FORTUNE -- Why outsource to India when you can tap your biggest fans to handle customer service? Skullcandy, the maker of high-end headphones, has pulled people from its core demographic of snowboarders, skateboarders, and surfers to help customers on its website via online chat. That includes surfers like Spencer Hirsch, 25, of San Diego, who occasionally logs in to chat with Skullcandy customers. Hirsch earns $10 an hour, but he also scores points to win free Skullcandy headphones and iPads if he can answer customer questions. Call it "fan sourcing," the next frontier of customer service. --Jennifer Alsever
This article is from the December 26, 2011 issue of Fortune.
By Mary Jo A. Pham, contributor
With everything from Skittle-like earbuds to funky over-ears, Skullcandy banks on the appeal of super-chic headphones over niche marketing for audiosnobs. And it's working.
The company has been enjoying tremendous growth in recent years, despite the recession. In 2009 alone, Skullcandy banked $125 million in sales, up from $85 million reported in 2008. The company will launch its Aviator headphones today, developed in partnership with Roc MOREJun 21, 2010 11:05 AM ET
|Regulators pave way for Internet "fast lane" with net neutrality rules|
|GM's $1.3 billion recall cost wipes out profit|
|Female gun instructors in hot demand|
|Apple shares soar on increased buyback|
|Premarkets:Buoyed by Apple, Facebook (but not GM)|