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Companies Use KC for Call Center Training and Customer Service Needs


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September 06, 2012

Companies Use KC for Call Center Training and Customer Service Needs

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

The Kansas City metro has become an attractive place for call centers to call home. It is estimated that the metro employs upwards of 40,000 workers in the contact center environment. These types of centers are taking on roles quite different than what we have come to expect from this type of work.

After two to six weeks of call center training, most agents are ready to help customers purchase merchandise online, assist with basic bank inquiries, renew prescriptions, and even fill orders from fast food, drive-through restaurants operating thousands of miles away, according to this Kansas City Star article.

Today’s call center training may even have more to do with learning proper grammar and spelling as e-mail, Web chat, and Twitter (News - Alert) communications have gained popularity over traditional phone calls in some locations. As a result, multi-tasking capabilities are also attractive in this industry.

There are many reasons why Kansas City has been singled out as hub for this type of business. Just as many newscasters come from the Midwest, as the area is a popular choice when it comes to finding people who don’t have strong accents and are universally understood.

Bart Miller, founder of Centrinex, which helps lenders in the loan verification process, says that his company often beats out bids from overseas call centers, even if the competitors are 30 percent cheaper. Miller says that many companies want to avoid the frustration of having their customers interact with agents who aren’t native English speakers.

Another attractive feature of the Midwest is that real estate and the cost of doing business is still relatively low when compared to other U.S. cities. And, the fact that it’s located in the central time zone makes it easier to reach people on either coast during normal business hours.

Workers in the industry don’t fare too badly, either. After completing all the required call center training, employees can expect average pay to run in the neighborhood of $12 – 13 an hour. The nature of the job also permits many individuals the ability to work from home. However, the strict schedule and use of auto dialers means that reps can’t be away from their desk very long as calls could come through at any time.

For that reason, the industry has a high turnover. In fact, it’s not uncommon for centers to lose anywhere from 75 to 100 percent of their staff every year. But, for those who are up for the challenge, there are lots of jobs and room for advancement. Many entry level workers get their start in contact centers, but an evolving industry means there is also a demand for trained specialists.

In fact, call center agents working for Garmin (News - Alert) have to possess a good understanding of various forms of navigation ranging from normal customer use to that of pilots. The IRS also uses contact centers for customers with unresolved tax questions. And, representatives working for Farmers Insurance must know the ins and outs of the insurance business.

Call center training is evolving as reps transition from cold calling, script readers to knowledgeable product and customer service experts. Those companies able to embrace these changes are more likely to reap the benefits.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

Technology Marketing Corporation

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