Brooks City-Base campus.

The call center outsourcing company is creating several opportunities to the people in San Antonio. The Support Center provides call center customer support services to consumers. VMC will be hiring Tier I support agents and quality assurance agents to begin working in a call center outsourcing environment, company officials said.

The growth of VMC has been significant over the past few months. The call center outsourcing company opened the Brooks City-Base location in December 2010, and started full-time call center outsourcing operations in January 2011.

“We continue to grow our operations to support our customers, and are happy to bring more new jobs to the San Antonio area,” said Kristin Carrico, chief operating officer at VMC, in a statement. “We have had great cooperation and support from the community, and continue to invest in our operations here.”

The 35,000 square foot facility is a newly furnished, 600-seat call center with expanded cafeteria on the Brooks City-Base campus.

VMC partners with businesses for competitive advantages through the effective application of people, process and technology. Using proven methodologies and talent and resources, VMC delivers targeted solutions for the unique business needs of its customers.


Call Center Outsourcing: Home agents Q&A

August 23rd, 2011

One of the biggest transformations seen in today’s call center outsourcing industry lies with the increasing usage of home-based agents. It’s really a paradigm shift, changing the whole dynamic of the call center and providing businesses with access to a broader scope of talent.
As more agents move into these home settings, this trend is met by several internal and client concerns, around security, agent training, quality control and technology. Fortunately, the market has matured to a point where these concerns are not morphed into challenges or inefficiencies, as call centers possess the technology and controls to make work-at-home agents a win-win proposition.
Traditional concerns fall under four areas:
1). Data privacy and security: Many clients fear home-based environments lack lower levels of data control and security over in-house settings. While it’s understandable, it’s not a realistic concern. As long as the proper infrastructure is in place, the same level of security can be reached within the home settings as it is within the four walls of the call center.
Today’s call centers place stringent controls over the type of data at-home agents can both access and view. In many cases, an agent, whether at home or in the call center, will lack access to potentially vulnerable business data in the first place. Furthermore, comprehensive background checks of potential agents ensure you’re hiring the right people, with the right mix of talent and skills to succeed at home.
Strict policies around dedicated work environments are also commonly implemented. Examples might include requiring a separate office space within the home dedicated to the agent’s work, as well the restriction of children, pet and outside noises that may compromise a professional environment.
2). Employee training/coaching: Skeptics might question whether an at-home agent is equipped with the proper skills and background knowledge to effectively focus on client objectives, especially if they live hundreds of miles away from the call center. Yet as technology continues to evolve in today’s connected world, this concern can be eased.
A multi-faceted approach to training gives home-based agents the skill set and familiarity with clients to serve the most dynamic customer service needs. This can be achieved through instructor-led or self-paced training with online assessments and test and knowledge checks. Role playing and simulations can also be beneficial. Keeping open dialogues and regular coaching sessions is key.
3). Technology: The call center industry is rapidly evolving from a technology standpoint, with the four walls of the call center adopting new, innovative technologies each day. Clients might worry at-home agents lack access to the high level technology needs that drive better business.
Call center technologies, including core ACD/Dialer, CRM and WFM applications, are now accessed through centralized data centers within the enterprise or through SaaS (News – Alert) providers over the Internet. The at-home agent now has as much network and computer power available through broadband Internet and consumer PCs as the in-center agent, providing ready access to the same new innovative call center technologies.
4). Quality performance: Some might question whether a home agent is continually focused on the task at hand, free from the distractions and background noise of their own home environments.
The reality, however is far from that. At-home agents fall under the same quality control processes employed within call centers, with the same mechanisms that control the customer contact distribution. Management can listen into calls, monitor activity or run real-time performance reports at any given moment. And as stated above, at-home employees can be subjected to stringent dedicated work environment policies.


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