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News : StarTek CEO Confident Despite Call Center Closing History
Carolina Forest, SC, Oct 15, 2014 -- StarTek, which opened a call center in Carolina Forest on Monday, has in recent years closed call centers or reduced workforces at nine sites in six states, shedding more than 2,000 jobs, according to public records and published news reports.
Despite the closings, StarTek officials and state leaders say the company plans a long-term investment in the Myrtle Beach area.
"We want to be a long-term employer here and engage with the community and our employees as we grow," said Chad Carlson, president and CEO of StarTek. "We’re committed here as long as we can find success working with the community and employees."
Gov. Nikki Haley, who spoke at Monday’s grand opening, said while success is never a guarantee for any company, the StarTek investment in Horry County brings countless positives.
"We’ve got your back," Haley said. "Yes, we’ll celebrate when it’s time to celebrate, but in tough times we’re going to be there too."
According to the StarTek website, the company operates nine sites domestically, including the Myrtle Beach location.
Five are in Colorado, two are in Ohio and the others are in Enid, Okla. and Lynchburg, Va. It has international locations in Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras and the Philippines.
Since 2008, however, the Colorado-based firm has closed call centers in Virginia, Texas, Wyoming, Illinois and Arkansas. Abroad it also closed sites in Costa Rica and Saskatchewan, Canada.
Virginia has been hit the worst.
StarTek shut down call centers in the Old Dominion State in Petersburg, Va. in 2008, eliminating 454 jobs, and Collinsville, Va., resulting in the loss of 631 jobs in 2011, according to a report in the Richmond-Times Dispatch newspaper.
Also in 2011, the firm laid off 69 workers in Lynchburg, Va., according to a report in the Denver Business Journal.
Carlson noted that several hundred employees are still employed at the Lynchburg, Va., facility.
In at least one state, the firm was asked to repay grants it had received as an economic incentive to do business.
StarTek received economic development grants to open call centers in Virginia, and was in negotiations to repay some of those grants for not meeting job creation milestones, a May 27, 2011 report in the Progress-Index (Petersburg) newspaper said.
The Carolina Forest call center is receiving economic development incentives from state and local government, county and state records show.
So far, the company has reported net losses in every quarter except one since December 2012, company news releases state.
In its annual reports with the SEC, StarTek has listed several historical risk factors, including high turnover of its employees and upper management and lack of diversity in its client base.
"Our business is labor intensive and, as is typical for our industry, continues to experience high personnel turnover," the company’s 2013 annual report to the SEC states. "Such turnover adversely affects our operating efficiency, productivity and ability to fully respond to client demand, thereby adversely impacting our operating results," the report continues.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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StarTek is the customer care expert in business process outsourcing. Our job is to improve and manage the customer experience for our clients. StarTek’s suite of solutions includes sales, order management and provisioning, customer care, technical support, receivables management, and more. We offer clients a variety of multi-channel customer interaction capabilities including voice, chat, email, IVR and back-office support. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, StarTek has delivery centers onshore, near shore, offshore and virtually through its StarTek@Home workforce.
Published: Friday, October 17, 2014