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Call center comes a-calling

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May 15, 2008

Albany --  A new customer service company will bring 480 jobs to south Georgia over the next four years, even though they won't actually set up an office here.

The unique venture with National Electronics Warranty or NEW will offer employees the benefit of working from home.

"NEW" plans to hire 120 employees this year to handle customer service calls for their largest client DirecTV and chose Albany from among 200 cities.

What's Albany got that 200 other cities don't? Good customer service and that pleasant southern hospitality earned the area as many as 480 customer service jobs over the next four years.

"When we scope out a community we look to make sure we're going to be able to fill that skill set," Rebecca Alston, NEW Operations Planning Manager.

What's unique about these jobs is employees will work from home. Employees must provide their own computer, a phone line, and high speed internet access and while they're not compensated for those items there are other benefits like a way around high gas prices and flexible hours.

"Some of the schedules that we offer for some of our work at home reps is when they're working maybe four hours in the morning, they have their afternoon free, and then later at night they're working four hours at night," said Alston.

New employees will trouble shoot customer service calls for NEW's largest client DirecTV so along with the ability to deal with frustrated customers, technical skills are needed. NEW plans to train all 120 new employees.

"That's roughly 20 people at a time. It's a six week training course. After the first training class completes, we'll hire 20 more and keep going," says Mitch Carroll, NEW's V.P. for Contact Center Resource Planning. 

Last year the company handled 16 million telephone calls. Community leaders welcome the new company with global ties and say they're a perfect fit to growing Albany's workforce.

"Small business is the back bone of any community and we're fortunate that we have a lot of small businesses in Albany," said Mayor Willie Adams.

The Albany Chamber of Commerce has identified these type of call centers as a business that works well in Albany. Today's announcment makes the seventh in the last few years and Mayor Willie Adams said it suits him just fine.

"If Albany can get branded as the call center of the world of course that would make me happy also," said Adams.

The company will begin hiring immediately. They'll have representatives at hiring events Tuesday at the Department of Labor Albany Career Center and a separate job fair at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=NEWcallCemnter-JE-5/15