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Call Centres Are Big Business in London

Wednesday, April 19, 2000 - 00:00

London is one of Ontario's leading contenders for establishment of call centres, the London Economic Development Corporation said, as it welcomed Teletech Holdings, Inc., who today announced plans to open a Customer Interaction Centre in the former Eaton's store in Galleria.

"Call centres are an $80 billion industry in North America and there are about 3,100 call centres in Ontario employing more than 165,000 people", said John Kime, President of the LEDC. "In London there are currently 35 call centres employing about 3,500 people. We are very pleased to have worked with Teletech over the past 2 to 3 months to assist them in selecting London as a new location for their company. Much of the credit goes to Joe Hawlik, LEDC's Director of Business Development, who is respected in the call centre business for his contacts and knowledge, and to Cherry Sholtanuk, the city's industrial land sales specialist, for her insight into the potential of this property as a location for a call centre.

"This shows what can be achieved when community partners work together to successfully attract new investment and jobs", said Kime.

Kime says London is an attractive location for a call centre operator. Like other parts of Ontario our city has many employees with strong language skills. "Most people speak English with an easily understood, neutral accent. In addition we have our share of people skilled in other languages, something that is quite important to call centre companies".

He said Londoners have an above average level of education, an essential for stable operations of call centres. The turnover rate of employees in Ontario runs at about 18 per cent a year, much below the U.S. rate of 50 per cent, and companies find our workers very loyal and committed with a low rate of absenteeism.

"The telecommunications infrastructure in London is second-to-none and befits our "connected city" reputation. Competitive labour cost, and lower than average turnover, make London a very attractive destination for this industry".

The LEDC has been actively involved in discussions with call centre companies for the past two years and is an active participant in the local Call Centre Advisory Committee.

"The TELETECH situation is a "win-win" in many respects," said Kime. "The selection of the former Eaton store space in Galleria helps the city continue its core revitalization program and London is able to strengthen its position as a call centre destination for U.S. and Canadian companies".

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