I see that Asurion is expanding its Moncton call centre. There have been a number of downsizings in recent months and years but some of that has been offset by expansions. It’s hard to have a completely accurate view but I would suggest that Moncton is probably down 300-400 or so call centre workers (net) in the past three years.
The truth is that there will be call centre activity – in North America – for the foreseeable future. The amount and intensity of that activity in New Brunswick is the question. My sense is that the internal, inbound customer service centres will stay and thrive but they might end up shedding some jobs as the work moves from taking calls to interaction by email and social media.
Wage rates will continue to rise putting pressure on firms to get more efficient or move to a cheaper location but the latter option always comes with risk.
As I have said before, it would be interesting for New Brunswick to rebrand itself as a social media hub – the evolution of the call centre hub. If we could gather some data on how much of this activity is currently underway at the big call centres and add in Radian6, Lymbix, etc. we might have an interesting story to tell.
It would get even more interesting if the NBCC started churning out social media copy writers in both English and French and if the universities started R&D projects associated with social media. Some argue clusters are organic – I argue you have to prime the pump.