Salt Lake business gives new meaning to going to work

Published: Friday, March 30 2012 7:07 p.m. MDT

This 39-foot long motorhome is the worldwide headquarters of Needle, a Salt Lake City company that connects various companies with product experts who answer questions from consumers. In Salt Lake City, Friday, March 30, 2012.

Mike Radice, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake company is taking the corporate office concept to a whole new level.

When the firm's clients don't come to a building with a great view. That’s because Morgan Lynch, CEO of Needle, has a 39-foot long motorhome for an office that he drives to wherever the client is.

“That’s the beauty of an Internet company, and now with Internet service we can fully function as our worldwide headquarters on this bus,” he said.

Needle helps companies connect their consumers with product experts who can answer their questions. So, if someone is shopping for headphones or shoes on a website and wants more information, that person can chat online with one of hundreds of so-called "Needlers," who are actual owners and avid users of the product.

“We want to bring you the people that actually own those products and services, because we as consumers want to talk to somebody that owns it,” Lynch said, “not somebody who's sitting in a contact center who's just been trained on some items. We want to talk to the people who use it every day."

This traveling headquarters, which has only been on the road for a few weeks, can set up shop anywhere to meet with and sign up new businesses and recruit new Needlers.

A nationwide tour is in the works, and the long-term plan is to expand worldwide.

“A lot of the brands, they sell globally, and so one of the advantages of our platform and system is that we find people in those geographic areas,” he said. “So if you’re in France, you’ll want to speak to a French speaker, a native of France, and our model works really well for that.”

As for the future of actual "brick and mortar" locations, for some companies they're no longer necessary.

"So it really is a new way of thinking about work, where it's not a place, it's an activity,” Lynch said. He added it’s probably a lot more entertaining than sitting in a cubicle at work.

Right now, the company has about 20 businesses around the country that use its online chat customer service.

As for the "Needlers," most of them work from home, or wherever they have a high-speed Internet connection. They work between 15 and 20 hours a week and earn $8 to $12 an hour, plus points for free stuff.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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