StarTek's Canada Closure: Can't See the People For The Cubes

| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

StarTek's Canada Closure: Can't See the People For The Cubes

Businesses that have office-type employment, including contact centers who complain that they can't find enough workers and who say they are forced to close shop are probably not seeing the "people for the box" i.e. limiting the size of their labor pool to those who are willing to commute in.

StarTek is, as the media reported closing its Regina, Saskatchewan contact center in March 2009, citing the province's booming economy and other contact centers soaking up the labor pool. That is of course after accepting $3 million in taxpayer goodies to locate there in 2003 including job training plus a five year property tax abatement...

Yet I wonder: did StarTek ever consider setting up at-home agent programs outside of Regina, like Sitel has done in a constellation around Albuquerque, New Mexico? Did it look at the alternative of satellite (10-12-24 agent) centers in the many smaller cities across Saskatchewan, like Estevan, Moose Jaw, the Battlefords, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Weyburn, and Yorkton? Virtual-Agent Services has successfully developed and deployed this concept in nearly 20 small New Brunswick communities. The article didn't report this; the story would have turned out to be much better for StarTek from my vantage point if it said the teleservices firm had pursued those options. Maybe the reporter didn't know to ask such questions...

I have a good friend, a smart young guy, whose family has a farm outside of Regina that has broadband access. He is figuring out his career so he is doing two part-time jobs in Regina itself, including in a hotel and in a specialty foods place; he has impeccable customer service skills. He is the type of individual who would do well working from part-time as a contact center agent, but there is no way he would allow himself to be confined to a cube row. Why not reach out to people like him?

I live/work in a small city also located in an agricultural area which has several contact centers that are always crying out for people. Yet none of them either have appeared to ever stepped outside of their cube farms to reach out to those work in and around the real farms who would be happy for the opportunity but who cannot, or afford the drive in for contact center wages.

That's a pity, because both at-home and to a smaller extent satellite working are the best strategies there are to cut costs ($10,000/agent/year), hike productivity, provide money-saving wageless benefits i.e. no commuting, and deliver high quality service by cultivating some of the finest most loyal employees anywhere.

Feedback for StarTek's Canada Closure: Can't See the People For The Cubes


That's all fine and good as long as your client allows you to set up remote systems, but many of the clients that outsourcers service are extremely security conscious and want everyone in a secure environment. As a manager in another StarTek call centre I fully agree that adding services like you describe are the best solution but our client will not permit us to use it.

The plan for the new facility in Victoria is to use a unique quadrant design that would allow this center the infrastructure and capacity to quickly scale to support programs for multiple small clients separated by partitions, or larger clients that need to utilize the facility's entire 600 seat capacity.

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