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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
'Savvy' users cause AOL job cuts
America Online
America Online last month said it would rebrand as simply AOL
AOL, the internet arm of Time Warner, is to sack 1,300 of its US call centre staff because, it said, customers are now better equipped to help themselves.

It is closing its Jacksonville, Florida centre and making further cuts in Ogden, Utah and Tucson, Arizona.

The volume of calls to its centres has halved since 2004, AOL said.

Customers have become more internet "savvy" and had better tools to resolve their own technical problems, said spokesman Nicholas Graham.

"That's a remarkable success in terms of customer care," he said.

"It requires us to balance our work force."


The number of callers has also slipped because subscriptions are on the slide.

AOL had 26.7 million customers in September 2002, but this had fallen by more than 25% by last December.

It is offering more features on its free website to try and tempt users and advertisers.

The job cuts amount to about 7% of its global workforce.

It follows 700 posts being lost in the final quarter of last year when a call centre in Orlando was closed.

AOL started out in 1985 as Quantum Computer Services and began offering an internet service four years later.

The company changed its name to America Online in 1991.

Last month it announced it was to move away from the America Online name altogether and rebrand as AOL.

AOL merged with Time Warner in 2001 to create AOL Time Warner, but when the tech bubble deflated, the company renamed itself as Time Warner.

Through its European operation AOL Europe, the company serves about 6 million customers in Britain, France and Germany.

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