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Working from Home for Sykes powered by Alpine Access
Sykes Hiring Process
First off, the company is actually called 'Sykes powered by Alpine Access'. To the best of my recollection from training, Sykes and Alpine Access were two separate companies that merged.
I applied for a job through this company in Nov. 2013. I found them online while doing searches for at home jobs. I seem to recall that they were looking for people for Customer Service. This is not my favorite line of work, but I needed a job.
I was contacted almost immediately via email and invited to apply for specific jobs. I did a little research on the company at that point and found that they hired people to work on contract jobs they have with a number of companies.
I followed the link from the email and was directed to their website. I was shown a description of a sales/telemarketing job which I could select if interested. I may dislike Customer Service but I absolutely can not tolerate any type of sales job. I have tried several times in the past and I am absolutely terrible at selling. I can take a done deal and screw it up because I don't know how to sell.
Needless to say, I clicked 'No thanks.' I thought that would be it but to my surprise, another offer showed up, this one for tech support. I hate sales, dislike Customer Service, but I like and am great at tech support. I have a lot of experience in this field, but didn't think I would find a way to do it from home. The job description sounded good although the pay, $9.00/hour, was not much. I was beginning to realize though that this is somewhat of a standard rate for at home phone jobs. I might not like it but don't have much choice in the matter right now, so I clicked yes.
Soon after that, (maybe that day or the next) I was invited for an interview in a chat room with some other applicants. I believe there were about 30 of us. We were asked some qualifying questions, like what hours we could work, were we okay with the pay, could we pass a criminal background check, and so on. They informed us that we would need to pay a fee for our background checks. I don't recall the exact amount but I want to say it was $35.00. At that point 3/4 of the room exited. I almost followed suit, thinking this was a scam, but decided to stick around a little longer. They weren't asking for credit card numbers right then and there or anything, so I had time to research.
I passed the interview, did some research, and found that the company was not trying to steal $35.00 from people. I read between the lines a little and gathered that a lot of people accepted jobs from them, Sykes ordered the background check, and then found that:
A. The person had lied during the interview, they had a criminal background and were not eligible for hire.
B. They hired people, ordered the background check, found everything ok but the person never reported for work.
Being a company that hires mainly online, this appeared to have happened a LOT and cost them a lot of money. Eventually they just said screw it, if someone wants the job and can pass the check, they can pay for it.
(I based this evaluation off a lot of employee reviews of the company.)
I went ahead and paid the $35.00, passed the check and was hired. Aside from that, they had certain requirements for the tech support job I would be doing. I had to have Windows 7, a certain amount of memory and disk space, and a high-speed cable or dsl connection. To prove that I met the requirements I had to take screenshots to send them. They provided very specific instructions on exactly what to do and it was a piece of cake.
Training for Sykes powered by Alpine Access
I am not 100% positive so don't quote me on this, (ha ha) but the training was four weeks long. There were about 30 people in my training class and we met in a chat room. The exact hours elude me but it was somewhere in the afternoon or evening, eight hours a day, Mon.-Fri.
My instructor was completely awesome, I loved her instantly. She was kind and sweet and patient..for all of two days, at which point I was switched to another training room. (I'm not sure why this happened but I wasn't the only one, a lot of people got moved.)
I wasn't sure about my next trainer at first but after a few days I loved her even more than the first trainer. She made sure we did all of our training but she was also extremely patient and just sooo funny. (I have since come to like every trainer from this job that I've come in contact with. Professional, kind and fun describe them well.)
I seem to recall signing something or other during hiring and/or training that I would not disclose details of the particulars of the job, so I'll just say we learned about different types of software and how to support it.
I'm not sure how many training classes there were in all but once we began taking calls, there were at least 80 of us working nights. (Probably more.)
Tech Support for Sykes powered by Alpine Access
Things were a little stressful when we started taking calls. Like most jobs, training can only prepare you so much. The bulk of the learning takes place during the calls.
We were extremely busy at first. Calls were back to back for the whole shift. We would take the call, look the customer up in a database, (if they weren't in there we would create a profile) and enter notes during the call. Once the call was complete we had two minutes to wrap up and save our notes before another call rolled in. I liked this job right away. I know getting slammed with calls can be stressful, but it makes the time fly by.
The other cool thing was that aside from phones, we also sometimes got scheduled to provide tech support via chat and/or email. Although I like the phones I would definitely choose to work in chat or email every time if possible.
The Slow Season
After about a month the calls began to slow. The job I do has certain times of the year when we are slammed and other times when it slows to a crawl. We began having long periods between calls. It wasn't long before people began receiving emails that they were being moved to another program.
I wasn't worried that I would be moved. I knew I did a great job by my quality scores and stats. I was shocked to one day receive an email that I was being interviewed for a different program.
I wasn't pleased but I went to the interview, found out that it was sales and couldn't accommodate my current schedule, and declined. I figured at that point they would just give me the boot but they interviewed me for another program, this one customer service. I didn't want this job at all but decided to at least give it a try.
The day after I accepted the new position I received an email saying I would be staying in the tech support job. I have no idea what happened but I was VERY happy and relieved.
Out of my training class, (30 or so people) I know that six of us are still there, ten months later. There may be more that went to other programs so I never heard from them again.
Pros and Cons of Working for Sykes powered by Alpine Access
- Your coworkers, coaches and managers are friendly and professional. I don't think I've seen any petty bickering or meanness at all, and that says a lot.
- They offer health, vision and dental. (They offer more but those are the ones I remember.)
- They have paid trainings periodically.
- They promote from within.
- OT sometimes.
- They pay every two weeks.
- The pay is low for tech support.
- The coveted chat and email jobs are not dispersed fairly. If you do a good job on the phone you can expect to almost never work in chat or email. I understand why it works this way but still find it unfair.
- Sometimes you will have 40 hours/week, sometimes you will have a lot less. There is no guarantee.
Please keep in mind that these pros and cons are specific the the job I work. You may experience something entirely different with a different client.
Would I recommend this job?
Absolutely yes. They've treated me good. I wouldn't still be there if they hadn't. I can't speak for all of the programs they offer but they have more than one tech support client with good employee reviews. If you like sales and/or customer service you may want to apply for one of the other programs.
To Apply for a Job with Sykes powered by Alpine Access:
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