Springfield call center offers innovative space

| Print |  Email
Saturday, July 01, 2006

SPRINGFIELD — It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a cruise ship… No, it’s a call center. Coming to rest prominently by Interstate 5 in Springfield is the next generation in call sites: Royal Caribbean’s months-old customer care building, with an entrance shaped like a ship’s prow and an interior that boasts ample natural lighting, a spacious fitness center and a cafeteria that would keep Oregon’s most dogmatic vegetarians happy.

The company, which runs cruises all over North America and Europe, began staffing up in Springfield late last year and officially opened up this spring. At full employment, between 800 and 900 people will work there. Already 300 employees are on the site, the vast majority of them service reps, and they are arguably getting the most bang in Oregon for their starting wage bucks: $9.25 an hour (plus benefits). The U.S. Green Building Council recently granted the center LEED gold status for environmental efforts in construction. The layout conjures a cruise ship, with its whitewashed walls, huge portal-like windows, rainbowed tapestries, arching halls and a spiral staircase up to the cafeteria.

“A lot of our employees haven’t cruised yet so we wanted to give them the feeling,” says Lena Kostopulos, Royal Caribbean’s human resources director in Springfield.

A Royal Caribbean employee also collected cruise memorabilia, such as original first-class
china, that is scattered around the center. The motif extends to a collection of eerie mannequins donned in cruise staff wear at one end of the building.

Toward the end of employees’ first year, the company does give them a taste of the real thing with a free cruise. Customer rep Tina Walling, who recently sailed out of Los Angeles, reports that the similarities between the ship and her new home port were uncanny. “The ship was so big — kind of like the center — that I didn’t even get seasick.” In Springfield, she uses a personal trainer in the fitness center and is eating more salads. And that’s helping her keep that cheery phone voice for eight hours straight. “You can’t help but be in a better mood here,” Walling says. “They’ve gone all out.”

— Oakley Brooks

Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumb

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Read more...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS