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Convergys Center Closure To Eradicate 200 Jobs

March 21, 2005

Convergys' call center in Fort Pierce, FL, will close on May 16, eliminating 200 current employees' jobs. The reason: to improve efficiency and to reduce costs. Perhaps Convergys is implementing better self-service technology; although live agents are still very much a necessity as backup. Perhaps the company is sending more service off to India or the Philippines.

The call center's closure, according to Convergys spokesperson Lauri Roderick, is part of a bigger, albeit vague, plan (see article below). She also said that the Fort Pierce employees' work "is not going overseas. I can't say exactly where it is going because of clients' desires for confidentiality, but it will be absorbed by other centers in the United States."

To see locations of Convergys' other offices throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world: www.convergys.com/locations.html.

 

 Convergys to disconnect Fort Pierce call center, 200 will lose [sic] jobs 

About 200 will be jobless May 16. 

By Tyler Treadway
staff writer

March 19, 2005 

FORT PIERCEConvergys Corp. has announced that it will close its call center in the Orange Blossom Business Center, which has employed as many as 1,250 people, as of May 16.

The 200 remaining employees at the call center were told of the closing on Thursday, according to Lauri Roderick, a spokeswoman at Convergys headquarters in Cincinnati.

Roderick said the decision to close the Fort Pierce site is "part of a plan to improve efficiency and reduce costs."

Fort Pierce Mayor Bob Benton received a letter dated March 17 from Douglas C. Grieb, Convergys' director of human resources, announcing the closure.

In a memo that same day to city commissioners, Fort Pierce City Manager Dennis Beach said Convergys officials "emphasized that the reasoning behind the closing had to do with their own external contracts that were expiring and were not being renewed."

The call center provides technical support for clients, which include or have included America Online, American Express, AT&T, Compaq, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Palm Computer, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Sprint and Toys 'R' Us.

The call center opened in September 2000 with about 120 employees occupying 56,000 square feet of the former Belk's department store. By the end of the year, the firm had about 500 employees.

As recently as September 2003, Convergys announced plans to add 500 jobs at the Fort Pierce call center to bring the total number of employees to 1,250. By that November, the number had climbed to 900 employees and company officials predicted adding 250 more by year's end.

Pay at the center depended on which Convergys client the employee worked with and relied heavily on incentives. The base wage was about $8.50 an hour to start with the ability to earn up to $12 an hour with bonuses and incentives.

Doug Anderson, St. Lucie County administrator, said the county agreed to pay Convergys $1,000 for every job created at the Fort Pierce center, up to $100,000 a year.

"It was a performance-based agreement, and since Convergys has been here, the county has paid them $300,000," Anderson said. "So we reimbursed them for 300 jobs."

Convergys has 65 call centers worldwide, and call center jobs in the United States are increasingly being exported to India, the Philippines, Mexico and Canada because of lower labor costs.

However, Roderick said the work done at Fort Pierce "is not going overseas. I can't say exactly where it is going because of clients' desires for confidentiality, but it will be absorbed by other centers in the United States."

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DRB




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