New York-based website maker Squarespace came to Portland in 2014 to open a customer care center.

The center has since grown to a 150-person office that helps customers troubleshoot and answer questions in a sleek downtown space. It's a spot that gives off a decidedly not-a-call-center vibe.


Squarespace is one of several technology companies to open a Rose City customer care office. Yet many of these workspaces, as we report in this week's Portland Business Journal weekly edition, defy the call center stereotype.

At Squarespace, advisers, as customer care employees are called, address customer inquiries through either live chats or email. Customers contact the advisers with billing issues, creative and technical questions about different templates and learning how their design can mimic other sites.

Advisers, who go through a four-month training program, can work with up to 25 customers a day. The workers have a great deal of independence.

“There are no scripts,” said Elise Arnett, manager of customer operations. “We want that interaction to feel as if you are talking to a person, because you are.”

Jessica O’Connell, the Squarespace director of customer operations who joined the company earlier this year, said the adviser role differs from other call center work she has done in the past.

“(What) really stood out in training (is) how much we expect each person to use their own voice,” she said. “It’s you giving the service. I think that becomes a sort of organizational voice and you are getting that individualized service.”

Arnett, a Portland native, was hired to build this office. She'd previously worked at a Hillsboro Yahoo customer service center. Though more traditional call centers exist in the region, Squarespace's workforce has mined the creative world of Portland.

A large portion of Squarespace's employees are also musicians, photographers or artists.

“So many people in this office, this is not their only thing,” Arnett said. “They have creative outlets outside their job and in my opinion that enriches their experience here because they are supporting customers who have that same creative need that they do.”

The Portland Business Journal is a KGW News partner.