EchoStar Communications Corp. said last week it will open
its third customer service center this October, in McKeesport, Pa. The company is
investing $4 million in the site, a refurbished steel mill outside Pittsburgh.
The new call center should help EchoStar keep up with
growing demand for its Dish Network direct-broadcast satellite service. According to
chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen, the company's goal is to get the average hold time
down to less than one minute for callers to its 800 number.
The company has already begun hiring for its first 500
customer service representative openings. The new CSRs will undergo rigorous training at a
facility across the street from the call center before it opens. The new customer service
center will ultimately employ as many as 2,000 people, Ergen told viewers of his recent Charlie
Chat with subscribers.
Ergen conceded to viewers that EchoStar has not always been
able to meet its goals of answering calls promptly. Hold times are typically longer for
technical service and billing questions.
An EchoStar spokesman said the company initially looked at
more than 100 sites around the country before narrowing down the list of possibilities to
39. The McKeesport site turned out to be the best spot financially and also offered a good
work force, he said.
The Pennsylvania facility will be the largest of
EchoStar's three call centers. Today, the company employs more than 1,300 CSRs at the
company's headquarters in Littleton, Colo., and at a second call center in Thornton,
Current and potential subscribers can also get answers to
many of their customer service questions on the company's Web site.