This is a copied version of an article that appeared in the Tulsa Journal Record on April 26, 2016.
TUSLA – Alorica Inc. employs 1,200 people around the northeastern Oklahoma metro, and the company continues to grow, said Ken Muche, global relations director.
In the next 90 days, Muche said the company is adding 350 people. It added 200 jobs in February.
The Tulsa office works with 10 clients in those fields, he said.
There are more than 5,500 contact-center jobs in the Tulsa area, according to Bob Ball, an economist with the Tulsa Regional Chamber. That can mean competition to fill jobs.
The Capital One call center also needs employees, said Mike Kenney with the staffing agency AppleOne. He said there’s actually a call center seeking staff about every month. Other call centers in the area include AT&T and DirectTV.
Muche said Alorica sets itself apart by its culture.
“At every site we have — we have 50 in the U.S. — we have a culture champion,” Muche said. “That person is responsible for a variety of things, such as weekly potlucks and birthdays. That person serves as a linchpin between the front line and management and leadership. If there’s news or policy changes, it’s the culture champion who’s responsible for walking the floor and making it a fun place.”
The company also has fundraising or volunteer events during which employees raise money for local nonprofit organizations.
Even if the culture is good, not everyone is cut out to work at a call center, said Justin Wareham, assistant professor of management at the Oklahoma City University Meinders School of Business. Call centers have a 49-percent annual attrition rate, and those with outbound calling positions have a 60-percent attrition rate, according to industry data. By comparison, hospitality as a 27-percent turnover rate.
“What makes it a difficult job is that you’re being constantly monitored electronically by your supervisors,” Wareham said, adding that hourly targeted call demand can create stress. Abusive customers can make the work situation even less tolerable, he said.
But the job can be appealing to people who enjoy talking on the phone and wand a sedentary career, he said. Large call centers, such as the Tulsa location, do not see as much turnover because employees have the opportunity to advance in their career, according to the Global Call Center report from the Cornell University Institute for Labor Relations. Muche said the company takes a lot of pride in promoting its employees to higher positions.
“(Companywide) about 70 percent or more of our current supervisors and managers started as front-line agents,” he said. Alorica also has a place for people who not want to talk on the phone. The company offers customer support options such as emailing, instant messaging and texting. Muche said it’s a way to keep up with the technology changes, as well as offer broader employment opportunities.
He said these different service outreaches set the company apart and allow it to serve the hospitality, financial and health care industries.
“As those industries grow, their competition is intensifying,” he said. “The differentiator is the customer experience.”