A Samsung.com ‘expert’ has been fired after talking about working for free

April 14, The edge published a story about how Samsung’s “experts”, who answer customer chats on Samsung.com, were pressured by both Samsung and staffing agency Ibbu to provide some free customer support. While talking to a dozen experts during our reporting, only one was willing to be mentioned in the story: Jennifer Larson.

The day after our story was published, Larson received an email that she was temporarily suspended and that she would receive an update in a week. Over four weeks later, Ibbu told her she had been fired.

Larson’s email was in part:

After reviewing your activity on the platform, Ibbu has determined that there is reason to exit you from the platform. While we value and encourage any feedback from the Ibbu community and constructive communication on the live feed, the use of the Ibbu Personal Communication Platform violates Ibbu policy and in this case has also led to complaints from other community members. Furthermore, it is a significant breach of the Policy and Agreement to disclose confidential information about the Ibbu platform on social media, and to encourage visitors, directly into the chat, to look at third-party links or content that constitutes a ground for termination.

Ibbu did not immediately respond The edge‘s request to share the policies it cites, or for details as to why it terminated Larson.

But Larson is not the only one wondering if they lost her job to say no. Two other experts told us that they were terminated from the Samsung Mobile “mission” after talking to The edge. Another expert we did not initially speak to, but who publicly published our story on their LinkedIn page, was also fired. Unlike Larson, however, they were not suspended until they were fired, and they are able to work on other Ibbu jobs if they want to.

Before they were fired, the task of the experts was to sell Samsung phones. In theory, it involved the job of logging in to the Ibbus system whenever they wanted, and answering questions from people who had clicked the “Chat with an Expert” button on Samsung.com. But as we said in our previous report, based in part on testimonies and evidence from people who have now been fired, the system did not work as intended. Experts often experienced handling support questions from people who had problems with their phones or orders instead of inquiries from customers trying to decide whether to choose the S22 Plus or Ultra.

To make matters worse, the “Experts” are paid only by commission, which means they are highly unlikely to see a single cent to answer support chats. Despite that, and despite their contract saying they should not answer support questions, the experts we spoke to felt pressured by both Ibbu and Samsung. A Samsung employee justified this by suggesting answering support chats was a way to increase the experts’ customer satisfaction numbers.

That number is important to the experts – it, along with the percentage of chats that they go on sale, determines whether they get to keep their jobs. But as several experts had pointed out to us, it’s hard to keep these numbers up when disappointing customers by telling them that they’ve ended up in the wrong chat and that they have to go to another part of Samsung.com to reach real person.

Samsung did not immediately respond The edge‘s request for comment on whether the company had anything to do with the dismissal of Larson or other Ibbu experts.

Aside from Larson’s case, Ibbu cited poor performance when it concluded the experts we spoke to. More than a week after they released them, the company acknowledged in an internal post that out-of-bounds chats were a growing problem – although its estimate of only 2.81 percent of chats redirected by bots is significantly lower than experts. suggested us. The company also said it was “continuously working to track and improve this to lower that percentage as quickly as possible.”

It’s cold comfort for those who have already received termination emails citing low customer satisfaction and sales figures. It told one of the former experts The edge that this is not the result they would have chosen, but that they “zero want to get that job back with Samsung Mobile.” Another said they would like their jobs back but that they would like to see big changes from Ibbu. Both mentioned that they continued to have difficulty reaching Ibbus’ goal.

As for Larson, she’s not surprised she ended up being fired, even though she did not expect Ibbu to keep her in limbo for that long. When it comes to the way the company treated her, she said she was glad she did. “I would not change anything.”