JPMorgan Chase & Co. is hiring dozens of call-center workers in Baltimore who will rarely see the inside of an office after finding success with a similar effort in Detroit.
(Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co. is hiring dozens of call-center workers in Baltimore who will rarely see the inside of an office after finding success with a similar effort in Detroit.
The company has already hired 40 people for the remote customer service roles, Vice Chairman Peter Scher said in an interview. They are just the first of several cohorts the company is planning to add in Baltimore and the biggest US bank is already weighing expanding the program elsewhere in the future, he said.
The latest hiring push comes after JPMorgan added 90 workers for its virtual call center in Detroit, with those staffers typically garnering better satisfaction scores from customers than those handling calls from an office.
“If we’re continuing to see an equal or better performance out of virtual call centers as we do out of traditional call centers there’s no reason that we would not continue to expand this,” Scher said. “There’s an enormous opportunity in the city.”
The centers are proof that while JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon is known for being an outspoken critic of remote work, he does, at times, hold a more nuanced view. The 67-year-old wrote in a letter to shareholders last year that he believes about 10% of the firm’s workforce will be fully remote.
JPMorgan has the largest workforce of any bank in the US with 308,669 employees as of the end of September.
Banks have to have thousands of staffers manning the phones at all hours of the day to deal with customer complaints and questions. Before the pandemic, allowing those employees to work remotely was rare.
But during the pandemic that changed and the remote models ultimately allowed firms to cut costs and retain more staffers. SQM, a customer service software company, predicts that as many as 80% of call-center agents will now work from home.
“You guys have done a great job,” Dimon said at an event for the first anniversary of the remote center in Detroit last month. “This is now a model, we’re going to test it in some other places now where it makes sense.”
For JPMorgan, the idea began with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. For years, he had been urging JPMorgan executives to put a call center in the city as part of the firm’s broader efforts to help revitalize Detroit.
The bank was hesitant to build an entirely new facility, but figured it could try out the virtual model during the pandemic.
“We want this to be your first job in a long career at JPMorgan,” Scher said in Detroit last month. “You may have heard: Jamie has a view about being at home. Not all those jobs are going to be at home, but this is an entry point.”
While the firm’s virtual call-center employees are fully remote, they will occasionally meet face-to-face for training or meetings with senior managers, according to Jordan King, who runs the program for JPMorgan.
“It’s usually to be engaged with Chase in some way, shape or form,” King said. “What we bring them in person for isn’t to sit at a desk.”
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