Many large companies outsource their customer service to a work-at-home call center. A call center agent typically answers customer phone calls and must possess excellent troubleshooting and people skills.
The One Person Call Center
As a virtual contact center, you are one of a team of virtual contact centers that provide call outsourcing for larger companies. The trend toward outsourcing calls to a work-at-home call center employee, are motivated by the company's bottom line. It is much less expensive in terms of overhead and employee benefits to hire an independent contractor working from home.
Virtual Contact Center Skills
As a minimum, you are required to have the equivalent of a high school diploma and basic computer skills, such as word processing and data entry. Excellent customer service skills on the phone are also a must. In addition, because no boss will force you to get to work on time (or get the work done), you have to be self-motivated.
Required Call Center Equipment
Independent contractors are responsible for maintaining their office equipment, basic office software and an Internet connection. In addition, some companies may have further requirements, such as a compatible headset, dedicated phone line or an office with a door to prevent interruptions. You may also need to complete a training course before beginning work.
Advantages of the Work-At-Home Call Center
With a comfortable home office setup, you can enjoy flexible work hours and often have the option to choose your own schedule. In addition, there is no commute back and forth to work, which wastes valuable time. If you have children, setting up a virtual contact center in your home may provide an alternative to paying for child care.
Disadvantages of the Work-At-Home Call Center
Unlike many work-from-home jobs and freelance jobs, even though the schedule of a call center agent is somewhat flexible, you must commit to a schedule and stick to it. It is less spontaneous than other home-based work, but can be suited to any scheduling requirements. The other disadvantage is that when you are helping customers on the phone, it is imperative that you limit distractions. If you have small children at home who need your attention during work hours, then this may not be the ideal job for you.
Call center agents are paid in several different ways, depending on the company they're working for. Some are paid by the hour, some by the minute and some by the number of calls they receive. Weigh the payment structure and pay scale, along with the expenses involved in maintaining a home office, to figure out your income potential.
Work-at-home call center jobs are a cost effective way for large companies to outsource inbound customer service calls. The job of a call center agent is to answer questions and to enter information into computer programs. The main advantage of a virtual contact center is that it allows for a flexible work schedule.