Source: 恒星英语学习网  Onion  2010-02-24  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

When Jim Ball ran a traditional call center in the late 1990s, employee turnover was rampant. Often, Ball was forced to hire just about anyone who walked in the door because few people were willing to commute to the call center and sit in a sterile cubicle for minimum wage.


When Ball and his partner Steve Rockwood sold the call center in 1997, they decided the next business would be radically different: Customer service agents would work from home.


Ball says. “It's the only way you're going to keep and retain people.” 波尔说,“只有这样,我们才能留住员工。”

The idea was slow to catch on with customers. EAS Sports Supplements was the first to sign on with the new business, called Alpine Access. Then a few others followed, including My Twins, Checks Unlimited and several direct marketers.

这种新型办公机制顾客一时还难于接受。EAS Sports Supplements是第一个与这个叫做Alpine Access的公司建立合作关系的。接着,一些其他的公司,包括My Twins,Checks Unlimited,还有一些直销公司,也纷至沓来。

Fast-forward 13 years. Alpine Access now has 3,000 employees in 1,000 cities that take calls for clients such as America Online, Office Depot and Fortune 100 financial companies. The company booked sales of $53 million last year -- and employee attrition is about half of what it was under the bricks-and-mortar setup, Ball says.

经过13年的快速发展,Alpine Access 现在已经拥有来自1000个城市的3000名员工,他们为America Online, Office Depot等财富榜前100强的金融公司做客服。波尔说,去年公司做成完成了5300万美元的销售额-而人力成本只是传统的实体企业的一半。

“It's gone from a trickle to a stream to a raging river,” says Christopher Carrington, who became the company's CEO three years ago.


The work-from-home field is rife with scams, where job seekers are asked to pay for “training” or supplies. Alpine Access is one of the few companies with a proven track record of being legit.

采用家庭办公公模式的公司有很多是骗子公司,他们会让应聘者为“培训”或者被提供的材料付费。Alpine Access是为数不多的在这方面拥有良好名声的公司之一。

Alpine's job applicants go through an extensive interview process, just as they would with a traditional company. The 2% of applicants who are offered jobs pay a $45 fee for a credit and background check, but they don't pay for training or for “monthly service fees,” as some work-from-home jobs charge.


Those the company hires make a starting salary of $8 to $12 an hour, and have access to benefits including a 401(k) and health insurance. Alpine Access doesn't contribute to health care costs, but it does offer a corporate match to the retirement fund.

公司的新入职员工起薪为8到12美元/小时,享受健康保险。Alpine Access不为员工报销医疗费用,但提供退休金。

Employees don't have your typical 9-to-5 schedule. Their shifts vary: a worker might clock in from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and then again later in the day from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Employees must work 20 to 30 hours a week -- or at least four hours a day and five days a week.


A custom computer system enables Alpine Access' workers to clock in and field phone calls, but it also contributes to a company culture. Call center agents can mingle in chat rooms to gossip about work and life, sharing everything from recipes to baby pictures.

Alpine Access的计算机系统为员工提供打卡和接线平台。这也形成了公司的一种文化。客服人员可以聚在聊天室里,无所不谈,侃侃工作和生活,甚至还分享菜谱和孩子的照片。

“I think Jim Ball and Steve at Alpine access were pretty visionary to come up with the idea,” says Jim, who once worked at Alpine Access. “It just makes sense. Fast forward two to three years from now, and people will say, 'Really? You have to drive into work? You can't work from home?‘”

吉姆曾经在Alpine Access干过。“我觉得波尔和史蒂夫很有眼光,能想得出这样的主意”他说,“这想法真的很合理。再快速发展2、3年,就会有人问:真的吗?你还得开车上班?难道不能在家办公?”

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