Many call or contact centers today exist in locations, because that is simply where they were built. On the 3rd floor or across the campus, they are located where the organization had available space to house them. Increasingly however organizations are realizing that not all locations are created equal when it comes to operating a call or contact center. If it’s not near transit, then all of your agents must drive or carpool. If the call or contact center is located near many other call or contact centers you may see higher turnover of staff and have the opportunity to hire the same staff two or three times at ever increasing rates. If you are prone to flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes each of these natural events can spell disaster not only for your local community but also for your call or contact center.
In an intra-city move you are concerned with where you can locate and retain most of your staff. In a search to find a location outside the current urban location the focus becomes where can we locate a center and have access to potential staff.
Of course the connection between labor and location is not and cannot be the only consideration, or if salary cost was king we all would have off-shored our call or contact centers long ago. No, labor and labor availability are critical factors but not the only ones. Other factors require attention. At Taylor Reach we developed a center location matrix that considers 134 factors on a weighted score basis. This creates a range of more than 500 basis points from the worst possible to the best possible location scores. Your own matrix will be unique because only you will rank and rate the 134 data-points specifically for your center(s). Some of the factors to consider would include staff or workforce issues, what is the population, what is the employment/unemployment levels, workforce participation, college, university or military base presence all of which speak to potentially available labor which could be potential recruiting targets for the call or contact center. There may be financial incentives associated with creating jobs in some jurisdictions. These incentives can significantly reduce the cost of building a new center from scratch.
Assessing the number, type, function and staffing levels of existing call and contact centers locally can provide guidance related to the level of saturation that call or contact center represents in the local workforce. It is important to locate in a market where we can identify potential sources of employees and identify that there are enough potential workers to support the center. But also look at how many of them are presently employed in call or contact centers. In our opinion, The lower the saturation level the better. This is true even though it is difficult to find locations without contact centers you can find locations that have low saturation levels. We recommend to our clients that markets with more than 6% of their workforce presently supporting call or contact centers will represent an on-going recruiting and retention issue. While under 3% tends to be stable and much easier to operate within.
Given that labor is the single greatest expenses in a call or contact center and the cost to recruit a single agent exceeds $5,000-$7,000 finding a stable and easily maintained environment is highly desirable.
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