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Thread: Call Centers: Another Doomed Industry?

  1. #1

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    Call Centers: Another Doomed Industry?

    Well, for all the cities out there who think back offices and "call centers" can replace their dead and departed industrial base:

    Bank of America has announced that it is laying off hundreds of its call center/back office employees. The real kicker is that it has used the H1B Visa program to temporarily bring in hundreds of Indian nationals. If the current call center employees do not successfully train their replacements to do their jobs (back in India for 1/4 the minimal American wages), the current employees will receive no severance pay.

    I love the Global Marketplace! Hugh McColl or his replacement will probably get an extra $3,000,000 bonus for this.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    So let me make sure I understand this...

    The replacements are being trained by the guys sho are losing their jobs?

  3. #3

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    Yep.

    What would Jesus do?

    (Not a dig on religion in general, but a dig on the particular kind of smarmy southern fundamentalism exemplified by Hugh McColl, who sported a WWJD pin during his chairmanship)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    GE's call center is in India.

    When my friend calls the 4-digit "internal" extension for thier IS dept, the call is routed overseas. Nice.

  5. #5
    Member Bucky alum's avatar
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    Another idea

    At JetBlue a new airline startup, they do not have call centers as 60% of their booking is done online. However what they do have is they hire their call center people to work out of their homes. The system works as it comes through a central location and based who is supposed to be working and who isn't currently handling a call the phone gets moved to them. My understanding is the call must be picked up in a few rings and you have to be able to separate yourself from your pets or kid or whatever. What this has done for Jet Blue is provide good service without the cost of the building, utilities, janitorial etc and the supervisors act as callers to check up on employees. This also lessens the threat of these employees unionizing as they have at other airlines. I say quite an ingenous idea...

  6. #6
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    If call centers are not the answer to economic development then what other lies have I bought in too? Wait - This might mean gambling is no good too?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    My last town heavily recruited call centers...to replace $20/hr steel mill jobs. They never got one, but were damned proud to get that cigarette outlet that they also recruited. 50 jobs! We turned the corner! (I was told to leave, we planned a neighborhood park where the cig outlet located.)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Yes, India is a popular location for call centers. With the cost of labor comprising between one-third and three-quarters of the operating cost of a typical call center, you can see why they seek low-cost locations with good English skills, or bilingual skills. Overall, call center expansion activity is currently down relative to manufacturing, warehousing, and other industries.

    I am working on a project in that area right now - a back office and/or call center economic development strategy. I've included a thorough description of the industry and recent trends, since I felt most of the people who will read the report are entirely unacquainted with it. I still have not completed the 'strategery' section, but if anyone would like a copy of the draft report or just that section, let me know.

  9. #9

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    Michael: I would be interested in seeing a copy of this report. Call centers are one of my employers' objectives-and it might be an interesting analysis.

    bkmiller@ci.fairfield.ca.us

    And, El Guapo:

    Casinos may not be a great way of reviving a dead town's economy.

    But, building a vast gaudy theme casino (out of metal and fake materials) served by diesel-fueled monster buses in the midst of a beautiful, fertile agricultural valley is definitely an excellent way to celebrate Indigenous People's Day.

    (Sorry, there is just something about the whole casino thing that brings out the snob/backslidden Baptist in me. All of the new billboards in Calinfornia now seem to be advertising those eyesores.)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    And, El Guapo:

    Casinos may not be a great way of reviving a dead town's economy.

    But, building a vast gaudy theme casino (out of metal and fake materials) served by diesel-fueled monster buses in the midst of a beautiful, fertile agricultural valley is definitely an excellent way to celebrate Indigenous People's Day.

    (Sorry, there is just something about the whole casino thing that brings out the snob/backslidden Baptist in me. All of the new billboards in Calinfornia now seem to be advertising those eyesores.)
    Me, I'm considered repressed for a Calvinist. I hate casinos. But, I have to admire the Native Americans for continuing to shoot back.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Originally posted by Mike DeVuono
    So let me make sure I understand this...

    The replacements are being trained by the guys sho are losing their jobs?
    That's not uncommon...the manufacturing industry has been doing this for years when it decides to open new plants. You are either lay-ed off or hired as a training consultant.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by prudence


    That's not uncommon...the manufacturing industry has been doing this for years when it decides to open new plants. You are either lay-ed off or hired as a training consultant.
    Yeah, I'm training Prudence's replacement as we speak.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    bTurk - Good one! Maybe he can join the special forces.

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