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Call Center Outsourcing

call center software solution This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to Call Center technology including software and products. Since the Company's inception in 1978, DSC has specialized in the development of communications software and systems. Beginning with our CRM and call center applications, DSC has developed computer telephony integration software and PC based phone systems. These products have been developed to run on a wide variety of telecom computer systems and environments.

Contact DSC today. to learn more about our call center outsourcing services.

Call Centers Bring Strength, Economic Possibilities

By GUY BOULTON gboulton@tampatrib.com

TAMPA - When Rhonda Noland went to work for insurance giant USAA in the summer of 1973 after graduating from Brandon High School, her goal was to buy a car so she wouldn't have to drive her mother's Dodge Dart anymore.

The Pontiac she bought turned out to be a lemon. But the job turned out to be a career.

``It was one of the best decisions I've made,'' Noland says of going to work for USAA.

The company paid for her college education, trained and promoted her. Noland now earns a solid middle-class income as a claims service manager.

USAA runs one of dozens of call centers in the Tampa area, workplaces where rows of people wearing headsets sit at computer screens fielding calls from credit card holders, magazine subscribers, insurance customers and air travelers. It dominates the list of companies that have set up operations here since 1990.

More than 1,000 people work at a Home Depot call center in Tampa. Ford Motor Credit Co. employs about 500. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. employs 484 in Tampa and 2,271 in Riverview. Time Customer Service employs 1,500 at three sites. Household International Inc. employs 1,300 at two sites.

And that's just a sampling.

From 1997 to 2000, Greater Tampa led the country in call center jobs, according to a survey by Deloitte & Touche, an accounting and consulting firm. A survey by the Tribune in 2000 counted almost 100 companies with support operations in the region.

Call centers generally don't pay well - $20,000 to $25,000 a year. But the category isn't well defined, and many centers have a job and pay mix.

USAA's center is an example. Salaries start at $25,500. Most earn $30,000 to $45,000, with good benefits and bonuses.

``I have never thought I have been underpaid here,'' Noland says.

The centers have helped diversify the area's economy and have created jobs for people with a variety of skills, including technology, says Gene Gray, director of economic development for Hillsborough County.

``It's a technology-based operation,'' Gray explains.

Our abundance of call centers could be a future vulnerability. Such operations in other cities have been susceptible to relocation overseas.

Capital One Financial Corp. announced in July that it was eliminating about 1,100 of 1,450 jobs at its call center here. Capital One didn't say where they were going, but employees speculated that it might be somewhere like India or the Philippines.

``We live in a fairly integrated global economy,`` says Mark Amen, of the Globalization Research Center at the University of South Florida. Companies are moving call centers to developing countries to cut costs. ``And I don't see that being reversed.``

But local economic development people don't expect the other centers here to leave en masse.

``I don't think we are going to see the elimination of every call center job in the U.S.,`` says Kim Scheeler, president of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Whatever their future, the centers may have been a necessary step in the region's economic evolution. Several companies that now employ thousands in good-paying jobs here - among them Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., CitiGroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. - first came to open call centers.

``It's a step you go through to build your base, to build your corporate presence,'' says Bill Fredrick, of The Wadley- Donovan Group, a corporate consultant.

When Noland went to work for USAA 31 years ago, its Tampa office had 30 people. Now it employs 1,450.

Noland's tenure with the company is a rarity in today's economy. Along the way she has fallen in love, married and raised two children now in college. Eventually she even found the right car - trading her Pontiac for a Chevrolet.

``I just feel fortunate that my path led me here,'' Noland says. ``It's just been a great ride.''