Virtual call center to hire in Southwest Virginia

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CHRISTIANSBURG — Hiring is expected to start this month for 100 new technology-based jobs for DirecTV, in which employees in Southwest Virginia will work from home to handle calls from customers.

Recruiting is expected to pull from three regions, including Carroll and Grayson counties and the City of Galax.

Those hired will serve as remote agents for DirecTV, said Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon), who announced the jobs Tuesday at a news conference in Christiansburg.

“Southwest Virginia’s widespread availability of high-speed Internet services, as well as the area’s excellent workforce and outstanding training resources, make the region ideal for DirecTV’s expansion of its remote agent program,” Boucher said in a press release.

Boucher was joined by economic development officials from Southwest Virginia who also credited the job creation to the training resources available in the area.

"We are convinced that this is the right place for this initiative," Gary Qualls, vice president of customer care for DirecTV, said during the news conference.

The virtual call center will be part of DirecTV's "Remote Agent Program," a growing segment of the company's customer service operations. Currently, the company employs 1,120 remote agents, according to a news release.

Convergys, DirecTV’s long-time customer service partner, will hire employees and provide training to handle general customer support calls for DirecTV. Employees will work from home to take calls related to billing and account management, including review of packages and pricing and account changes.

People hired will receive an average wage of $10 per hour, with the potential to earn an additional $650 per month based on performance. The jobs also include benefits, according to a news release.

“This project is unique in that these 100 new employees will complete online training and telework from home, saving transportation dollars and ensuring that the creation of the call center will have a positive economic impact on a broad area,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a press release Tuesday.

“All three regions worked together to make this virtual call center a reality, and Southwest Virginia’s community colleges have played a crucial role in ensuring that DirecTV found the well-trained and professional workforce critical to the success of their operation.”

The company, which is based in Los Angeles, has 18.5 million customers, Qualls said.

Officials said DirecTV and its call center partner Convergys plan to begin hiring soon with job fairs set April 6 and 7.

“We chose this area of Virginia for its strong work ethic and robust broadband infrastructure that is essential to support a virtual call center," said Ellen Filipiak, senior vice president for customer service at DirecTV.

“We appreciate the assistance provided by the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, several development agencies within the Commonwealth of Virginia and especially Rep. Rick Boucher, whose direct involvement made this program possible.

“The congressman has been a long-time proponent of technological innovation that makes leading edge programs like this happen.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Boucher to secure the project for Virginia. The New River Valley Economic Development Alliance, Virginia’s aCorridor and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority assisted. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide job training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

Those interested in applying for the virtual call center positions should visit careers.convergysworkathome.com for more information.