• FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER •
Digital Dialogue operates 24-hour call centers providing member services for more than 200 credit unions in 42 states. But unlike many call centers in other industries that operate offshore or rely on a computer-generated voice, Digital Dialogue delivers on the credit-union promise of personalized member service.
"Our recent growth is a testament to the demand for 24/7 total member care," said Peter Schmitt, president of Digital Dialogue. "We realized that credit unions didn't want their members talking to computers. They'd rather have their members talking to my people and serviced professionally."
Founded in 1999, Digital Dialogue now employs about 260 people at its headquarters in Auburn Hills and at another call center in Southgate. It hired 120 employees in the past few months and anticipates hiring an additional 200 employees in 2009 as its member base expands rapidly.
That growth stems in part from its purchase in 2007 by its new parent PSCU Financial Services, a credit union service organization. The growth also stems from credit unions' need to manage their expenses in a tough economy by outsourcing their customer-service work.
But what Digital Dialogue won't do, Schmitt said, is outsource the work to Asia.
"We believe that the language barriers are enough that it hinders the quality of service," Schmitt said. "And, two, it's difficult to monitor and control the security and access to information when it's offshore."
Strolling through the company's spacious offices in Auburn Hills, one finds employees seated before computer screens speaking with credit-union members from all over the country. When a caller gives the name of his or her credit union, a Digital Dialogue employee can offer a personalized response, right down to a greeting of "Aloha" when the caller is from Hawaii.
As demand grew, Digital Dialogue recorded more than 211,167 calls in a single month this past summer. The company nearly doubled its office space from 9,300 square feet to more than 17,000 square feet in its Auburn Hills headquarters this year.
With its client base growing so rapidly, Digital Dialogue saw its revenues soar 89% in 2007 and 95% this year. The company expects to grow its revenue another 70% to 80% in 2009.
"Being located in Detroit, we have been fortunate enough to take advantage of the existing labor market," Schmitt said. "The demand for our call center services has enabled us to grow. We expect to continue growing at this rate for years to come."
Posted by Erin Rose at 9:07 PM