Call center to shut down

Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at 1:00am

A year after taking over a Sprint call center in Nashville, Convergys Corp. said it will close the facility March 2.

About 825 employees who work at the facility at 445 Great Circle Road were notified Tuesday of the cost-cutting move, said Renea Morris, spokeswoman for the Cincinatti-based company.

The call center had 1,100 employees when Convergys took over its management from Sprint Corp. March 1. The transition was the result of a five-year, multi-billion-dollar deal Sprint reached with IBM Business Consulting Services to improve efficiencies.

As part of the move, IBM subcontracted with Convergys, which operates call centers throughout the world, to provide customer care services for Sprint's PCS wireless operations.

At the time, Sprint announced it would continue to operate its nine other call centers in the wireless division. Nashville was the only center to be turned over to Convergys.

The Nashville center, one of Sprint's largest at the time, primarily handles customer service calls about business wireless accounts.

The wireless business is not motivating the closure, Morris said, but rather Convergy's ongoing efforts to streamline and improve efficiencies.

She said the decline in employees in Nashville since Convergys took over was due to attrition. Now, the company will focus on getting jobs for the remaining workers being displaced.

"Basically our plan between now and March is to really work with employees to find them jobs either with Convergys or outside of the company. So we're going to be actively involved in helping transition them," she said.

With 60,000 employees worldwide, Convergys will continue to maintain its two other Tennessee call centers in Clarksville, which has 1,200 employees, and Chattanooga, with about 600 employees, Morris said.

Sprint had estimated savings of $550 million in customer service costs over the next three years as IBM initiates efficiencies through improved call routing, call handling times, and resolving customer concerns earlier in the process.

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