As companies continue to consolidate their call center and back office operations into larger facilities, many factors must be evaluated to determine the optimal size and location. Site Selection Group identified 20 of the largest call center and back office operations in the United Statesto provide examples of where other companies have planted their flag. It also has some useful tips on what factors to evaluate when considering a large call center operation.

Think critically about labor market scalability
Companies that want a “megacenter” should make sure there is enough scalability in the labor market to support a large-scale operation. As evidenced from the list below, call centers in excess of 2,000 employees are typically clustered in the larger tier 1 metro areas that have a population of more than 1 million people. Low-cost tier 1 metro areas like Dallas; Jacksonville, Fla.; Phoenix, San Antonio and Tampa have been very successful in attracting these massive operations. Many of these companies may even have more than one campus located in the same metro area. There is safety in numbers, so the larger the population the better, as long as the labor costs stay within the operating budget.

Evaluate the labor market saturation
Call center saturation has become one of the standard methods to determine when a labor market has become too competitive. When a market becomes saturated, call centers will typically see attrition rates and wage rates increase dramatically. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you don’t employ more than 1% of the workforce of a metro area. This is why larger labor markets offer more scalability than smaller ones. Consider avoiding labor markets where the total call center saturation exceeds 3% to 4%. Lastly, always research who you will be directly competing against for labor to understand what it will take to successfully recruit against them.

Understand the impact of labor market longevity
As explained in the recent Site Selection Group blog entitled Forecasting Labor Supply and Demand, labor market longevity has become one of the biggest challenges faced by companies. Companies will typically sign 10- to 15-year leases for facilities that are able to accommodate this mass of employees at a single site. The ability to continually recruit qualified employees to keep these operations at full capacity can be challenging. “We have seen many call centers hiring employees they fired the previous year. This is a clear sign that labor market demand has exceed the labor supply,” explained Brett Bayduss, Principal of Site Selection Group. Therefore, it is important to analyze the market longevity; however, it can be a very complicated analysis that requires very sophisticated labor analytic tools.

And the top 20 largest call centers are…
After reviewing Site Selection Group’s proprietary database of existing call center and back office operations across the United States, the following call centers were identified as some of the largest operations. Many of these facilities have multiple functions under one roof ranging from customer services, claims processing, sales, technical support and shared services.

Top 20 Largest Call Centers in the U.S.
Company City State Estimated #
of Employees
American Express Phoenix AZ 5,200
Fidelity Investments Westlake TX 4,400
Fidelity Investments Covington KY 3,800
Bank of America Norfolk VA 3,600
Citibank Irving TX 3,500
Blue Cross Blue Shield Richardson TX 3,203
Florida Blue Jacksonville FL 3,000
Citigroup Tampa FL 3,000
UnitedHealth Group Greensboro NC 3,000
Bank of America Phoenix AZ 2,946
EchoStar Englewood CO 2,911
Citibank Sioux Falls SD 2,900
Wells Fargo Sioux Falls SD 2,832
JPMorgan Chase Phoenix AZ 2,825
JPMorgan Chase Wilmington DE 2,600
Citigroup San Antonio TX 2,600
Citigroup Jacksonville FL 2,500
MasterCard International St. Louis MO 2,500
Sabre Holdings Corp. Southlake TX 2,500
Wells Fargo Fort Mill SC 2,419

 

Conclusions
Determining where to locate “megacenters” creates short and long-term challenges to companies seeking to consolidate or expand into a single metro area. The tips outlined above provide some great advice on the key factors to consider before making a site selection decision.

 

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