The days of speaking with Indian customer service agents may be numbered as American employers now prefer to outsource to “work at home ” agents instead of foreign based companies across the universe.
Why? Cost and satisfaction. Now that wages have dropped and experienced customer service reps are everywhere, it makes more sense to spare the expense of offshore operations. And it is only natural, people prefer to talk with someone who lives here. Studies show that Americans just prefer speaking to someone they can easily understand. Here’s the link to NPR’s report.
So it seems that companies are responding to the desire of their customers that they just stay here in the states. Personally, as much as I loved talking to ” Peggy” from the Philipines, it was annoying to try and explain why she should credit my service fees back to me.
How does that affect you? it should mean higher customer satisfaction as experienced customer service reps take your call from home. They are grateful for your business —and their stay at home job.
Many companies such as Jet Blue allow reps to work at home in bad weather. And many more are considering it.
Here is the link to a very well written article on how to prepare and apply for customer service jobs.
I have included exerts from the article which spell out things you should know!
According to Crystal Booth, here is the essential things to consider :
Essential Technology and Skills What you should have before you apply for a virtual call center job.
1. High speed internet access.
You’ll need internet access to preform your call center duties and most companies will require a high speed or broadband connection.
2. A landline phone.
Most employers require you have at least one, if not two, landlines.
3. A quiet home office in the house.
No barking dogs or crying babies should be heard in this room. :-)
4. An understanding of software and hardware installation.
This means you should know how to put the CD in your computer and follow directions, as well as follow directions for troubleshooting.
5. Experience working with people.
This does not necessarily mean experience in a call center. Many homeshoring employers look for people with experience in retail, hospitality, and other fields of expertise. The Application Process How to get that dream work-at-home job.
Most virtual call center jobs have a three-tiered application process. First, there is an online application and skill assessment. Secondly, there is a “voice test”. And the third step is an over the phone interview.
These three essential components often include other not as obvious skill assessments, such as the use on online learning tools, chat communication, and email follow-ups.
The Online Application How to stand out when you fill it out!
Since much of the online application screening automated, you will want to be as thorough and descriptive as possible when you apply. Many BPO firms call on new customer service agents when they need a worker with experience in a specific industry. If you have retail experience in more than one area, then it’s important to mention which areas you have experience in. For example, if you have worked for both Wal-Mart and the Macy’s perfume desk, you’ll want to mention both of those areas on your application. There’s a big difference between mentioning retail experience and mentioning big-box retail experience and upscale boutique experience.
The online application will also have a checklist for the equipment and technology you will need to use and acquire. Make sure that your computer and phone systems meet their needs or that you have the money and/or resources to acquire these. The Voice Audition Things to keep in mind when you audition.
Most virtual call centers require applicants to audition for the job by calling in to leave a message. Usually they will give you a few scripts to practice and then randomly select one for your voice test.
What are they looking for? It’s a mixture of personality, voice tone, and friendliness. If you’re nervous about a voice audition, it’s helpful to actually call a friend or two and actually practice the script with them on the phone. When you call for your audition, make sure that there is absolutely no background noise or interference with your call. Also, remember to disable your call waiting when you call. Speak slowly and clearly, and make sure you have an actual smile on your face – that’s something your callers will always hear on the phone. The Telephone Interview When you’ve made it this far, it’s smooth sailing. Here’s how to prepare.
When doing your interview, it’s best to be alone in a very quiet part of your house – preferably the home office you plan to work out of. Background noise is one of the main reasons why many potential home workers do not get hired.
Most virtual call centers use telephone interviews that are either live or recorded and last between 10 and 20 minutes. It’s natural to be nervous during this part of the process. This is where your personality should shine – and the best thing to remember your research, speak calmly and slowly, and be prepared for creative interview questions.
If a company is recruiting for an online drug store, they may ask you how you feel about weight loss products. If a client is a retail catalog, they may ask you specific questions about styles or brands. Make sure you’ve looked at their client list if available. Brush up on any industry experience that you may have highlighted in your resume, just in case they are screening for a similar client. It’s Worth It to Work from Home. Once you’ve applied, be patient – sit back and wait.
Working from home is one of the most rewarding business models available – you’ll have more time to spend with your family and you’ll be able to spend more time around the things you love.
Once you apply, remember that the backlog for virtual call centers is sometimes tremendous – and it can usually take anywhere from a week to several months for them to call on you to work for a specific project. Don’t fret – if you made it this far in the application process, they will be in touch when they need you. A few virtual call centers actually purposefully schedule their call backs a few weeks later to give you time to decide if the job is really for you. The next step will be making it through their training and certification. Just be professional, get back to them in a timely manner if they contact you, and prepare your home office for your new virtual call center career. Where to Find Virtual Call Center Jobs Apply online with these reputable companies.
Let’s face it – the hardest part of the work from home job hunt is simply finding legitimate jobs. Here’s a quick list to get you started. They have been listed in alphabetical order.
1-800-FLOWERS hires in specific regions. Their work-from-home agents are W-2 employees.
Accolade Support also hires home-based agents to work on a variety of client projects.
Alpine Access hires virtual call center agents as W-2 employees. Competition for jobs is stiff, however, they are one of the most respected in the industry.
American Airlines hires home-based reservation agents across the U.S. who have a call center close to home.
Extended Presence hires outbound callers to work on their B2B campaigns.
Freedom Telework has a reverse bidding structure – you should have a business license and your own equipment. You tell their clients how much you’ll charge by the minute or hour.
Liveops is another BPO firm – you’ll be an independent contractor.
Superior Telemarketing pays an hourly wage for their W-2 employees to work from home.
UCN.net builds and manages contact center infrastructure. You gain the freedom to innovate.
VIPdesk offers home-based contracting opportunities to U.S. based individuals This company provides inbound and outbound customer service for their clients through home based call agents. They are in process of recruiting and will be hiring about 500 people within the next few months.
West at Home
West at Home hires home-based independent contractors, and they tend to hire on a regular basis. Again, because of their popularity, there’s some real competition to get a job with them.
Working Solutions hires agents throughout the US and Canada. Call center projects can include order processing, reservations, enrollments, customer service, sales, market research, technical support, etc.
Here is an exert on companies that hire stay at home reps: