Over the years, I have noticed one thing that often gets overlooked is the positive social impact of contact centers. As a CEO and owner of a BPO operation, I could not be prouder of the benefits that our investments provide communities at large. It is easy to forget the real quality-of-life improvements that a contact center deployment can yield. So, what I thought I would do is identify some of the more important benefits, as well as those that are maybe less visible.
Probably the most immediate benefit that a contact center can bring to a community is gainful employment. This does not just apply to the agent pool that such an operation needs to hire to support consumers; it also takes into account multiple support functions inside these facilities. No reputable contact center could operate without a team of qualified management, IT professionals, maintenance staff, caterers, human resource officers and security personnel. Contact centers alleviate unemployment, which provides not only a boost for the local economy but a great deal of pride for the individuals taking on these roles.
This employment discussion also needs to consider the external jobs that a new contact center deployment can generate. Putting together a new facility means construction jobs that can range from employment firms and agencies, basic manual labor to organizing the operation’s IT and telecoms networking. Ongoing telco service, the lifeblood of any contact center, also means sustained technology-based employment for outside providers.
But there is also the benefit that a contact center yields by contributing to the local tax base. Consider the financial flexibility to a community from the income taxes paid by the contact center’s employees (not to mention corporate taxes paid by the operator). This money can be spent on infrastructure, education and health care. Ideally, this improves the quality of life for local residents.
There is also an intangible factor that needs to be considered. Contact centers often serve as catalysts for a more diversified economy. Think about the skills that agents pick up while they are employed at one of these facilities – customer service, technology, process management and teamwork are just a few. These capabilities can be leveraged across an array of industries that help develop a local economy, and they are essential for any jurisdiction that wants to move toward more value-added services.
Just a final note – I am not writing this from the perspective of contact centers benefiting communities in a US or international market, but all geographies and markets. The dividends of a contact center investment in the US are just as real as they would be in Central America, the Philippines or in Africa. Increased employment levels, investment flexibility by way of taxation and life skills—all are benefits that transpose borders. These are just some of the reasons so many cities and towns in the US are aiming to host contact centers. In my opinion, this is a trend that will continue, and that’s a good thing as contact centers contribute to skilled, healthy communities.
Written by Stephen B. Ferber