And Speaking of AOL

You know those 1,300 call center jobs AOL is eliminating (in Jacksonville, Tucson and Ogden, Utah)? The whole thing makes complete sense to me. The company is in the midst of shifting to an advertising model, moving away from its former subscription revenue stream (just in time as subscribers continue to go elsewhere anyway), so there’s no need to handle so many incoming phone calls. In fact, volume to its call centers has been down 50 percent since 2004. But rather than say it’s all part of a shift in strategy, AOL is painting this as a victory for customer service. According to an AOL spokesperson, the company’s self-service tools like anti-spyware and Computer Check Up have been so successful, and its service software has become so robust, that it’s dramatically lessened the need for calls from (what’s left of) its subscribers. That’s one way to look at it.

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