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News : Employees at Watertown Call Center Climb to Record-high 900
Watertown, NY, USA, Dec 29, 2015 -- The number of full-time employees at Convergys climbed to about 900 this month — the most the Arsenal Street call center has ever had.
But it’s not the peak.
Based on hiring plans of two unnamed clients, the center’s staff is expected to grow to about 1,100 customer service employees by mid-2016, said Bryan M. Black, Watertown site director. After starting in January with about 400 employees, the center has rapidly increased its workforce this year.
"We made some really good progress from earlier in the year and are still hiring and growing," Mr. Black said Monday.
Employees at the center, which opened in 2003 as Stream Global Services, provide round-the-clock technical assistance for customers on behalf of national companies in different industries. Before Convergys acquired the center from Stream in the spring of 2014, Stream invested in an expansion to increase the building’s seating capacity from 700 to 1,000 employees.
Because employees work at different times of the day, Mr. Black said, the center can comfortably employ up to about 1,200 workers by having a portion of them share work stations.
"The plan is to continue to grow until we hit our maximum capacity number," he said.
Mr. Black said the center hired about 120 temporary employees this fall under a seasonal contract with a health care company from September through early December. After that contract ended on Dec. 7, those employees stayed on with a different client in the health insurance industry that agreed to a three-year renewable contract with Convergys.
"All of the employees who wanted to stay with the new client had a home," Mr. Black said, adding that the center is actively hiring more employees for the unnamed client. An additional 130 employees are expected to be hired under the client’s contact by mid-2016, bringing the total to about 250.
Mr. Black said the long-term contract with the national health insurance company is a welcome change for the center, which has previously only had seasonal contracts for licensed work in the health care industry. This fall, for example, temporary workers were paid $14 an hour to provide customer assistance for the state’s Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage program.
Under the contract with the new health insurance client, he said, employees have been paid for three weeks of training and receive an hourly wage of $11. They provide assistance for customers with questions about their insurance, along with hospitals checking on insurance claims.
Most of the employees at the center are paid an entry-level wage of $9.50 an hour, he said, but they receive performance-based bonuses in addition to their base pay. He said the center is not expected to increase the entry-level wage in 2016. The state’s minimum wage will climb for the third straight year at the end of this month, from $8.75 to $9 an hour.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Convergys delivers consistent, quality customer experiences in 58 languages and from more than 150 locations around the globe. We partner with our clients to improve customer loyalty, reduce costs, and generate revenue through an extensive portfolio of capabilities, including customer care, analytics, tech support, collections, home agent, and end-to-end selling. We are committed to delighting our clients and their customers, delivering value to our shareholders, and creating opportunities for our talented, caring employees, 130,000-strong in 33 countries around the world.
Published: Wednesday, December 30, 2015