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Xerox's Dilemma

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Xerox's Dilemma
Oldair J. Silva, Anthony Chavez, Steven Garcia, Marybelle Apuan
351/RES
April 23, 2015
Victor Ornelas

Xerox's Dilemma
Xerox has long been known for the copiers and printers they manufacture, but in recent years they have branched out to other endeavors. One such endeavor is call centers. The call center located in El Paso, Texas has a contract with COX Communications. They handle billing, technical, and retention calls for the cable, Internet, and phone provider. The call centers are normally a lucrative operation for Xerox. Under certain conditions though, Xerox can lose money in the call centers. The biggest revenue killer is overstaffing. “Whatever the purpose of research, a problem must exist in order to justify an investigation of the phenomena within the environment” (Trewatha & Holliday, 2015). Xerox’s loss of revenue due to overstaffing is a substantial issue that merits research to find a solution.
To understand how Xerox loses money in overstaffing situations, we must first discuss how Cox Communications pays Xerox and how Xerox pays its call agents. Xerox pays their agents whenever they are logged into their phones, whether they are actually on a call or just waiting for a call to come in. Arden Pease, an operations manager at Xerox, mentioned “Cox Communications only pays Xerox when an agent is actually on a call. So when an agent is on a call, COX pays Xerox and Xerox pays the agent. When an agent is not on a call Xerox is paying the agent without any revenue coming in from COX” (A. Pease, personal communication, April 20, 2015). Each agent is paid $9.00 an hour plus bonuses. Xerox is losing at least $0.15 cents per minute per agent. On any given day, Xerox has an average of 30 agents available (waiting for a call to come in) at once. This overstaffing means that Xerox is losing a least $4.50 a minute in just one call center alone. Multiply this number by the number of minutes covered each day and then again by the number of call centers operated by Xerox and the loss of revenue starts to become quite significant.
“An appropriate research study should help managers avoid losses and increase sales or profits” (Cooper & Schindler, 2014). This study aims to do exactly that which is what makes it so significant. First we must define the scope of our study. “The scope of the study sets forth the parameters or boundaries of the study” (Trewatha & Holliday, 2015). So while Xerox has call center contracts with more than just COX Communications, we will stay focused on the four call centers contracted to Cox Communications while conducting our research. Although we are conducting research to solve an issue with only four call centers, we will examine other call center companies to discover the magnitude of the revenue loss at Xerox. Examining other call centers will help not only determine the magnitude of Xerox’s losses, but it will help measure the feasibility of devising a solution to the dilemma that Xerox is currently facing. Answering the questions of the significance, scope, magnitude, and feasibility allow us to ascertain if this issue is of enough importance to merit research.
While discussing the importance and solvability of our research topic, we set certain criteria for our chosen topic to meet. Will the findings make a contribution to a body of knowledge? Will the results make a difference for others? Does it save money or increase the bottom line? Is the selected topic really researchable? Do any of our team members have knowledge or experience in the problem area? Would we be able to complete our research on the topic within the allotted time frame? Was the topic simple enough for our first study? As a team we feel that the loss of revenue due to overstaffing at Xerox is an important research topic that is easy to research and meets the criteria we set forth. We are confident that there is a solution to this dilemma and that with some research we can discover the solution.
The loss of revenue created by overstaffing at Xerox’s call centers is a management dilemma deserving of business research. The issue provides a problem that affects not only the leaders at Xerox, but the employees as well. Current Solutions to the overstaffing problem act like a Band-Aid and provides only a temporary fix to the problem. These temporary fixes are causing new issues with the employees at Xerox. We feel there is a substantial need for a more permanent solution to the dilemma being faced by Xerox. We are confident through business research we will find this permanent solution.

References
Trewartha, R.L., Holiday W.A. (1968). Writing Research Studies in Business. International Journal of Business Communication, 5(4), 417-424.
Cooper, D.R. & Schindler, P.S. (2006). Business research methods (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw – Hill / Irwin.

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