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DirecTV to Buy PRC Call Center

June 06, 2008

The news of call centers closing is never good for the community in which it operates, or for the U.S. industry when it loses jobs and stability in that region. Thanks to DirecTV (News - Alert), such a scenario may be avoided.

The satellite television programming provider has agreed to buy a West Virginia call center. When this deal is completed, it is expected to save more than 600 call center jobs.

According to Robert Mercer, spokesman for DirecTV, the company has agreed to pay approximately $1.5 million for PRC’s Huntington operations. The final price will depend upon the number of employees that are retained.

DirecTV is the call center’s sole customer and has said that it plans to keep most of the center’s 633 workers. This move would make the most economical sense for the company as it can continue with current employees and processes to keep overhead costs at a minimum.

The deal is expected to close by the end of June, pending bankruptcy court approval at a June 19 hearing. PRC filed for bankruptcy protection in January. In the event that the call center could not find a new owner, it was slated to close by June 27.

As an overall company, Plantation, Fla.-based PRC provides customer management services for El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV, Sprint (News - Alert) and other large companies. It is likely that with the bankruptcy filing, other acquisitions and closings will follow.

While it is certainly not unheard of for a call center to close, many benefits can be realized if the center can remain open. These benefits go far beyond the obvious advantages to the community and those employed by the call center.

If a call center customer is in a position to be able to purchase the call center – such as in this situation – the customer stands to gain employees that are already trained in their products and services; processes and measurements that are already in place; and infrastructure that has been developed and maintained.

This is not to say that changes won’t have to be made once DirecTV takes over the call center. But, it is much easier and cost effective to tweak a successful system already in place than to start over and build from the ground up.

The biggest challenge for DirecTV will be to maintain the culture of the call center so as to protect the employee base and drive business as usual.
 
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
 
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Migrating Your Messaging System, brought to you by Active Voice.
 

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