On the phone: Call centers are providing area with jobs

May. 26, 2014 @ 07:04 PM

Want a job?
A call center might be a good place to start.
Customer contact or customer service centers — as call centers are now dubbed in the world of corporate-speak — abound in High Point, mostly in the northern part of the city.
The latest example is APAC Customer Services in the Piedmont Centre business park.
The Bannockburn, Ill.-based outsourcing company, which answers sales and support customer-service calls for corporations, announced in April it will add 500 jobs at its High Point location in phases through July after landing a major contract to serve a telecommunications firm.
Beyond this, it has tentative plans to bring in an additional 300 workers if expected business from other clients picks up.
“High Point has seen significant growth in customer service jobs over the last year,” said High Point Economic Development Corp. President Loren Hill. “APAC’s recent announcement is impressive. Newell Rubbermaid has grown by more than 116 jobs since September, and Sears Product Services Marketing Center added 30 jobs in 2013.”
The jump in call center growth appears to be fueled in part by more companies bringing work back to the U.S. that had been outsourced overseas.
In recent years, High Point has benefitted from the trend, with several major corporations choosing to base part of their customer contact operations here.
Last summer, Newell Rubbermaid, a $6 billion company with 22,000 employees worldwide, announced it was adding 116 jobs to its work force of 170 at its Levolor and Kirsch facility in Piedmont Centre.
The facility answers customer questions about company brands, which include Sharpie, Paper Mate, Rolodex, Rubbermaid and Goody.
Several High Point companies that are among the city’s top employers have locations here that are all or mostly customer service operations, including Bank of America (2,283 employees), Sears Product Services Marketing Center (452) and Aetna (790).
Other major city employers like Ralph Lauren Corp. and Advanced Home Care have local call center operations that are only part of what they do in High Point.
The growth of call centers has come at a critical time, as High Point tries to move on from the decline of traditional employment sectors, such as furniture and textile manufacturing.
“A look at the industry sectors of High Point’s top 20 largest employers helps show how well we have diversified our economy,” Hill said. “Such diversification is good news for High Point — no economy should be dependent on just one or two industry sectors. Customer service is an important industry sector in High Point and is well represented on our largest employers list.”