Verizon testing use of home-based, all volunteer customer service agents

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Verizon testing use of home-based, all volunteer customer service agentsSo, you are a Verizon FiOS customer and are in need of support. Well, you may be a little surprised to hear just who is going to be offering that support. In part of what was described as an “evolving experiment” Verizon has begun to allow individuals to volunteer work for free and help to provide online tech support in the Verizon Community Forums. These individuals are allowed to volunteer up to 20 hours per week and receive no money in return, they are part of a group that Verizon refers to as “lead users” or “super users.” This experiment began this past July, and so far it has suggested that “if handled adeptly” it will “hold considerable promise.”

Honestly, with the Internet being just about everywhere now it is not hard to imagine this being done. I have seen (and worked for) another company in the past the contracted home-based employees to work as customer service and sales reps for some rather large companies. That work consisted of a mix between phone work and online chat work, however it was not being done for free. I guess what I am finding more shocking here, is not that the person answering your question is sitting in their home just like you, but they are doing it on a volunteer basis, and they are actually happy about it. At least one volunteer, Mr. McMurry was quoted as saying “Who knows how long I’ll keep doing this,” but that he was “enjoying it now.” I guess when he decides to leave there will be someone else that is going to be willing to step in and take his place.

Wow, it would appear Verizon has successfully found a way to have people not only work for free, but also be happy about doing it. This sounds very different from the many ways people typically describe their customer service related job.

Read [New York Times] Image Courtesy [New York Times]

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