NORTH CHARLESTON, SC — Verizon Wireless, the nation's leading wireless communications provider, today announced plans to open a state-of-the-art customer call center here, part of its strategy to stay ahead of the continuing strong demand for its wireless products and services. The company will bring up to 1,100 jobs and invest $25 million in the center.
"We are extremely pleased Verizon Wireless has selected the Charleston region for its new state-of-the-art call center, which represents the largest job creation effort ever for our three-county area," said Ted Creech, chairman of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. "The wages and benefits associated with these new jobs will positively impact hundreds of families throughout our community, improving the standard of living for area residents."
The center is expected to open by the end of the year. The 150,000-square-foot facility is located in North Charleston at the Carriage Hill Executive Center at 2401 Mall Drive, the site of the old Montgomery Ward building. It's been designed with employee comfort and productivity in mind. Modular furniture and flat screen computers will give the center a sleek and modern look, while an internal television network will be used to provide timely communications with employees. The center will include a contemporary employee training facility, fitness center and full-service cafeteria.
"Verizon Wireless has experienced tremendous customer growth this year, and we're committed to providing our customers with the best possible customer service. The Charleston call center will allow us to expand our customer service operations and enhance responsiveness to customers," said Jerry Fountain, president of Verizon Wireless' Carolinas and Tennessee Region. "We chose to locate the new call center in Charleston because of its excellent talent pool, business friendly environment and strong incentives provided by the county and state."
"It gives me great pleasure to welcome Verizon Wireless to North Charleston," said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. "Our city is quickly emerging as a premier location for technology-driven companies, and we sincerely thank Verizon Wireless for investing in our future."
The new center will increase the number of Verizon Wireless employees working in South Carolina to over 3,500. Verizon Wireless anticipates creating more than 2,000 new call center jobs this year in South Carolina and North Carolina combined as a result of the planned center in Charleston and its newest call center in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The company operates call centers in Greenville and Columbia, SC in addition to 19 Communications Stores and kiosks throughout the state. In 2004, the company plans to invest $60 million in its wireless network in South Carolina and more than $4 billion nationwide to continue to provide customers with the most reliable wireless network.
"This is indeed wonderful news for the Charleston region," said Barrett Lawrimore, chairman of Charleston County Council. "Our workforce has long been known for its great work ethic and productivity. Verizon Wireless will not be disappointed."
"Creating jobs for South Carolinians is priority one for this administration, and Verizon Wireless will bring hundreds of good jobs to the Lowcountry," said Governor Mark Sanford.
Applications for Employment Now Being Accepted
The company is hiring customer service and customer financial services representatives, and supervisory positions. Plans call for 800 employees to be working at the center by year end.
Interested applicants can call 1-800-575-HIRE (4473), 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and reference code PRE-A8YB or go to Verizon Wireless' website, www.verizonwireless.com/careers, and apply online. The company has received more than 5,000 inquiries in response to employment advertising and receives more every day.
Verizon Wireless offers competitive salaries and employees can take advantage of numerous opportunities for career advancement. Employees qualify for generous benefits packages including:
- Health benefits, including medical, dental, vision and life from day one
- Tuition reimbursement and on-the-job training
- Dollar for dollar 401(k) match up to 6 percent of salary
- Short and long-term incentives
- Profit sharing
- Annual salary merit increases
Extensive 4-6 Weeks of Training for New Hires
Employees participate in a comprehensive, ongoing training program to prepare to serve customers in their new jobs. Intensive training lasts from four to six weeks depending on the specific role of the employee. Each customer service employee is expected to take between 6-8 hours of additional training every month. The continuous focus on training and customer satisfaction helps prepare these employees to provide Verizon Wireless customers with exceptional customer service.
"Verizon Wireless is taking advantage of our outstanding workforce training program, and in return, the Lowcountry is getting a high-tech operation with hundreds of jobs that pay well and provide benefits to employees and their families," said State Commerce Secretary Bob Faith. "Congratulations!"
A Great Place to Work
Verizon Wireless is consistently ranked as one of the best places to work in the country because of its employee-friendly policies. The company has been named one of Working Mother magazine's "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" for three years in a row and Health Magazine last year named the company one of 10 U.S. employers revolutionizing workplaces to help women balance their professional and personal responsibilities.
In each of the past three years, Verizon Wireless has been named one of the nation's top 100 companies by Training magazine for its continued commitment to employee development and for smartly connecting its training programs to business objectives. In 2004, the company ranked 20th on the magazine's annual list of the "Top 100 Training Organizations in America," and was the highest ranked wireless service provider.
Tops in Customer Service
Earlier this year three research organizations recognized Verizon Wireless as the industry leader in customer service satisfaction. The company ranked highest among major U.S. wireless service providers for customer satisfaction based on the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), an independent measure of wireless users' satisfaction produced by the University of Michigan.
A survey of 1,000 wireless users conducted by Strategy Analytics concluded "Verizon [Wireless] sets a daunting benchmark for its competition, achieving class-leading ratings for service quality and customer care." And the Yankee Group studied the discriminating buying habits of businesses and business users and found Verizon Wireless has the market share lead for all business users among the six national wireless carriers.
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 40.4 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.
About the Charleston Regional Development AllianceThe Charleston Regional Development Alliance represents Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties. Its mission is to broaden and diversify business investment in this region, with an emphasis on technology-intensive business sectors. Since its inception, the Alliance has facilitated more than 150 competitive expansions or relocations. To learn more, go to www.charleston-for-business.com.####