Friday, September 3, 2010

Holland call center hopes to employ hundreds

HOLLAND, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – On Thursday, Holland welcomed a call center by a company called NOVO 1.

That company hopes to hire 300 people over the next two years.

Experts recently said that the U.S. would do away with low-cost call center jobs, since it's cheaper to contract that work to overseas companies. However, that's not the case here.

The new set-up in Holland is one that many Americans would expect to see in countries like India and China or in eastern Europe, but instead Holland is home to one of the newest call centers built in America.

It's a story that many in Michigan can relate to, out of work for over two years, Mark Shaffner of Zeeland lost his job and was relying on his wife's income.

“Never suspected anything like this would come about, especially for myself,” said Shaffner.

Now Shaffner is working as a team leader at NOVO 1's call center, a new life and a new job at Holland's newest business.

“Everybody's been depleted from unemployment, just a tough time for everybody,” said Shaffner. “Wonderful to see a company like this come in.”

Shaffner may owe his job to the minor trend of 'onshoring,' or bringing some jobs back to America. Companies like Ford, Caterpillar and GE have brought some manufacturing jobs back and NOVO 1 is doing the same for call service.

“What's left are the complicated calls, and it's not working over there,” said president and CEO of NOVO 1 Mary Murcott. “and the cost, it's cheaper to do it in America rather than overseas.”

Murcott says for years companies sent call center jobs overseas, figuring their costs by the number of calls they took as well as the cost per minute. That resulted in a culture where the goal was to get people off the phone as soon as possible, not to fix the problem.

NOVO 1 has abandoned that approach and will apply a new philosophy at the call center in Holland.

“If people call over and it takes three or four calls to get your problem solved, then the right metric is not cost per call, but cost per resolution,” said Murcott.

In the end, it's all about jobs. The goal at the facility in Holland is to provide service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, putting more people like Shaffner to work.

“Very big load off my wife's shoulders,” said Shaffner, “her not having to support us, me just being able to bring a paycheck in is a wonderful blessing.”

The NOVO 1 call center currently has one client but is getting interest from others, which means more people from the Holland area could soon be working at the enormous facility that has the potential to employ hundreds.

You can find more information about NOVO 1 at their website

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