the March 15, 2002 print edition
Center Executives Command Big Bucks
performers in big demand despite economic downturn
Patrick Staff Writer
METROPLEX -- In his many years as a call center
executive, Blake Wolff has noticed a correlation between
communication with customers and a company's revenue.
you treat a customer during a chat can be the
opportunity to lose a client or make a lifetime
customer," said Wolff, a former senior vice
president at CompUSA Call Center Services and now
president and CEO of the call center services company
Telvista in Dallas.
revenue rises, so apparently do salaries.
experienced customer service executives like Wolff have
seen their salaries climb to as much as $300,000 in
recent years, according to a recently released survey by
The Broadmoor Group. The Dallas-based executive
recruiting firm found top U.S. financial services
companies are offering heads of customer-service
operations an average of $210,000 plus bonuses and stock
telecommunications receive between $123,800 and $210,500
plus bonuses and stock options, according to the
nationwide survey of more than 400 customer service
executives at companies with revenue of $1 billion or
top executives have increased 25% to 30% in the past
four years at the nation's top companies, said
Leverette, managing partner of Broadmoor. The results of
the two-year survey show a shift in how corporations
view the importance of customer service and more
emphasis on strategic thinking, he said.
customer service has been thought of as a cost center
with all the negative connotations that term
implies," he said. "Now, many companies are
seeing the direct or indirect impact customer service
has on the bottom line. Salaries for seasoned executives
with customer-oriented business experience are
reflecting the realization that customer service
have been hard hit by the economic downturn, and
industry giants such as SBC Communications and Verizon
Communications have announced layoffs in recent months.
Nonetheless, industry experts say a well-run call center
can still garner a company several million dollars a
month in revenue.
And, since the
typical call center executive runs between five and 15
call centers -- and up to 50 isn't unusual -- an
executive with extensive project management experience
is highly regarded.
compare these candidates to a Michael Jordan or even a
Michael Finley for what they may potentially bring a
company in added revenue over time," said Butch
Hawking, a former Kansas State University basketball
coach who now focuses on call-center recruitment for
Plano-based recruiting firm Kaye/Bassman
International Corp. "The top executives are
creative people who not only know how to save their
companies money, but know how to motivate workers in an
industry known for its high turnover."
has always rung off the hook, but in the last few months
I have spoken to 10 executive search firms," said
call center executive Paul Turner, who recently left the
telecommunications sector for another call center post
after nearly 20 years working for companies such as
Weblink Wireless and MCI.
had more than 15 open positions for call center
executives earlier this year and talked to several
hundred candidates. While the Dallas-Fort Worth market
is a hub for call centers, with more than 400 in the
area, the recruiter's final five placements were
experienced candidates from outside the Metroplex.
service executives in the financial area have bachelor's
degrees and extensive project management experience.
Those in telecommunications or computers may work their
way up the ranks without college, but several years of
management experience are essential.
certainly is less expensive to keep a customer you
already have than to go to the expense of acquiring a
new one," Turner said. "I think many companies
are adhering to that."
writer Stephanie Patrick at email@example.com or
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