Altice USA said it will shutter its call center in Shelton, Conn., as well as a back office operation in nearby Stratford in November, resulting in the loss of about 600 positions at the company.
The moves come on the heels of Altice USA’s decision to shutter a former Suddenlink Communications call center in Greenville, N.C., which will affect about 81 jobs. However, the final job impact in Greenville could be lighter as some employees are expected to move to other positions within the company.
Altice USA purchased Cablevision Systems in June for $17.8 billion and Suddenlink in December for about $9.1 billion. As part of the state approval process, Altice agreed not to reduce any customer facing positions in New York for four years or in New Jersey for two years. That provision was not part of the approval process in Connecticut.
Altice said it will offer the affected Connecticut employees full severance and outplacement services and they will be eligible to apply for open positions elsewhere in the company. Altice USA will continue to employ several hundred workers in Connecticut after the downsizing.
According to people familiar with the situation, the moves were put in motion well before Altice USA took control of Cablevision and were made in part because of automation in customer service that reduced trouble-call volumes by letting customers modify service packages, sign up for service and troubleshoot and solve problems remotely online.
Alice USA said that after the Connecticut centers are closed, trouble calls will be handled through its Bronx, Long Island and New Jersey customer contact centers.
“Over the last few years, there have been investments and enhancements to our Optimum products and services, making them more reliable and providing more customer service touch points than ever before,” Cablevision said in a statement. "As a result, we have seen a significant improvement in customer call volume and patterns. As we look to strengthen our operations in the nation’s most competitive market, we are aligning our contact center organization to meet the current needs of our customers.”
Cablevision employees who will remain in Connecticut operations include field service technicians and employees at walk-in centers. “Altice USA is committed to Connecticut and to serving the local communities with best-in-class products and service,” Altice USA said in a statement. “As a company driven by technology, investment and innovation, we are introducing some exciting changes to our offerings, including speed increases and new products, which are focused on delivering a superior experience to all of our customers.”