April 14, edge Published a story about how Samsung “experts”, pushed by Samsung and staffing agency Ibbu, answered customer chats on Samsung.com to provide some free customer support. While we spoke to more than a dozen experts during the reporting period, only one was willing to be mentioned in the story: Jennifer Larsen.
The day after our story was published, Larson received an email saying she was temporarily suspended and that she would receive an update in a week. More than four weeks later, Ibrahimovic told her she had been fired.
Part of the email to Larson reads:
After reviewing your activity on the Platform, Ibbu has determined that grounds exist for terminating your exit from the Platform. While we value and encourage any feedback from the Ibbu community and constructive communication in live broadcasts, using the Ibbu platform for personal communication is against Ibbu policy and in this case has resulted in complaints from other community members. Additionally, disclosing confidential information about the Ibbu Platform on social media and encouraging visitors to go directly to chat rooms to view third-party links or content is a material violation of policies and agreements and constitutes grounds for termination.
Ibrahimovic did not immediately respond edgeAsk to share the policies it cited or the specific reasons for Larson’s termination.
The first email from Ibbu let Larson know that she was temporarily suspended.
Ibrahimovic’s termination letter to Larson.
But Larson isn’t the only one wondering if they’ll lose their jobs for speaking up. Two other experts told us they were terminated after talking to Samsung Mobile “Mission.” edge. Another expert we didn’t talk to initially but posted our story publicly on their LinkedIn page was also terminated. Unlike Larson, however, they were not suspended until they were fired, and they could take other Ibrahimovic jobs if they wanted to.
Before they were terminated, the specialist’s job was to sell Samsung phones. In theory, the job involves logging into Ibbu’s system whenever they like and answering questions from people who click the “chat with an expert” button on Samsung.com. But as we’ve stated in previous reports, based in part on testimonies and evidence from people who are now fired, the system didn’t work as expected. Experts often find themselves dealing with support questions from people with phone or order issues, rather than inquiries from customers trying to decide whether to use the S22 Plus or Ultra.
To make matters worse, the “experts” only take a commission, which means they’re extremely unlikely to see a penny when answering a support chat. Still, even though their contracts say they shouldn’t answer support questions, the experts we spoke with felt pressure from both Ibbu and Samsung. A Samsung employee sees replying to support chats as a way to increase the satisfaction of expert customers.
That number matters to experts—it, and the percentage of chats they convert into sales, determines whether they keep their jobs. But as several experts pointed out to us, when you tell customers they end up in the wrong chat and they have to go to a different part of Samsung.com to get to the right person.
Samsung did not immediately respond edgeComment on a request for comment on whether the company is related to the dismissal of Larson or other Ibbu experts.
Aside from Larson’s case, Ibrahimovic said he was underwhelming in terminating the experts we spoke to. However, a week after letting them go, the company acknowledged in an internal post that out-of-range chats are a growing problem – although it estimates that only 2.81% of chats are misrouted by bots, which is significantly lower than experts’ estimates Estimate suggest to us. The company also said it is “continuously working to track and improve this in order to bring this percentage down as quickly as possible.”
For those who have already received termination emails, it’s icy consolation, citing low customer satisfaction and sales figures.A former expert told edge It’s not an outcome they would choose, but they have “zero hope of getting the job back with Samsung Mobile.” Another said they do want to get back to work, but would like to see a major change in Ibbu. Both mentioned that they are still struggling to achieve Ibrahimovic’s goals.
As for Larson, she wasn’t surprised she was eventually fired, although she didn’t expect Ibrahimovic to keep her in trouble for so long. Still, when it came to how the company treated her, she said she was glad she did. “I won’t change anything.”