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The Economic Impact of Call Centers in Distressed Communities

For inbound call center operators and their clients, the pressures of surviving a recession despite competition from offshore vendors can be overwhelming. However, as American consumers seek more value, U.S.-based call centers offer a striking competitive advantage. Changing economic conditions have made it more affordable for companies to outsource customer service without sending jobs overseas. Best of all, hiring or launching a call center within the United States can make a major economic impact on communities reeling from factory closures.

Small towns might not be the first places that some companies look when thinking about establishing call center services. However, many communities have embraced the call center industry as an alternative to factories, foundries, and other manufacturing centers where work has dried up over the past few decades. Eager new employees, favorable working conditions, and renewed town spirit often make a big impact on customers, as well.

Three Call Center Case Studies

Although fifty new jobs may not sound like much, it makes a big difference to a small town like Linton, North Dakota. In a cost-cutting move, a major travel agency laid off about that many workers while closing down many of its North American call centers. Not long after, the banks of a creek near the center of town overflowed, displacing residents. Therefore, town officials rejoiced at the news of a regional operations companys willingness to overhaul the closed agency facility into a state of the art inbound call center. Even the Governor paid a visit to town, offering kudos to company officials for their pledge to put many of the laid-off citizens back to work.

In neighboring South Dakota, one of the states biggest industrial success stories is preparing for a revival. North Sioux City once hosted one of North Americas largest computer manufacturers, employing over 5,000 workers. Mergers, acquisitions, and cost-cutting forced many of those jobs out of the state, leaving behind the husks of assembly plants and offices. Recently, a former vendor for that company announced that it would launch a remote call center operation in one of the former buildings by hiring a few dozen displaced workers. Though the new employers core operations remain in California, the value offered by South Dakotas call center workers make this a strategic move.

Call center operations dont require a centralized facility to impact a community. A new breed of call center services hire home-based agents with flexible schedules to meet client needs. By centralizing hiring in states with low cost of living, call center agents can earn higher than average salaries while enjoying the benefits of working from home. Employers can still bring teams together for occasional, in-person training, development, and team building activities. Paying for employees computers and data lines pales in comparison to the usual expenses of setting up a new call center, allowing operators to pass savings on to clients.

Making Holistic Decisions About Call Center Operations

While offshore call center operations still make sense for many companies, the choice to partner with a North American call center for critical customer service tasks grows more attractive each year. With strong business and emotional reasons to set up shop in distressed communities, more business leaders find discover bright business futures by repurposing companies from the past.


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