By Tom Senkus
If you’ve ever spoken to a company on the phone, you should know that your call may be reaching one of the largest call centers in the United States. These so-called “megacenters” can be staggering complexes, where thousands of employees congregate daily to handle the demand of consumers.
These call centers process thousands of calls daily, often serving a number of functions under one roof (or in the same campus), including customer services, sales, claims processing, technical/ IT support and so forth.
When one thinks of call centers, one doesn’t imagine beauty, but you’d be surprised how some companies plunk down on aesthetics to attract and retain call center employees in a number of bustling metropolitan areas.
In this article, we will take a look at seven of the largest call centers in the US, working to provide all varieties of communication services, across many industries, while employing thousands in the process.
#1 – American Express
Located: Phoenix, Arizona
Estimated # of Employees: 7,000
With more employees than many small towns, the American Express call center in Phoenix takes the number one spot in terms of the largest call center in the United States.
One of the largest employers in northern Arizona, this call center handles the inbound and outbound services of US phone numbers and international customer service inquiries for American Express on its impressive 90-acre facility.
However, the distinction for the top spot of this call center list may change with American Express’ new plans: Currently, the call center campus is located in the Deer Valley area at Interstate 17 and Loop 101; however, the company has just announced plans to move 3,000 jobs and employees 12 miles east to a new location at the Desert Ridge area of Phoenix at 56th Street and Mayo Boulevard, near the Mayo Clinic and Desert Ridge Marketplace in northeast Phoenix. This may knock it out of the #1 position, but even with the cellular mitosis-like division, this call center remains a solid contender on this list.
#2 – Fidelity Investments
Located: Westlake, Texas
Estimated # of Employees: 6,000
Fidelity Investments, the Boston-based mutual fund giant is number two on our list, and with good reason: its scenic Westlake campus (opened in 2001) employs a staggering 6,000 employees on 300 acres, amid a lush forest backdrop. Previously, the location was home to the Circle T Ranch, but has more recently become a tech hub — nearby, Charles Schwab is building an equally-impressive facility at 500,000 square feet in size, and TD Ameritrade is building a new 350,000-square-foot campus.
With Texas now the location of the biggest of Fidelity Investments’ ten regional operations (see below), its growth has been steady since founding more than a decade ago. In fact, their estimated employee count was 4,500 in 2013 showing staggering growth in just 5 years.
#3 – Fidelity Investments
Located: Covington, Kentucky
Estimated # of Employees: 4,000
Leave it to Fidelity Investments to appear on this list twice. Their similarly impressive site on the border of Cincinnati, OH currently hosts 4,000 employees. The company currently owns 250 acres in Covington, KY, making this a space that can expand as a business in the area grows.
The call center itself includes a five-level parking garage with approximately 1,500 parking spaces. However, Fidelity’s chairman ordered the site to be as ecologically sustainable as possible, saving as many trees as possible in the process and proactively managing stormwater for the surrounding area. Additionally, to not be an eyesore, the facility was tucked away in the forest to not spoil the view
#4 – Bank of America
Located: Norfolk, Virginia
Estimated # of Employees: 3,600
It’s no surprise that banks make up a high percentage of mega centers in the US. Bank of America’s location at the Dominion Tower building in downtown Norfolk, Virginia is an iconic site to behold in the city. In 2015, Bank of America moved their base of operation from the nearby Icon of Citywalk (former aptly-named Bank of America Center), which was the 2nd-largest building in Norfolk.
#5 – Citibank
Located: Irving, Texas
Estimated # of Employees: 3,500
Texas’ large workforce and gigantic metropolitan areas make it an ideal location for call centers in the United States. That’s why Citibank, the New York-based banking juggernaut, has created a gigantic 589,000 square foot campus to handle its banking operations.
The Irving, Texas facility is home to approximately 8,000 employees, with nearly half of those employed at the company’s Regent Commons location. So if you detect a Texas drawl and a couple of y’alls while on the phone with Citibank, chances are, they’re coming from this impressive space.
#6 – Blue Cross Blue Shield
Located: Richardson, Texas
Estimated # of Employees: 3,200
Handling the intricacies and red tape that comes with health insurance requires a lot of manpower. That’s why the health insurance conglomerate Blue Cross Blue Shield has also turned to the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area of Texas to meet its needs. That makes sense, as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is one of the state’s largest employers overall.
#7 – Florida Blue
Located: Jacksonville, Florida
Estimated # of Employees: 3,000
While you may assume that this is the first instance for one of the “smaller” guys to take a spot among the big names of the six aforementioned companies, think again: Florida Blue is actually a branded division of Blue Cross Blue Shield (known as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida).
Florida Blue holds its own with 3,000 employees dedicated to handling the company’s health insurance operations and customer service.
Additionally, Florida Blue holds a number of important distinctions among other call centers, including its BlueDirect Sales Center (BDSC) ranking among the top 10 for medium-sized call centers in North America from BenchmarkPortal (a call center benchmarking company).
That award came in 2013 when it was only medium-sized (~200 employees). Since then, Florida Blue’s call center has dramatically increased by several thousand, showcasing the need for the state’s health care industry as a whole.