Cross Country call center gets GM contract, will add 100 jobs

Cross Country call center gets GM contract, will add 100 jobs
By TEYA VITU, Tucson Citizen , FRANCISCO MEDINA/Tucson Citizen

Tucson Citizen, AZ
June 2 2004

Employees look at a Bentley outside the Cross Country Automotive
Services’ call center, 1401 S. Pantano Road. Seeing the car is supposed
to help workers provide better help when answering emergency road
service calls.

Cross Country Automotive Services call center employees last week
got a close look at a dozen luxury $150,000 Bentley Continental
GT coupes, all parked outside the center at 1401 S. Pantano Road.
It’s part of the job, a matter of getting to know the car better so
Tucson employees fielding emergency services calls from across the
nation can better identify with a caller’s problem.

Cross Country takes calls from owners of 70 percent of the automotive
brands at call centers in Medford, Mass.; Sebring, Fla.; and, since
1995, in Tucson, which is the largest center, with 500 employees,
and about to get larger.

In the coming months, 100 new jobs will be added to help serve all
eight lines of General Motors vehicles, a contract that Cross Country
just landed, spokeswoman Kathy Cavolina said.

Applications are being accepted at the office, online at
[email protected] and by phone at (800) 343-3288.
Starting salaries range from $8 to $9.50 per hour, with some jobs
starting higher, Cavolina said.

It’s not like every other call center job.

“At this one you are more in contact with the customer,” said Lelani
Barrios, a Cross Country roadside associate for one year. “You’re
more in-depth with them.”

Cross Country primarily deals with people with an automotive situation
such as a breakdown, a flat tire or a child or dog locked in the
car. The associates are trained to confirm the caller’s safety,
determine location and the problem and send help which could be a
tow truck, police, even a helicopter.

Vartan Yozghadlian, an Armenian immigrant with seven years at Cross
Country, one day found himself on the other end of a call from a
couple in Colorado stuck in a snowstorm on the way to the hospital.
The woman was in labor.

All he had to do was stay on the line until paramedics or police showed
up. But he stayed with the couple even as the helicopter came in.

“Suppose I needed to send for a tow truck,” Yozghadlian said. “It’s
my duty. We do whatever it takes to help and give our best to the
customer. This is our dedication, the quality we give to the customer.”

A family in Texas was driving to the airport for its first trip to
Disneyland when the car’s tire went flat.

There was no spare.

The family called and got Cross Country roadside associate Corrie
Fisher in Tucson, who added urgency to her dispatch style.

“They were freaking out,” Fisher remembered. “While I dispatched
service, I could hear the children asking, ‘Can we still go to
Disneyland?’ I was talking to the dispatcher, saying, ‘These kids
had to go to Disneyland. You need to get someone there fast.’ ”

Every few months, automakers take cars to the Cross Country center
for employees to inspect. But never before has the Tucson operation
seen a fleet of Bentley Continental GTs.

“I think that’s the highest end, especially that volume – 12 cars,”
said Paul Kline, the center’s operations director. “This is for
folks to actually see the vehicle and see some of the nuances,
like how the remote key works. It makes people feel more engaged,
not just something you read about.”