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Reposted from The Wall Street Journal. Authored by Katie Deighton | Reporter
Investments in benefits and overhauled onboarding programs aim to recover call center labor shortages, and fast. Alorica, which provides customer support centers for other companies, is one of a number of companies that raised minimum wages this year to compete for staff.
The average number of live job openings in call, contact and customer care centers advertised on Ziprecruiter.com in February was more than double that of the average the year earlier before the pandemic, according to the recruitment platform. The number of average job postings in November, meanwhile, was more than five times that of February 2020, according to the jobs board, which declined to disclose specific figures. Contact center bosses now are trying to reduce attrition rates by better cushioning the human impact of what can be a stressful, thankless job. Like their peers in hospitality, they are also raising wages, improving benefits and speeding up training.
“A lot of call centers have been really rethinking the way that they measure employees, but also the environment that they provide for them,” said David Brodeur-Johnson, a principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “In a time when being able to find and hire people is so competitive, they’ve had no choice but to.”
Alorica Inc., which provides third-party customer service support, offers different pay scales dependent on location, last year raised average minimum wages between 15% and 20% when it saw companies in other service industries do the same, said Colleen Beers, the company’s president of North America and Europe operations. It also enlisted a TikTok employment influencer to drum up interest among younger potential recruits. To avoid losing staff in the first 90 days—typically the period when the most workers leave—the company directed managers to check in with new hires more often and via more channels than before, Ms. Beers said. “Whether it’s the phone, or on chat or email, I basically have to meet my employees where they want to be met,” she said.
The tight call-center labor market cannot purely be attributed to resignations. Companies including Alorica and trading platform Robinhood this year expanded their contact centers or opened new ones to handle increased customer-service demand.
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Alorica Inc. (“Alorica”) is the holding company of various direct and indirect subsidiaries, including Systems & Services Technologies, Inc. (SST). Many of Alorica Inc.’s subsidiaries operate under the brand, Alorica,
but all remain separate legal entities.