Shrimp and Grits: A Postcard from Sitel Group’s Spartanburg, South Carolina Delivery Site
Greetings from the historic and beautiful city of Spartanburg, South Carolina! Over the span of the last 13+ years, I’ve visited literally dozens of call centers.
Greetings from the historic and beautiful city of Spartanburg, South Carolina! Over the span of the last 13+ years, I’ve visited literally dozens of call centers. Many of you reading this know that I make it my mission to tour Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) delivery sites all over the globe to better understand company culture and delivery strategy.
I thoroughly enjoy talking with agents, line managers and HR staff to get the “how’s and why’s” of current outsourcing activities. Location is very important in this industry as you consider real estate costs, local wages, access to public transportation and access to agent talent.
I was recently invited by BPO giant Sitel Group, to get a true first-hand look at one of its newest call centers in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The company’s mission, vision and values are prominently displayed throughout the site. Chairs, desks and walls are brightly colored and reflect a contemporary look and feel. Even the agent break room and Sitel cafe – critical to getting agents reenergized – sparkle with a high-tech fit and finish. One of the coolest features is that the sign-in process for visitors is completely digital and can track visitor movement throughout the facility. This is a huge advancement in physical security.
Sitel Spartanburg was recognized as the #1 Site in North America in 2018 for its stellar employee satisfaction results. What impressed me most about this site visit was Sitel’s laser focus on agent recruitment, training, learning and career development. As a former supervisor and coach, I was delighted to hear that Sitel has rolled out a new (company-wide) coaching development program.
Finally, employees here sponsor of a number of local events during the year. Agents and managers regularly engage in outreach activities to create a “give back” mentality and are encouraged to be an integral part of the Spartanburg community. No doubt about it – there is a vibrant and charitable company culture here!
Sampling Local Culture & Cuisine
Getting to Spartanburg means flying to Greenville, S.C. – a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of major airports like L.A., Atlanta or Dallas. Make no mistake; Greenville is a city with its own special charm. When you’re passing through downtown, make sure to try lunch at Husk restaurant. “If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door,” says Chef Sean Brock, Husk’s Founding Chef. With its casual and chic atmosphere, the food served at Husk is modern in style and interpretation. The fried pickles are to die for!
For supper, my host took me to dine at a most interesting place. I highly recommend The Anchorage, located in the heart of the Village of West Greenville. Serving only dinner, this farm-to-table style restaurant showcases simple ingredients sourced both locally and regionally. Make sure to sample the shrimp and grits – oh man, what a delicious Southern favorite! Grits have their roots in Native American culture. Native Americans would grind dried corn and make it into a mush. Interestingly, the phrase “nose to the grindstone” comes from the process of making grits. It was essential that sense of smell be used to carefully monitor the process because stone grinding generates a great deal of heat and can cook the corn. The service and food at The Anchorage are simply outstanding!
Why Spartanburg? City History, Charm and Allure
A treaty with the Cherokee Indian (Native American) nation in 1753 opened up the area for settlers. The county was formed in 1785 and got its name from the Spartan Regiment, a local militia unit that fought in the Revolutionary War. The county has grown from a frontier trading post and later a major textile center to an important and diversified manufacturing center with more than 500 manufacturing firms. Spartanburg’s business roster notably includes BMW, the automaker’s only North American manufacturing plant.
Spartanburg is the fourth largest county in South Carolina by population. With nearly 40,000 residents in the city of Spartanburg, there are more than 15,000 college students. The city boasts a revitalized downtown cultural district that is home to great restaurants, boutique shops, art galleries and an active music scene.
More than a Remodel: Sitel’s New Center of Excellence
In 2015 Sitel Group, officially opened the new call center in Spartanburg. This Center of Excellence is housed in a former Winn Dixie grocery store, and it is quite expansive. Here are a few quick facts:
- Opened in 2015
- 770 Workstations
- Financial Services: Insurance, Card Services
- Healthcare: Plans & Payers
- Customer Service: Inbound Phone
- Sales: Inbound Phone/Outbound Appointments
- Tech Support: Inbound Phone
Education Environment and Local Business Revival
Spartanburg is blessed with an abundance of educational institutions (eight), and has one of the largest universities groupings from which to recruit agents and employees. This is critically important since the bulk of the Sitel center’s agents are drawn from the student population.
Gotta go….A new blog is coming soon! Look for next postcard from another exciting Sitel Group delivery location. It could be from anywhere, after all this is a global company!
Happy New Year!
Principal Analyst, Customer Care & Digital Transformation, Frost & Sullivan