Jan. 12--WideOpenWest will close its Colorado Springs call center March 8 and lay off 200 employees as much of the Englewood-based cable television operator's contact with customers has shifted online.
The company notified employees Wednesday of its plans to close the center at 2025 Research Parkway. Workers will receive a severance package that includes outplacement assistance, resume-writing help and job fairs, Debra Havins, a WideOpenWest spokeswoman in Denver, said Friday. The center laid off 24 "loyalty specialists" last February because the work was shifted to a center operated by Sitel in Alabama and a WideOpenWest operation in Nicaragua.
"We have put different technologies in place for our customers to talk to us, such as online chat and sales orders through our Wowway.com (customer) website, so we don't have as much call volume. It became evident that we didn't have the call volume to support the center," Havins said.
That shift is part of an initiative launched by WideOpenWest CEO Teresa Elder shortly after she was hired in December 2017 to improve the company's customer service through technology.
The layoff "is an adjustment we are making as we reinvest in our business. It is difficult to lay people off," Elder said.
The center handles incoming sales calls, customer care, billing and collections and corporate support such as human resources and information technology.
About 50 jobs from the center will be shifted to two WideOpenWest call centers in Georgia, and 56 employees working in corporate support will remain in a smaller satellite office in Colorado Springs after the call center closes, Havins said.
The Pikes Peak Workforce Center has scheduled a job fair for WideOpenWest employees on Jan. 31 at a location yet to be determined. In addition, cable giant Charter Communications, which operates a large call center in the Springs, plans a job fair from 1-4 p.m.Jan. 22 at the workforce center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road.
The Springs area is home to 40 other "contact" centers employing about 15,000 workers, according to the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC.
WideOpenWest opened the call center in 2002, two years after Colorado Springs voters approved a cable television franchise for the company, which never provided service and later sold the franchise. WideOpenWest provides cable television, high-speed internet and telephone and other communications service to more than 800,000 customers in 19 Midwest and southeast U.S. markets, making it the nation's sixth-largest cable provider.
The WideOpenWest call center is the fifth call center in Colorado Springs to either close or lay off employees since Dec. 31, 2017, many of which shifted the work overseas through their centers or those operated by contractors. Those centers laid off 1,200 people.
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