Monday, December 26, 2011

OUTSOURCING: PENCILS' STYLE


Let me preface this posting by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my job as Mobile Tech for more than 7 years. For those of you who don't know, Mobile Technicians were the Pencils employees who were doing the "on-site" tech work for the company. In order to be even considered, you have to have AT LEAST your A+ cert. if not more. Basically our part time job was to perform the on-site tech work...our full time was job was answering questions and solving problems that the in-store techs couldn't do or didn't know how to do. We also had the joy of getting into customer's homes/businesses and having the entirely wrong services rung up. My last ever job was hooking up a wireless printer to a laptop, when the customer didn't even have internet service. The customer was obviously pissed that the store sold her something she had no way of using just to get Tech Sales. This happened to every mobile tech at least one time a week, if not more. Thankfully we still got paid for "doing" the job as well as mileage.
                The stuff I saw when I went to other stores was mind boggling..... In my area (10+ stores), I could  probably only recommend only 2 stores to drop stuff off too. The rest had "technician's" - in the loosest sense" that shouldn't be allowed within 50 feet of a computer. I will not go into details, but thank god Staples has good a good legal team.
                January 2011 rolls around...We have our annual East Coast Mobile Tech meeting. There are roughly 25 people doing the work for the entire Northeast. The same core group of us have been together for years; however I saw a couple of new faces. They seemed eager, which was good to see. One of the questions during the meeting was "Are we training our replacements?" This was referring to the COT Program (In-Store employees doing tech work.)We were assured that we weren't, but we all knew something was up.
                July 30 - I got a call from my boss saying that Pencils was disbanding the Mobile Tech position in favor of having the in-store techs perform the work. Obviously this was a cost cutting measure as we actually made semi-decent money, which is rare at Staples, unless you are high up on the corporate ladder...See previous posts. There is now absolutely ZERO support system for the tech department. Associates must call either I/S Support or Support.com for help. They are wondering why Tech Sales are down? The good mobile techs would bring in at least a $10,000 worth of upsells to stores every month.  You would think that each of one us had at least 2-3 years with Staples they could at least call us in to tell us they were firing us. No, I heard about it on the phone. (Which in fact I had to turn in since it was a corporate Blackberry)
                Aug 1 - Pencils Techs have free reign! All hail Pencils! Software piracy can continue 100 percent. You would think a tech would be smart enough to not do it, but when they are encouraged by management to do it, you can't really say no. You would think that every time I come to your store, I find pirated Windows/Office/Antivirus discs and throw them out, you would stop. (EVERY STORE DOES IT...if you say that you don't you are lying.) I got call that day from a store that I used to like going to...Their tech was at an onsite and was having trouble putting in new computer RAM at a pretty large area business. "Does customer have xxxxx speed RAM?" "No, there's a difference?" "Well I no longer work for Pencils, it's your problem. Click." Stuff like that pisses me off. Pencils saved what, 5 million dollars by letting us go? Yet, they have associates doing in-home work now who can't even  tell the difference between  RAM??! After years of telling them that they would be able to do my job, they are now able. Go ahead and celebrate your independence. Seventy Five great men and women are out of jobs!

3 comments:

  1. This has been frustrating for OfficeMax employees as well. We are forced to sell outsourced services to customers and we charge an arm and a leg for it.

    We are required to tell the customer it will take an hour when in fact, I have logged in only to see a line of 90 other computers needing repairs from the same company that does the actual remote-based repairs.

    The techs do the repairs, some good, mostly bad. Customer demands a refund, they get it thanks to the bullshit "delight the customer" crap and OMAX looses money but hey, it looks good on paper eh?

    Dumbass corporate and retarded managers = frustration for lowly paid part-timers

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  2. "EVERY STORE DOES IT...if you say that you don't you are lying."

    Uh-huh. I hate this company more than you but I don't do it and I'm not lying.

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  3. Dude, they overworked you mobile techs! My mobile tech had had to do 3 different boroughs that is alot of area to cover. She almost always had to put the work for 3rd party and they wouldn't come which would leave us with mobile tech returns. When we got a COT that came from Geek Squads Onsite tech we were happy. Staples is bragging about how good their onsite sales are now, but then we still get emails that we have to get at least 2 onsites per week and if your store doesn't have a COT you have to call one from another store to do your store's onsite's. They pay the COT $9/hr-$12/hr that sucks compared to you guys which were making $20/hr or more.

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