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Microsoft reportedly replaced support staff with the volunteers they trained

Xbox Ambassadors seem to be doing the support work of former paid employees for prizes

Earlier this month, a group of approximately 12 Xbox support employees were laid off from the company. Rather than replace them, it sounds as though Microsoft is instead expecting volunteer Xbox Ambassadors to pick up the slack.

This is according to a report from Polygon, which stated that the support staff were employed through a firm called Affirma Consulting. Their primary job was to respond to support requests from the Twitter account @XboxSupport, as well as train Xbox Ambassadors to do the same. Per the report, the team had been asked to focus on "increasing input from Ambassadors."

Xbox Ambassadors are a group of community members who essentially act as volunteer community managers for the Xbox brand in their spare time. They organize community events and provide limited support in locations such as the forums, a support chat tool, and via Twitter.

Their actions are then rewarded with merchandise and other prizes doled out based on participation over "Seasons." Anyone can become an Xbox Ambassador provided they are 17 or older, are Xbox Live Gold members, have a 1500 or higher Gamerscore, and have had no Enforcement actions on their accounts for at least a year.

The report states that the entire team was not laid-off. A few were retained to manage and train Ambassadors, but the @XboxSupport Twitter account (a normally popular recourse for Xbox service issues) has been unusually quiet for the last few weeks and has mostly limited itself to retweeting Ambassador account tweets.

We have contacted Microsoft for clarification.

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Latest comments (4)

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany3 months ago
Some companies did try the same with QA; the "We'll let the comunity test it" meant a lot of good QA were laid off.
I probably don't need to tell you how it impacted the quality of some tittles, right?
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 months ago
Twitter support is so useless in general, Iím not surprised.

It basically amounts to ďI canít help you, you need to call the 800 numberĒ sometimes they also tell you to post in the support forums. So basically they stopped paying people to tell people to using the most inefficient way to get help with anything to redirect people to other people theyíre already paying.

Less noticed is that Microsoft has similarly eliminated their outsourced rewards program and brought that in house too.
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Julian Cram Producer 3 months ago
Making an entire team redundant and then hiring people to do the same job, even as volunteers, is against the law in Australia and New Zealand.

Is this not the case in the USA?
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 months ago
Nope, sadly.

But they didnít lay people off, this was outsourced, so those laws wouldnít apply anyway. Itís a contract they didnít renew.

Ambassadors were already everywhere these people were already, itís not new.
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