Nearshore Americas

Sitel to Lay Off Over 600 Employees in the United States

Sitel is reportedly set to cut 675 jobs at its call center in Augusta, Georgia, following the cancellation of a service contract with U.S. wireless operator Verizon. All the employees in question have been served with severance notices, as the BPO provider works with local government officials to arrange alternative jobs and benefits assistance for the affected employees.

In a statement, Sitel’s executive vice president, Sean Erickson, argued that the workforce reduction was related to the changing business needs of a customer and not “a reflection on the quality of service” agents provided.

The news is surprising because Sitel expanded the call center in May, adding 200 positions.

Sitel, which set up its call center in Augusta in 1999, is believed to have gained numerous customer service contracts since President Barack Obama signed his healthcare bill into law.

It is likely that Sitel’s healthcare vertical has continued to yield high dividends, but not the telecom vertical. In December, Sitel stated that its global operation would add 11,000 new agents to its workforce by the end of 2014.

According to the same press release, Sitel wanted to hire 5,700 home-based agents in the United States alone. It is not clear whether or not it is removing full-time positions in order to hand jobs to home-based agents.

With more than 110 delivery centers and 56,000 employees in 23 countries, Sitel is one of the world’s largest voice-based BPO firms.

Sitel provides customer service through a variety of channels, including web chat, social media and telephone, among others. Its industry verticals include communications, healthcare, financial services, retail and manufacturing.

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In Latin America, it has operations in Nicaragua, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Panama. According to one report, nearly 10% of customer calls are handled from the company’s Latin American delivery centers.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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