Sun resumes having local call center

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.

Starting early next year, Gainesville Sun customers who call about circulation issues will speak to someone locally instead of reaching a call center in the Philippines.

Halifax Media Group CEO Michael Redding announced the change at all Halifax newspapers in a memo to employees Wednesday.

Daytona Beach-based Halifax bought The Sun and 15 other newspapers from the New York Times Co. in January.

Redding wrote that after the acquisition the company found that the newspapers had incredible frustration in their circulation customer service.

Regional Publisher Jim Doughton said the change would take effect as soon as possible in the new year.

Redding wrote that the goal is to have calls handled locally at all newspapers by June 1.

Doughton said the newspapers have used a vendor in the Philippines for about five years. Over that time he has received complaints that callers have had problems with a language barrier or that the jobs were overseas.

A call center with about seven employees will handle circulation calls for The Gainesville Sun and Ocala Star-Banner. The call center will likely be in Ocala, where the newspaper office has more space, and it will have employees from both communities, Doughton said.

"The experience for dealing with someone who gets a wet paper or maybe has a billing problem, that's where we have not lived up to the expectations of our customers and this we feel will be a big improvement over that," he said.

Having a shared knowledge of local landmarks and weather conditions that affect delivery will improve the process, Redding wrote.

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