DirecTV's newest call center up and running in Tulsa

Monday, August 9th 2004, 11:18 am
By: News On 6

Good news for Tulsa's economy, now that DirecTV is open for business. The nation's leading digital TV service provider is expected to boost the city's economy in the way of jobs.

News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger visited DirecTV’s call center Monday during a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The corner of 21st and Sheridan hasn't had much success in recent years. Remember the Venture store and Bill Bartmann’s now defunct Neighborhood Financial Services?
The company invested roughly $20-million to revamp the building. The once under-utilized and dilapidated building is now a state-of-the-art telecommunications call center. DirecTV VP of business and operations, Gary Qualls: “This is a 93,000 square foot facility that's gonna make a difference for 12.5-million customers throughout the country."

Some of the employees are still training and for the past couple of weeks have already begun taking customer support and technical support calls.

Starting with only 60 employees in late July, they're now up to 700 employees, with a projection of more than 1,300 employees by years end. Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune: "It's not just about jobs this fantastic revitalization and rehabilitation of this entire corner will impact this square area."

The building on the corner of 21st and Sheridan has seen a number of failed businesses come and go, but managers say DirecTV will be a successful and permanent fixture.

Site director Greg Schrader says the goal is to provide customers with first class, professional service the company is known for and introduce new products and advanced services like high-definition programming, interactive services, and digital video recorders, a product similar to TiVo. "Our goal is to make sure that we solve their problems resolve any issues they have and make them long term DirecTV customers."

Schrader hopes that recipe for success will expand past the building's current walls in the near future and bring economic security to the Tulsa area.

Customer support staff will be making anywhere from $8 to $10 an hour. The 1,300 local positions will create an additional 1,100 indirect jobs. That will benefit Tulsa's economy by more than $72-million a year in household income.