Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alpine Access - A revolution and then . . .

For a company credited with revolutionizing the telecommunications and customer service industries, Alpine Access, the leading work-from-home customer service provider is allowing the social media revolution to pass it by. The company’s lone social media account, a Facebook page, is poorly maintained and has no clear purpose.

Having worked for this company for six months on a total of two client programs, I believe their social media efforts should focus on acquiring quality, long-term clients with legitimate business needs, and on attracting a workforce whose goals are more compatible with that of the company. The company's failure to act proactively on one, or both of these initiatives, left me and other agents armed with very little information and a whole lot of explaining to do to customers affected by the Acai Berry scandal.

As a result of having to work for client programs like the one referenced above, and being ill prepared for what the position actually demands, the company has a very high rate of attrition. Investing time and effort into Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts for the purpose of recruiting clients and agents might help to turn this trend around.


On its website, Alpine boasts of the many different ways in which it can reach the potential clients’ customer base, including via social media. However, the fact that they themselves use little in the way of social media is not a very encouraging sign.

Not only is there no Alpine Access Twitter account, @alpineaccess has already been taken by a company named Alpine Accessories. The ability to follow potential and current clients will afford Alpine the opportunity to fulfill on requests for information at a much faster pace than via email.

Currently, everything is done via email. For example, the contact-us page on the company website links to a form where potential clients can inquire about Alpine's sevices, after which time they are expected to sit back and wait for Alpine Access to get back to them.

With today's increasing use of real-time communication, this method is not good for business.

FaceBook for potential and current employees

CSR IIAlpine Access is now looking to hire 600 new employees. In this economy, they are sure to net thousands of applicants through the job boards on which they advertise, but they are also almost certain to net the same high attrition results.

A Google search for reviews on Alpine Access reveals that many potential candidates are using the internet to research this company. And while Alpine Access seems unaware that an online discussion is even taking place surrounding them; the conversation is happening, and far more often than not, Alpine Access is presented in a negative light.

On the other hand, the company’s FaceBook page highlights the other extreme where almost every post exalts the company as nothing short of “fabulous,” except for one post that laments the fact that the company does not give raises. The environment feels highly censored which might explain why a company with more than 3,000 employees has less than 400 "friends". On sites where the company has zero input, the remarks are far more brutal, and for the most part, go unchecked.

The Facebook page is described simply as a page for employees, though actual postings indicate that the page is in high use among potential employees and curious onlookers as well.

Organizing the current Facebook page for the purpose of giving potential agents the opportunity to obtain real insight on what it is like to work for Alpine might improve on the number of people who actually make it out of training.

You Tube for employee recruitment

If a picture can paint a thousand words, imagine what a video can do. Some individuals have taken the initiative to post work-at-home videos that mention Alpine Access, among other work-at-home companies, but again, nothing from the company itself.

Because there are good and bad stories circulating the internet regarding working for Alpine Access, YouTube videos can aid in creating a more balanced picture of what it is actually like to work for the company. Testimonials from current employees or videos showing what a typical work day is like can help potential candidates to screen themselves and determine whether or not they still want to apply. Since many people are also dubious of the $45 fee for a background check, a video explaining the process might also be useful to help ward off fears that Alpine is nothing but another work-at-home scam.

A YouTube channel could also be a fun way to encourage interaction among employees that are spread out across the country.

If you had to advise Alpine Access on how to best utilize social media to attract new employees and clients, which social media tools would you recommend and how would you suggest they use it?


  1. I'm wondering if Alpine's reluctance to venture into social media and online communications has anything to do with the fact that those technologies may someday replace the need for services such as those they (Alpine) offer?

    I know very little about the telecommunication industry except that, in general, I would rather take a chainsaw to my phone than to talk to a telemarketer (or a tele-anything, for that matter). Most people I know feel the same way. It is an intrusive technology.

    Social media, on the other hand, is subtle, or at least it's supposed to be. So maybe Alpine is just ignoring the whole business in hopes that it will all just go away.

  2. Thanks for raising such a good point. I have been so busy asking why not, that I never stopped to think that their position might actually be quite intentional.