Cox call center consolidation expected to bring hundreds of new Wichita jobs

02/27/2014 12:36 PM

02/27/2014 12:37 PM

A move by Cox Communications to consolidate its call centers across the country is expected to mean a few hundred more jobs in Wichita.

The Atlanta-based phone, cable and Internet provider has announced it is closing several facilities, including in cities such as New Orleans, San Diego and West Warwick, R.I., and moving operations to a handful or so of markets in the U.S.

Christine Martin, spokeswoman for Cox’s central region in Oklahoma City, said Thursday that the company’s call centers in Wichita, Oklahoma and Omaha will become Centers of Excellence as part of the consolidation. She said that roughly 300 account service and technical support jobs will be added in the company’s Wichita call center beginning next month.

“We’ll really be ramping up over the next couple of months,” Martin said.

She said Cox currently employs 1,000 people in Kansas, with the bulk of its employees in Wichita.

The idea behind the Centers of Excellence, Martin said, is to create and foster a specific number of facilities with a recognized specialty. In the case of the call centers, that specialty will be in providing customer service, she said.

“The entire reason we’re making this adjustment is to take care of our customers the best we possibly can,” Martin said, adding that in some cases Cox customers calling smaller, decentralized call centers may stay on hold longer or not have the same experience that they would calling a center that specializes in customer account service and technical support.

The other cities with call centers designated as Centers of Excellence are in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Hampton Roads, Va.

Cox decided to concentrate its call centers in Wichita and the other markets for several reasons, she said. One is geography and the importance of having at least one call center in each of the country’s time zones. Another factor was business continuity. If one call center goes down because of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado, the others will be far enough away to likely be unaffected and able to pick up the downed center’s calls.

The other was the scalability of call centers. Some of the ones it plans to close aren’t physically capable of expanding, while others like Wichita, are.

“The decisions have nothing to do with performance,” Martin said. “We looked at where we already have larger facilities in places, where we can grow.”

She said consolidation of the company’s call centers is expected to affect about 3 percent of Cox’s nearly 20,000 employees in the U.S.

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