Arizona-based mobile operator Consumer Cellular, run by a former Oklahoma, is opening a customer service center in Oklahoma City that it says would almost immediately employ about 300 people.
Eventually, up to 500 people could be hired by the company, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., which leases two floors of the Baker Hughes building at 12701 N Santa Fe Ave. at the Kilpatrick Turnpike.
Chairman and CEO Ed Evans, former co-owner of Oak Tree National, Edmond’s golf and country club, made the announcement Tuesday with government and business leaders at the Oklahoma History Center. The Baker Hughes building was not yet ready.
Evans said he had a personal desire to open a center here, but Consumer Cellular commissioned a study “to validate it.”
“What we found is what we expected,” he said: quality of life and quality of labor.
Evans said the center would hire two types of employees: customer experience reps — inbound sales — with a salary of about $55,000 a year plus benefits, and customer service reps earning about $35,000. $ per year plus benefits.
He noted Oklahoma City’s median annual per capita income of about $30,000 and said Consumer Wireless was happy to offer more.
Consumer Cellular has approximately 4 million customers. It is aimed at people aged 50 and over who are usually not as tech-savvy as younger people. Evans said people applying to work there — or choosing to work remotely — need to understand that.
“We are looking for the best of the best. What’s unique about (us) is that we take care of the elderly,” said Evans, who is 60. “So our calls tend to take a little longer, as opposed to the five to typical seven minutes. call you are going to have in a call center.
“Our calls can take 15 or 20 minutes to really explain to a senior the technology they’re dealing with, and we don’t mind that. The person we are looking for at our center is someone who is patient and will be able to take the time, think about caring for grandparents or caring for aging parents, and really walk that journey. to use technology in the right way.”
Evans said it might surprise some people to see a company needing 300 to 500 employees come to a city with such a tight job market. He said he wasn’t worried because Consumer Cellular could compete.
“A lot of people look at the unemployment rate in Oklahoma City and think, ‘Why would anyone want to expand in a place where there’s 1.2% unemployment?’ And I actually think that’s a pretty easy question,” he said. “What that tells me is that we have a workforce that wants to go out and work. am not afraid to compete with any other employer out there.
“We offer solid salaries, a great place to work and an environment where you can grow and learn. I think we are going to be very competitive in the market. This is exactly the type of market in which we were looking to develop.
Consumer Cellular offers more than jobs, said Shelley Zumwalt, director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
The company “provides people with careers, not just jobs,” Zumwalt said. “These are places where they can grow. Consumer Cellular offers benefits that many other employers don’t.
“When I was researching Consumer Cellular, one thing that stood out to me was their investment in their employees. … They hire from within, and many of the people who are in leadership positions have worked in the company and may have started in entry-level positions. It pays off a lot. »
Consumer Cellular does not participate in the National Good Jobs Program, which provides incentives in the form of limited reimbursement of company payroll expenses. Evans said he had thought about it, but it wouldn’t have affected the decision to open the center.
Evans said he’d rather see the incentives used to attract business that might not come to Oklahoma City otherwise.
Consumer Cellular was established in 1995 in Portland, Oregon. He moved to Scottsdale in 2019. Evans and a private equity group bought the business about a year ago.
Consumer Cellular has two customer service centers in Oregon and three in Arizona, all in the United States, a company spokesperson said in an email. The new one here should be fully operational early next year.
Consumer Cellular is expanding after forming a partnership with Target and “plans to open many physical stores” next year, according to a company spokesperson.
Senior Business Writer Richard Mize has covered housing, construction, commercial real estate and related topics for the newspaper and Oklahoman.com since 1999. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.