SIKESTON - As of July 10, there will be even fewer jobs in Sikeston.
Dave Huntsman, general manager for Charter Communications in Sikeston, confirmed that March 18 - one week before Superior Essex announced cutbacks of nearly one-third of its jobs leading up to the wire manufacturing plant's closing in August, Charter Communications' corporate office announced the Sikeston call center would close.
The Sikeston call center operates 24-hours per day, seven days a week, providing service for over 150 cities in Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.
"We're having to restructure responsibilities," said Huntsman explaining the layoffs. "They're consolidating call centers to get down to a number than can be more efficient and more customer friendly. We're relocating our phone responders to another call center, so half of those members will be laid off."
He said the rest of the Sikeston Charter Communications office is not closing however. "We're downsizing our staff," Huntsman said. "Our office will remain here."
Huntsman said of the call center's 40 employees, as many as 30 will be reassigned to other jobs at the Sikeston Charter Communications office.
"The other people have the option to relocate," Huntsman said. "They can go to the Minnesota site, St. Louis site, or any other site that is available."
Huntsman said he is aware of community concerns over the closing of the call center. "We're doing this to enhance our customer service," he said. "We're very sensitive to the fact that local customers may feel they won't be getting a local contact, but it will be even better."
Once the change is in place and the Sikeston office no longer has the feedback from an in-house call center, it will make up the difference by being more proactive, Huntsman said, calling customers to check up on service.