Training facility

Alorica training for Intuit currently occurs at their Commerce Street facility in Bluefield. 

BLUEFIELD — Alorica has now trained 65 agents and 20 more will be trained during November and December.

John Miller, the company’s manager of the customer success center at its Bluefield office on Commerce Street, said 45 Mint agents and 20 QuickBook agents are now working.

Miller was referring to the online products offered by Intuit, with whom Alorica is working.

Mint is a free, web-based personal financial management service for the United States and Canada. QuickBooks is an online accounting software product and service.

Mint agents handle online “chats” with customers while Quickbooks agents answer voice calls.

“We have two more classes on the books, one in November and one in December,” Miller said. “Both classes are for Mint and we are targeting 10 agents for each class.”

Mint training requires two weeks training and QuickBooks three weeks.

After training, employees go through a two-week “nesting” period, he said recently. It’s a “soft launch” as they ease into their jobs with supervision and then after that launch they are ready to roll.

During a recent tour of the training facility on Commerce Street, which was once home to AAA offices, Miller said two floors are used.

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.

“We are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” Miller said, with Mint agents working during that time period.

Hours for QuickBooks services are 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, with “overlapping” of employee schedules during afternoons because that is the heaviest volume of calls experienced.

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 the customer success center as well as an innovation lab for entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

The renovation is still in the planning stage.

Jim Spencer, Bluefield’s director of economic and community development, said the company is already having an impact on the city.

“I am just tickled to death at the progress they have made,” he said. “We’ve already seen growth as a result of this project.”

People working downtown bring in a customer base for businesses.

They also make use of a parking lot the city built for this project between Raleigh Street and Princeton Avenue.

“It’s great to see that parking lot full,” Spencer said. “They work seven days a week and that creates other opportunities.”

No one is open downtown on Sunday, he said, adding that with people now working that may entice some businesses, like a restaurant, to open.

The city is also expanding parking in other areas to prepare for the company’s employee expansion, and also making Raleigh and Scott streets one-way to allow for angle parking, as it is on Commerce Street now.

Spencer also said progress is being made on starting the renovation of the Summit bank building.

Architects form Intuit were in town to look at the building last week, he said.

Alorica is limited in space at its temporary headquarters, he added.

No timeline has been set on how quickly the building can be renovated.

Miller said those planning meetings are needed for floor layouts and other different aspects to consider before the actual work begins.

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

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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