Artists in Customer Service

Groupon’s customer service department is quickly growing as we expand into more cities. The majority of those hired are involved in some aspect of the arts. Josh, our Customer Service Voice Moderator/Editor at Groupon and Chicago actor, elaborates on the subject.

“Acting is the expression of a neurotic impulse. It’s a bum’s life.” – Marlon Brando

A company known to cultivate and embrace neurotic impulses, Groupon has become a notoriously sought after haven for these Brando bums. As alluring as the copious amounts of plastic palm fronds are, one of the most desirable aspects of working at Groupon (specifically, the Customer Support department) remains the enormous contingency of local artists that have infiltrated the company from head to toe.

For almost a year and a half, I’ve seen this unique mass of entertainers grow from a peculiar coincidence into a full-blown conspiracy. There’s not a row of desks or cluster of offices that doesn’t host at least one person going to a rehearsal or performance that night after work. In fact, it is not uncommon to journey to, say, Improv Olympic, Victory Gardens, or the Viaduct Theatre on any given night to find a couple Groupon employees working their mojo in front of a live audience.

Though the majority of artists at Groupon are actors and improvisers, we hold court to dozens, perhaps hundreds of published writers, musicians, and visual artists. In 2010 alone, the folks in our Customer Support department emoted in over 5,500 stage performances, wailed at over 1,000 live concerts, and produced over 700 pieces of published writing, art, and photography.

If these numbers serve as any indication as to how committed Groupon employees are to the arts, then one need not look farther to know just how hectic a day in the life of one of us can be. A nine hour work day coupled with a four to six hour rehearsal afterwards often results in days where up to 17 or 18 hours are spent away from home. Factor in the 3 hours at home spent practicing your humming and you’ve got, like, 3 or 4 hours left to grab some sleep. As you know, 3 to 4 hours of lucid dreaming means just enough time to pick up where you left off in that game of “Hot Spaghetti” with Gary Busey.

After a restful and harrowing early-morning’s sleep, it’s time to do it again.

So when the inevitable, groan-inducing exchange about “day jobs” finally comes up between actors and I tell them that I work for Groupon, I am always proud of and humbled by the reputation we’ve gotten for embracing and employing artists. After all, the best art is the kind that takes risks and is unafraid to venture where others have not; to clear a path to the next unknown where we’ll strive even further than thought possible. I think it’s safe to say that Groupon operates on those same principles.

I’ve always been proud to surround myself with artists who embody these common goals and values. Working at Groupon has reaffirmed this in a way I never expected: to do rich and rewarding work during the day with people you love, only to leave and do the work you love at night with those who make the experience all the more rewarding and rich.

See you in my dreams, Mr. Busey.

  • Well it’s a bit surprising that no one has commented on this blog post yet. I guess people are far too busy buying the products. It’s so inspiring to see someone who got a degree in music come out and bat it out the bark like this with a business.

    It’s also incredible that your business model allows for the hiring of all kinds of artist types. I have to say even though I am sure it’s a lot of work it sure seems like it would be exciting to work for such a dynamic, growing company.

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