The Ford Motor Company recently announced it would be opening a new customer contact center in Houston, where local authorities and company officials expect it to generate as many as 500 jobs. The center was formally welcomed into the community during a ceremony on Sept. 9th, which featured the Ford Motor Company's chief customer experience officer and the mayor's chief development officer in attendance.
Elena Ford, the chief customer experience officer for the company and great-great-granddaughter of its famous founder Henry Ford, claimed that the new call center was perfectly situated in Texas. "There is no better place for Ford to be than in Texas, in the biggest truck market in the country," Ford said, per the Houston Chronicle, adding that "there is another important element that we've added in truck country, is creating high-performance teams of people that are solely focused on taking care of Ford truck owners."
Houston Chief Development Officer Andy Icken also lauded the decision to base the call center in the city, arguing that its vibrant diversity would make it an excellent source for job candidates as the company seeks to cement its local presence. Peter Formisano, CEO of Percepta, a company which helped Ford construct the new call center, also argued that the area was overflowing with qualified workers.
"The talent that we have in this site is some of the best I've ever seen in my career," Formisano said, per the Chronicle. "The culture that we have here and the people that we've been able to attract are providing great customer service to Ford's customers and dealers, and we couldn't be more proud of what they're doing today."
The Ford Motor Company expects the call center to manage roughly 1 million consumer calls per year, with about 200 of its 500 employees focusing exclusively on truck owners and the problems they frequently encounter.
Houston has been enjoying robust jobs growth lately, with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrating that the city had the third-most jobs growth amongst major U.S. Metro Areas for the year ended Feb. 28, according to a news release from the Bureau. Houston is also one of the fastest growing cities in the nation in terms of population; Census estimates indicate the city grew by 1.4 percent from 2017 to 2018.
Most positions at the Ford Motor Company's new call center will be paid between $16 and $18 an hour, though certain positions will be enjoying higher compensation. The company hopes that its new center can serve as a single point of contact for concerned customers plagued with problems, rather than relying on traditional management models which could lead customers to speak to multiple individuals, which often frustrates them.
According to a whitepaper released by the Site Selection Group, a real estate consulting firm, the United States lost nearly 18,000 jobs in 2017 alone from call centers closing across the country.
Amidst the new spree of job creation from the call center, the Ford Motor Company is also grappling with a two-year effort to radically pare down its overall workforce, with a specific focus on reducing bureaucracy. According to reporting from the New York Times, about 1,500 jobs were eliminated last year through buyouts.