Intuit Commerce Street facility

Intuit’s Commerce Street facility offers ‘chat work’ assistance for multiple Intuit products. 

BLUEFIELD — With 40 people now on board and another class starting Monday, Inuit/Alorica should have about 100 employees in Bluefield by the end of the year.

John Miller, who is with Alorica and the director of the customer success center now operating in the former AAA building on Commerce Street, said those 40 people are now providing “chat work” assistance with Intuit Mint, a free, web-based personal financial management service for the United States and Canada.

Chats involve handling questions via exchanging written messages.

“We are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” he said.

The training Monday will include 24 workers and be for Intuit’s QuickBooks, an online accounting software product and service, he said.

However, that will involve voice calls and require longer training – three weeks rather than the two weeks for Mint. Hours for QuickBooks services will also be different, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Work schedules are based on statistics provided from research showing the volume of expected calls during the course of the day, he said, with “overlapping” of employee schedules during afternoons because that is the heaviest volume of calls experienced.

Another QuickBook class will start in September, he added, and if some drop out for whatever reason, others are waiting.

“We have backups just in case,” he said. “We still have a steady applicant flow.”

Employees receive full benefit packages, including different health care options and a 401k retirement plan.

Applicants have been well qualified, he said, and have proven to be great employees.

“These guys are overachievers,” he said. “They have been great and really push themselves. They really want to do well.”

Miller said the employees are “surpassing what we were looking for.”

After training, employees go through a two-week “nesting” period.

It’s a “soft launch,” he said, as they ease into their jobs with supervision and then after that two weeks they are ready to roll.

The QuickBooks training group that starts Monday will go into the soft launch on Sept. 16 and then go into production on Sept. 30, he added.

Intuit’s Alorica facility on Commerce Street has two floors.

Miller said four work stations are set up in the lobby for applications and preemployment testing.

A recruiting officer and manager work on that floor, which also includes a classroom for 24 students.

The customer success center is located on the second floor along with a lunch/break room and other offices.

Eventually, Intuit, which also owns the online tax service TurboTax, and Alorica will have up to 500 employees at its permanent headquarters in the Summit Bank Building on Federal Street.

That building will be renovated for a “prosperity hub,” which includes a customer success center and an innovation lab for entrepreneurs and business owners.

“We are having regular planning meetings (on the renovation),” he said of the corporate effort between Intuit and Alorica.

The planning process is well under way, with floor layouts and other different aspects to consider before the actual work begins.

“Things are starting to fall into place but we are still working through the planning,” he said.

Miller, a Pittsburgh native who was managing an Alorica facility in that city before moving here, said the company manages the people and customer experience for many companies, he said, and has about 100,000 employees.

“We are the largest customer experience company in the world,” he said, with 45 sites in North America.

Moving from a large city to Bluefield was a “super opportunity for me,” he said, and he and his wife have been so pleased with the area they have bought a house rather than rented.

He has been impressed with the city’s leadership as well, especially economic and community development director Jim Spencer and City Manager Dane Rideout.

“Jim and Dane have been super supportive, helping us with whatever we have needed,” he said. “It’s an absolute pleasure to work with them.”

The community is welcoming as well, he added.

“I like the feel of the town. It’s a very comfortable feel and everybody is open and welcoming,” he said. “That’s been the biggest thing, and it’s just not me that’s noticed that. The Intuit folks have said that when they have come to visit, it’s also the Alorica folks (who praise the area and people) when they have been here. The overall feedback is that everybody cannot do enough to help and are always open and supportive, so you cannot want for a better partnership.”

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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