• Report: #161512
Complaint Review:

The Answer Group, TAG

  • Submitted: Thu, October 20, 2005
  • Updated: Wed, December 16, 2009

  • Reported By:Sunrise Florida
The Answer Group, TAG
7562 Southgate Blvd. North Lauderdale, Florida U.S.A.

The Answer Group, TAG, Ripoff Good place to work or stockyard North Lauderdale Florida

*UPDATE Employee: Bogus BestBuy Technical Support

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: TAG was good..

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: I enjoyed my time there

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Understanding the business

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The Answer Group (TAG) is a large call center located in North Lauderdale Florida. It is (according to its own spokespeople) the second largest employer in Broward County Florida (the largest being the Broward County School Board).

It is the opinion of this commenter that The Answer Group, while hyping itself as a great place to work, is in actuality only a very small step above what would once be referred to as a stockyard. Although TAG is not guilty of outright deception the way many of the other companies listed on this site theoretically are, the fact is that they resort to a certain level of what we would call Spin to draw people in. So my recommendation is not that people don't go to work for TAG. But I am supplying some information here that might make some people who were thinking about making TAG their next place of employment reconsider.

I myself first discovered TAG in 2005. At the time I was trying to escape from an awful telemarketing gig that wasn't going anywhere. That's when one of my friends at work mentioned TAG. I logged on to their website, filled out the online application, passed the multiple choice test, was granted an interview and hired basically in the blink of an eye. My first though was: excellent! If nothing else at TAG I would actually be helping people, not bugging them over the phone.

In actuality, getting hired at TAG is no big feat as I soon discovered. Basically, TAG will hire just about anyone breathing. Anyone with a heartbeat, basic communication skills and anyone who knows how to operate a computer (and by operate, knowing where to point the mouse) is a good candidate for a job at TAG. My point is not that they should be only hiring people with four year college degrees (today's society places way too much of an emphasis on college). But at least be a tad selective in whom you hire.

Another aspect that drew me in was the pay: $12 an hour. Actually, that aspect is only half truthful. Yes, you do get paid $12 an hour. But as you are informed on the first day of training that only counts when you are logged into the phone and ready to take calls. When you are not logged in, you are logged in on Auxiliary or Aux Time. At the end of each pay cycle (you get paid every two weeks), the Aux time is added up and for every hour of Aux time, you get paid minimum wage. So let this serve as a warning, you can make good money at TAG. But don't let the AUX time add up.

The training classes usually last two weeks. During the classes you are supposed to learn what you need to learn to be a good support technician. Again, we find ourselves in half truth territory. Although there is hands on training (especially during the second week) and although the basic of being a technician are touched on, the majority of time spent during those two weeks is spent learning how to push buttons. In other words, you are taught primarily about software programs and how they work. Which is good to know (essential even). However, more time would be better spent on actual hands on. (As a side note: I had no problem with any of the training instructors).

Once you get through training, its out on to the floor. Depending on how well you did on the test you took on the opening day of training, you will be placed on one of the several accounts TAG services. (Side Note:The companies TAG provides service for include BellSouth, Sprint, Comcast, Gateway, SBC and Hughes.) Theoretically the real computer experts go to Gateway, while those with minimal or no computer knowledge go to Comcast (the biggest of the accounts). Originally I was placed with the Sprint account. But before I could begin training, it was announced more people were needed on Comcast and I was one of the chosen ones.

Once I got settled in for my two weeks of Comcast training, the one mantra that was drummed into my brain (as well as the brains of other classmates) was keep the call time low. If you go over a certain limit (usually 9 minutes), your supervisor will be on your a*s to get the call wrapped up ASAP.

While there is some legitimate concern here (and some callers do forget that this is a business line and tend to chatter on and on) trying to set a quota on call times is too one size fits all to really work. This is especially true when one's dealing with older customers or customers using older, pokey computers.

But the basic rule is that getting the call wrapped up in a certain amount of time is generally of higher priority than helping the customer resolve the problem. I make no claims that this is always an issue as sometimes the problem can be identified and fixed relatively quickly. However, sometimes fixing a problem can require a certain amount of time and the people up top at TAG need to remember that.

Other issues crop up frequently, such as computers getting locked and workers being unable to log on to them, equipment frequently not working, software programs going down when the workers need to use them.

The main issue that prompted me to write this was one with scheduling that popped up in October 2005. This issue had to do with scheduling.

Most TAG employees work a schedule of three 12-hour days, one six hour day and three days off. However, there was also a large group of people who worked a regular 8-4 M-F shift (bankers hours as it used to be known). In October of 2005, the decision was made to phase that shift out and move all of the people on it to the 12 hour shifts.

Unfortunately, TAG had not taken into account that many of the people on that shift were on it for a reason. Many of them had families to take care of or were going to school part time and simply could not work a 12 hour shift. As a result a good many workers, many of them dedicated, left TAG.

The reason TAG gave for this massive change was the fact that they were getting pounded with calls on the weekends and needed more people working then. However, another reason soon began to surface that seemed far more likely.

Refer back to my earlier comments about TAG's hiring practices. It seems that TAG had during the last hiring cycle, hired TOO MANY people for the Comcast account. So they needed to get rid of them. But they don't wanna lay them off, Noooo. That would require paying unemployment benefits. So they decide the best way to trim the fat is by causing employee dissatisfaction.

In spite of all that I just wrote and all the criticism I just hurled at TAG, I make no claims that TAG is an awful company. It is possible to work for them and make good money and be happy. However, if you are the type who doesn't like having supervisors breathe down their neck, if you value helping the customer over meeting an artificially assigned quota and if you don't like having your scheduled jerked around, keep all this in mind before applying at TAG.

Final Verdict: TAG on one level is a decent company. On another level, it's a stockyard

Los Alamos, New Mexico

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/20/2005 05:54 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/the-answer-group-tag/north-lauderdale-florida-33068/the-answer-group-tag-ripoff-good-place-to-work-or-stockyard-north-lauderdale-florida-161512. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 UPDATE Employee

Bogus BestBuy Technical Support

AUTHOR: Jeremy Samms - (United States of America)

At TAG we handle the Technical Support for Best Buy's geeksquad. BestBuy doesn't ever fix anything on their own. Any repair for Best Buy will take 2 to 3 weeks easily (no matter what the store tells you, all they do is ship it to he manufacturer, most of the time coming back with used and refurbished parts. TAG is just a Call Center trying to screw BestBuy customers out of their hard earned money on Service Plans, but TAG does not let us give decent customer support. People pay hundreds of dollars to have technical support at Geeksquad. Bestbuy does not know this goes on. All TAG emphasizes over and over by multiple supervisors and in training is to just be nice, it doesn't matter if you fix the problem or not. And don't let any call go over 13 minutes or you get reprimanded by a supervisor. Most companies Tech support is not great, but since BestBuy's costs hundreds of dollars; I assume the customer would rather have the problem fixed than to just start a rapport with the customer and just be nice. We are told not to even work on most problems and if it takes longer than 13 minutes then we are told to just pass the customer to another dept to charge people more money to have Geeksquad come out to their house. Once again, Bestbuy must not know this is going on, or they would've stopped it by now, but they just must not know, in which someone should let Bestbuy Corporate know this is happening. Iv'e never heard before "It doesn;t matter that you don't fix the problem, as long as you are nice to the customer". Well if that was me calling, I want my problem resolved. A nice and courteous person is great, but people call to resolve issues. And once again, TAG just cares about numbers like how many calls you answer (which is how TAG gets paid by BestBuy. So not only is The Answer Group (Tag) slave drivers, they are theives stealing from Best Buys customer's by not fixing issues that would go over 13 minutes on the phone. I'm so glad I know what I know now to never get a service plan from Best Buy again (for PC's). The Technical Support is told not to assist over 13 minutes, which does not seem fair to me for a customer who paid hundreds of dollars to be covered. And the other problem is that any small repair, the store will keep your Desktop or Laptop for weeks and weeks since it is only sent to the manufacturer and not an actual geeksquad rapair center. Any question? Corrupt call center, that's all it is. And Best Buy should know.
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

TAG was good..

AUTHOR: Mike B. - (U.S.A.)

I am not sure now that a new company has taken them over, but, When the Quinns owned it I thought it was one of the greatest places to work. As one of the other rebutals went, they gave me a job when the chips were down. I made many friends and miss them since I moved away in 2000. I worked there for a number of years up until may of 2000. Most would know me on the Compaq side where I had long hair and talked to most everyone. Anyway, as i remember it, we always had two employee parties every year that cost the company mega bucks. We had gifts/prizes that varied but mainly things like jet skis, big screen tv's and so on. We always had a blast be it on the golf course or in a banquet hall. I also remember a time when Andy and Bruce walked around while a bad storm/hurricane came in and we still worked, he handed everyone there several hundred dollars each for being there and thanked them personally. Yeah, you have to stay logged in but when you work, shouldn't you be working? guess maybe it is my mentality that when you are at work, you work, nuff said! Now that my rant about how they were great, I hope maybe everyone knows they were great and I would love to work for the Quinns because they know how to handle a company and how to treat their employees. the new company I can't say much for cause I have never worked for them so...
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#3 UPDATE EX-employee responds

I enjoyed my time there

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

I was employed by TAG in 2000. I had just been phased out of a job as a Systems Administrator. The pay was far less than my previous position but so were the responsibilities. I left TAG to return to Dallas, TX as an Administrator. I sorely wish I had stayed at TAG and worked up to a better position. I can't afford to return to Southern Florida and start at the bottom of I would be with them now.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Understanding the business

AUTHOR: Bill - (U.S.A.)

I was a former trainer at TAG. Although what you say is true, you are showing just one side. TAG is a business, it is about profit. As an employer, if I'm paying people to be on the phone, why would I want to continue to pay them a premium to smoke, hang out, be off the phone, walk around the building etc. The idea of getting paid a premium while on the phone makes perfect business sense.

About ending the call. TAG and other companies are under instructions by their clients, i.e. Bellsouth, Comcast, etc on how calls are handled. I know this personally as I was trained by the clients to train the agents. TAG adds their own side which comes from years of experience and trial and error. Also, TAG and other call centers are paid by the client in a number of ways, time spent on phone, up to a certain point, number of calls handled etc. It's about numbers. We trained new agents and trained to be very good at the job they decided to take. No one forces people to work at a certain company. The job is demanding and has a very big turnover and it's the nature of the industry.

TAG as a company treated me very well. I was a victim of the dot com bomb and TAG took me in, gave me a job, and provided a way to inexpensive insurance. They were a life saver in many ways. Just like any company, there good and bad, depending on youir point of view, however I was always treated well and with respect by managers, techs, and prinicpals of the company. The owners of the company started it from nothing a created what is there today, and started off answering support calls like everyone else.

I will always think of my time with TAG with good memories of a job and people I enjoyed.
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