News : Austin Website Ditches Call Center Strategy, Axes 84 Jobs
Austin, TX, USA, Aug 6, 2015 -- One of the best places to work in Austin is getting smaller.
SpareFoot Inc. executives told 84 of its 94 call center workers that they will lose their jobs soon. The company, which runs an online personal storage marketplace, will employ about 160 people after the downsizing.
Executives emphasized that the company aren't making the cuts due to financial weakness. Rather, the call center isn't needed as much anymore.
SpareFoot CEO Chuck Gordon, in a memo to staff, recognized the pain but called the move "a big scalability win for the business that will allow us to invest more resources in making our product even better."
Gordon said in the memo that "we’ve made substantial improvements to our online product that resulted in huge swaths of our customers completing their transaction online instead of picking up the phone."
While the layoffs are painful and costly — Gordon pledged to help those laid off make a smooth transition by facilitating connections and offering severance packages — long-term, operating a website without a large call center can be a blessing. Call center operators, many of which are contractors, note that the industry requires significant office space and is manpower-intensive.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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SpareFoot is an Austin-based company that provides listings for self-storage units. The company was originally a person-to-person model, similar to Airbnb, that later developed into a marketplace for self-storage. The company now facilitates self-storage rentals between consumers and storage operators. The company was profiled as one of America's Most Promising Startups by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2011.
Published: Monday, August 10, 2015