Leader on the Italian market for call center services with over 18,000 dedicated workstations, the Telecom Italia Group has decided to launch a project to set up new centers in the period 2001-2004.
Through this initiative, the Telecom Italia Group intends to harness the full potential of a business sector that has seen a long period of steady growth in Europe and offers considerable room for development in Italy.
Drawn up by Telecom Italia Wireline, the Telecom business unit for fixed telephony and Internet services for corporate customers, the project involves the creation of eight new call centers, located mainly in southern Italy, and 3,000 workstations for about 4,500 operators.
The total investment planned amounts to over 130 billion lire.
The new call center network will provide services on an outsourcing basis for companies belonging to the Group (especially Tim and Seat Pagine Gialle) and for third parties, focusing its activities in the areas where a sharp increase in demand is foreseen, namely new technologies, finance, utilities and the public administration system.
In addition to traditional customer care, the services made available by the call centers will assist the customer also in marketing activities and the post-sale phase. The range of new services will gradually expand to include more complex activities such as telemarketing, highly specialized technical assistance, and customer support in web transactions and operations (e-commerce and B2B).
The project will commence in the town of Caltanissetta, where the first center with 250 workstations for 350 operators will be set up by September 2001. The next region after Sicily will be Campania in the same year. These will be followed by Molise in 2002 and then Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata and Sardinia together with one region in North Italy, to be selected at a later date.
Call center workforce
In the space of four years, the project will involve the creation of about 4,500 new jobs characterized by great flexibility and a high level of professional expertise, and drawing upon the entire range of contractual tools at the Group´s disposal. The new industrial plan and the employment opportunities involved in its implementation will be discussed with the trade union organizations over the next few weeks.
The ideal candidate for selection as a call center operator is a young university graduate, a high-school graduate with 2-3 years of work experience, or a recent high-school graduate with an aptitude for interpersonal relations and teamwork and a readiness to learn.
As regards the selection process, the Telecom Italia Group is currently negotiating agreements with schools, universities and employment agencies at both the national and regional levels.
The entrepreneurial model
The Call Center project will be implemented through the creation of specific new companies in each of the areas involved.
In accordance with the model selected, Telecom Italia will hold a share of 80-90% in each of the companies to be set up locally through its subsidiary Atesia (a Telecom Italia Wireline company specializing in call center services). The remaining share will be held by local partners outside the Group assigned entrepreneurial and operational responsibility for the project.
These entrepreneurial partners will focus particular attention on identifying local development opportunities and supplying services on the local market.
As Roberto Colaninno, President and Managing Director of Telecom Italia, states, "This is one of the Group´s most important projects of industrial development and job creation. The sector of call center services is a high-growth area where it is vital to find skilled personnel among young people. The initiative will also involve considerable investment in training, and constitutes a development opportunity for areas of southern Italy."
Rocco Sabelli, Director of Telecom Italia Wireline, adds, "The new project is designed to replicate the initiatives launched by the Group over the last few years on a far broader scale through the involvement of entrepreneurs capable of operating successfully at the local level and developing the activities of these new structures also outside Telecom´s normal area of business."