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Call Centers Hiring, Seeking Customer Service Flare

Call Centers Hiring, Seeking Customer Service Flare
By Barry Levine

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As companies increase their focus on managing customer experience and customer engagement, contact-center positions will continue to be viewed as vital to corporate success. Working as a call-center sales rep or service agent puts you close to the customer and can provide a great stepping stone toward higher-level sales and service positions.
 


If you're a call center manager in the U.S., get ready for a busy season ahead. And, if you're someone with great communication skills looking for your next job opportunity, a call-center position could be your ticket to a new career.

According to news reports about call centers around the country, a lot of hiring is in the works, with plenty of positions to fill. For those looking for work, consider that call-center jobs often provide an excellent entry-level opportunity and a foot in the door toward a career-path with higher-level sales and service management positions ahead.

The key drivers for contact-center hiring at the moment appear to be the coming holiday season, plus, a general economic expansion that is slowly taking hold.

In addition, the new Obamacare health care regulations are sparking a hiring boom among call centers. That's because health insurers and government agencies will need to answer questions from millions of Americans signing up through the new health care exchanges scheduled to open October 1.

Hiring for Health

According to a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, between 7,000 and 9,000 new customer agents are being hired or have been brought aboard for the health insurance exchanges that the federal government will be running for three dozen states. This is in addition to the agents that will be needed for the 16 states running their own exchanges.

Alexandria, Virginia-based Vangent Inc., which is part of General Dynamics, was awarded a $530 million one-year contract from the federal government to set up call centers specifically to deal with questions relating to health care reform.

In Illinois, 600 workers have been hired for its state-run call center, and another 600 are expected to be brought on before the end of next week. In California, thousands of call center jobs are also being created to handle questions relating to the health insurance marketplace in that state.

Commercial Expansion

Beyond the Obamacare hiring wave, the TLK Group of Richmond, Virginia, for instance, said Tuesday it will open a new call center, for which they are hiring up to 500 employees over the next 12 months. It services a number of Fortune 100 clients, including Comcast and Verizon Wireless.

In Springfield, Oregon, the call center for the Royal Caribbean cruise line expects to add 200 positions this year and as many as 200 more next year, on top of a workforce that reached 600 employees last year. (continued...)

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