Like to talk to people but want to work from home? Working in a phone-based position is a good option. Most phone-based jobs are in sales—but what if you don't have any sales experience or don't want to work for commission? A WAHM reader asked this excellent question in our forums—we decided it needed a well-detailed answer. There are a variety of call center positions that aren't sales-based and can still be done from home—some without previous experience and others with a bit of training.
1. Customer Service Representative
If customers have questions or need assistance placing orders, a customer service representative is there on the other end of the line. Customer Sales Reps aren't telemarketers trying to make a sale—they're assisting those who reached out because they already own or are already interested in a product. These positions offer training, so you'll know the answers to all the customer's questions even if you have no prior experience.
To find open positions, use your favorite job search engine to search for “Customer Service Representative” with the keyword “telecommute.” When applying, be sure to mention any previous experience working with people and be sure to highlight your people skills.
2. Survey Research
Many surveys are conducted by phone, and survey companies need employees willing to ask all the questions and record the answers. You'll input the answers into a computer, so basic technical skills are helpful here. Many companies use home-based employees to conduct their surveys.
Try a few different keywords when searching for positions like this one: Survey Research, Survey Center, and Survey Call Center. Be sure to also use a keyword like telecommute or telework, since not all of these positions are home-based. You can also try large companies that conduct survey work for smaller companies, like RTI International.
3. Tech Support
If you left a tech-based job to stay home with your kids, working in a home-based tech support position may be a good option for you. These positions typically take more experience than customer service or survey taking, but that also means they are likely to pay more.
Finding a tech support job will depend a little bit on your experience, so it may involve a bit more searching. “Technical Support” is a good keyword, but again, be sure to make sure the job listing states telework or telecommute, as some of these positions are in physical call centers. When applying, highlight your technical expertise as well as any experience working with people.
4. Retail Finance
Credit card applications and questions are often handled by call center representatives. Companies that offer store-specific credit cards like GE Capitol often have home-based positions open in this area. Some positions require previous call center or financial experience, while others will train newbies.
Look at large companies like GE, as well as searching with keywords like Financial Call Center Representative. Again, if you have experience working with people (or in finances), be sure to mention that in your application.
5. Medical Call Center
Telework is sometimes available as a medical based phone representative. This position typically involves answering billing and insurance questions—medical billing and medical transcriptionists often do quite a bit of work by phone. These positions require some training, but because of the growth in billing and transcription positions, training is often widely available. If you have a nursing degree but would rather work from home, positions answering medical questions are also available.
Search for “medical billing” or “medical transcriptionist” and be sure to look for training programs in your area as well.
Working as a home-based call center representative offers flexibility, and it's home-based work without the loneliness that often comes with it. Sales positions aren't the only option either. Working as a customer service representative or a survey researcher can be rewarding options. When applying make sure to mention any experience working with people, as well as key qualities that are good in any telework position like organization and dedication. Many positions will also offer higher pay and preference to those who speak a second language.
Want to learn more? Join in on the conversation in our forum.