TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community



February 2009 | Volume 27 / Number 9
High Priorty

Call Centers are Hidden Hiring Gems

By Rich Tehrani (News - Alert)

Throughout past recessions, call centers picked up the slack and hired what amounted to millions of Americans to make and take calls. From 1990 onward, economic development agencies worldwide began to court contact centers to help them solve their job loss problems.

Typically they recruited outsourcers from the TMC (News - Alert) Top 50 Teleservices list as well as smaller, faster-growing companies.

Now 20 years later, the call center climate has changed dramatically. IP communications allows agents to be located anywhere — even outside our borders. In addition, the Internet (e-mail, etc) is a viable marketing alternative to speaking on the phone.

And let’s not forget outbound telemarketing, a practice that employed millions, has been wiped out by do not call regulations and with it billions in commerce and millions of jobs.

Remember — there will always be the need to speak over the phone when buying products — regardless of whether these calls are going over IP or not.

The inbound side of the contact center industry continues to grow and although there are obviously layoffs in the contact center space, I have seen precious little hiring anywhere besides this recent announcement that IBM (News - Alert) will hire 1,300 support center agents in Iowa.

In addition, General Electric plans on hiring 1,400 new people in Guatemala for a new call center in that country.

And economic development agencies are beginning to realize once again they need to focus on contact centers to get people employed rapidly. As opposed to manufacturing were there are substantial water and electric demands, any office building with sufficient broadband can serve as a contact center location.

In addition, you can get a call center up and running in a matter of months — not 1+ years like other jobs/industries.

If you ask me, the best way to get hiring going in this country is to give tax breaks to companies adding domestic call center agents. Moreover — as unpopular a topic as this is — I say we should repeal the do-not-call list so we can have a shot at hiring a million telemarketing agents who can increase commerce and get people employed.

One final point — let’s get the Federal government involved in promoting the domestic call center industry. In 1991, I was assigned to write an article about the Irish call center industry. IDA Ireland (News - Alert) invited a few journalists to their country to see a number of contact centers and to interview the people running them.

As part of the tour we learned how Irish workers are highly social, speak multiple languages and are relatively cheap compared to their peers in Europe. We also learned Guinness doesn’t travel well and tastes best in Dublin — but this is a subject best left for another time. Finally we learned that the country suspended corporate tax until the year 2000 in an effort to get companies to move to there.

The result? Ireland got a large share of the contact center market and other industries moved to this country as well. More recently Ireland has seen competitive pressure from places like Western Europe where costs are lower but for almost two-decades they used common sense and savvy marketing to improve the employment situation in their country.

I would advocate the U.S. do the same thing. We should abolish corporate taxes until 2015, start an ad campaign focused on the benefits of hiring American workers and finally invite journalists the world over to come and tour our magnificent country. Start in New York, then D.C. and move on to LA and Silicon Valley.

These simple ideas are common sense to any PR professional or businessperson with marketing savvy. The question is will our new administration take these ideas and run with them.

Sure, the term “shovel-ready” sounds great and all but not everyone wants to work with their hands or outside in the freezing cold. Contact centers can certainly be the indoor alternative to the shovel-ready projects we keep reading about.

President Obama… Are you reading? Do I need to send you a link so you can read this on your Blackberry? ;-)

'Rich Tehrani is TMC's Group Publisher.

CIS Magazine Table of Contents

Technology Marketing Corporation

2 Trap Falls Road Suite 106, Shelton, CT 06484 USA
Ph: +1-203-852-6800, 800-243-6002

General comments: [email protected].
Comments about this site: [email protected].


© 2024 Technology Marketing Corporation. All rights reserved | Privacy Policy