Gov. Rick Snyder joins celebration for 250 new call center jobs in Cascade Township

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4 September 2014
Jobs4America Chairman and CEO of American Support Matt Zemon Presents Governor Rick Snyder and Dialog Direct CEO Doug Kearney Spirit of America Awards

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, MI – Gov. Rick Snyder joined a celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 3, for 250 new call center jobs at Dialog Direct, a Texas-based firm that opened its offices at 2905 Lucerne Dr. SE this spring.

“These are jobs that help people make a livelihood,” said Snyder of the new call center, one of five operated by Dialog Direct in Michigan. The company employs 2,375 persons in Holland, Troy, Auburn Hills and Highland Park.

“We’re proud that companies like Dialog Direct are expanding in Michigan because our state, the Comeback State, has the talent and the business-friendly environment that helps companies grow and thrive and create more and better jobs,” Snyder said in his remarks.

“It’s sending a message to the rest of the world that we can compete.”

For 26-year-old Toni Clark, her new job as a customer service representative represented a step up from her previous job as a medical assistant at a local nursing home.

Most of her workday is spent fielding six to seven calls an hour from insurance company customers who want to know about their coverage, Clark said.

Loyiso Matanda, 25, said his job as a customer service representative is a big improvement over his third shift factory job with a temporary agency and a part-time job at Buffalo Wild Wings. His biggest challenge is dealing with customers who have been fed the wrong information about their insurance coverage, Matanda said.

Douglas Kearney, Dialog Direct’s president and CEO, said customer service representatives like Clark and Matanda can expect to earn from $23,000 to $35,000 a year. But the company also offers advancement opportunities that can result in an income of $45,000 to $50,000 a year, he said.

“The people who are interested in making it a career can do very well,” Kearney said.

Michigan is an ideal location for call centers because its workforce is “over-educated and under-employed,” said Matt Zemon, chairman of Jobs4America, a North Carolina- based trade group for the domestic call center industry.

Michigan residents’ “neutral accent” and work ethic also add to the state’s appeal for call centers, said Zemon, who presented Snyder and Michigan Economic Development Corp. president Michael Finney with its “Spirit of America” award for their support of the call center industry.

“In just the past 18 months in Michigan 3,827 jobs were created in the customer call center industry with more than a third coming from Dialog Direct,” said Zemon said.

Wednesday’s celebration came four years after NOVO1, Dialog Direct’s corporate predecessor, held a ribbon cutting ceremony in Holland to announce the company’s arrival in West Michigan.

While the center originally planned to create 75 jobs during the first year and ultimately employ 300 people, the Holland center now employs more than 700 workers who respond to insurance questions, assist in roadside emergencies and sell medical products, according to Kearney.

Dialog Direct’s new facility in Cascade Township can be expanded up to 30,000-square=-eet and accommodate up to 400 employees, the company said.

“With the addition of our Grand Rapids Customer Engagement Center, Dialog Direct now has a very solid base of operations in Michigan,” Kearney said in a statement. 
“Our growth here has been made possible by terrific people and an economic environment that nurtures business growth.”

Collectively, Dialog Direct executives said they employ more than 2,000 workers in Michigan with an annual payroll more than $60 million. In total, Dialog Direct maintains 12 customer engagement centers, occupies 1 million square feet of space and provides customer support in 11 languages.