Hawaiian Telcom shifts to specialist for 411 service
Metro One Telecommunications already has a call center here
Hawaiian Telcom said Thursday that it plans to outsource Directory Assistance services and redirect resources toward the further expansion of its Internet and video services.
The company notified 36 employees that it intended to shift its directory assistance (411) service to Metro One Telecommunications, a Beaverton, Ore., company that already has a call center in Hawaii.
Metro One’s Honolulu call center, whose employees are familiar with Hawaii culture, geography and pronunciations, eventually will offer new services to Hawaiian Telcom customers, the company said. Enhanced directory assistance will include driving directions, restaurant information, movie listings, sports scores, categorical searches and reverse directory look-up and message service.
Hawaiian Telcom said it will continue to provide call completion services internally, including collect calls and operator-assisted calls, and will not change the way that it treats directory assistance in its billing packages.
The move, which will eliminate the need for costly equipment and software upgrades, is expected to save the company 20 percent and better position it for expansion of more lucrative services, including its plans to deliver video programming, said Ann Nishida, a spokes-woman for Hawaiian Telcom.
“Our target date for a digital video offer is field trials late this year and commercial roll-out in the first half of 2008,” she said.
Mike Ruley, Hawaiian Telcom’s chief executive officer, said, “From a business perspective, this is a necessary step because of the rapidly changing and highly competitive marketplace in which we work.”
Hawaiian Telcom is tightening its focus on the most significant growth opportunities in the markets for voice, wireless, broadband and customized solutions for businesses, and soon video services, Ruley said.
Employees, who were notified of the personnel changes on Wednesday, have been offered a separation package and an expense allowance to assist with career transition.
The company, which is negotiating with the employee union to offer early retirement to some employees, is also offering counseling.