Helena Rodriguez: PNT staff writer
When many people order at a fast-food drive through, they assume they’re talking to a person in that building. In the near future, however, it could be an operator in Clovis taking their orders from around the country.
An SEI call center is scheduled to open in Clovis before the end of the year, employing an initial two dozen or so bilingual employees at the old ClientLogic building near Clovis Community College. The center could eventually employ as many as 75 people to man calls in English and Spanish.
According to John Flasco, SEI director of human resources and community relations, the Clovis call center will have two primary functions. The center will serve as a computer help desk for some companies. The other half of the operation will serve as a remote order call center for quick-service restaurants.
“Some operators will be taking orders for fast-food drive throughs everywhere across the country, which will be processed through our computer system (in Clovis) and then go back to the restaurant kitchens and back to the people at work,” Flasco said. “It will be absolutely seamless to the customers.”
Although Flasco would not name specific companies that will utilize the service, the SEI Web site lists Sonic and McDonalds as some of its clients.
Flasco said SEI, an Illinois-based company, is in the process of interviewing people for job openings and he believes he has found some good candidates to hire for management-level positions. “I think I have found some very good candidates who are very fluent in the (Spanish) language and with the management skills we need, which is exciting for us,” he said.
Flasco said the facility is requiring people to be bilingual and noted that he himself is bilingual, having lived in Spain for a period of time.
Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation, said 15 to 20 of the 75 jobs are management positions that pay well above minimum wage.
“None of the jobs are minimum from my understanding, they are from $28,000 up in the wage range with benefits,” Gentry said.
Gentry also said he has had a number of prospects that are interested in the bilingual workforce, mostly within the call center/customer service industry.
Flasco said SEI will also begin interviewing for technicians during the last week of August to work the computer outdesk to assist clients on the telephone.
He said all interviews are conducted in English and Spanish with the English portion focusing mostly on behaviorally based questions and the Spanish portion focused on the applicants’ spoken, written and reading skills.
When the call center is up and running during the fourth quarter of the year, Flasco said operators will answer calls in English and Spanish.