Work From Home Representatives - Companies which hire home based Customer Service Agents
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One of the key areas where work from home is really expanding for real are the home based customer service representative jobs. We will briefly introduce you to this concept and how it works and then give you examples of a few companies that are constantly looking out for people willing to work at home. We are in no way associated with these companies and get no personal benefit if you approach them.
One would wonder why will any company do that?
Companies are constantly exploring ways to cut down the cost of doing their business. If they contract with an home based working individual, they save tons of money on infrastructure/building costs, electricity and management. Most of them do not provide benefits like health and retirement benefits like a regular office job would provide, some provide insurance but at a higher cost. These jobs are therefore ideal for work at home moms who are covered under their spouse benefit plans. Additionally when the personal information (like credit cards) of US customers go overseas there is little what US laws can do about it. Therefore domestic cyber-agents make more sense.
Additional reason that more companies are willing to employ Customer Service Agents in America itself and not in India, China or Philippines is the difference in English accent in those countries. International research firm IDC predicts the number of home-based customer-service representatives (CSRs) will grow 24 percent annually by 2010. Always research the company before you apply for a position to ensure it's legitimate to avoid scams, avoid positions that require you to pay a fee. Most companies want you to commit at least 15 hours to 20 hours a week but can vary.
General requirements of a Home Based Customer Service Representative Job
Most of these companies require you to have a computer at home, reliable internet connection, basic computer operating skills like Microsoft Outlook, a reliable phone line and a non-distracting environment when working as a customer service representative. Most important is your communication skills. They will also often provide you a free training (yes at their cost) from a few days to a few weeks. Pay scale in these companies is roughly about $8 to $15 per hour. Some companies will perform a background check or want you to submit one. Most are flexible with your choice of work hours. If you know someone who is already a home based agent then talk to them before signing up for the job and many may require you to incorporate. Bilingual speakers have a great advantage (especially Spanish and Chinese).
One of the catch in many of these Online Customer Agent jobs is that they are totally driven by the amount work they receive from their own clients. Therefore
it is common to that they will have no work for you several days in a row (may be more) because your employer may be waiting for an assignment or contract
from their client.
Following are a few examples of these organizations.
1. Alpine Access - Currently operating in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Utah but expanding fast in other states. They provide a great level of flexibility around your schedule and we feel they are one of the best in this line. Their clients include the famous 1-800-Flowers,Vermont Teddy. Bear and J. Crew. They currently have about 7000 sales agents in USA who work from home.
They have explained the whole process in simple words on their website. Their selection standards of these home based jobs if quite high and 2-3 percent of all applicants are eventually hired. They subsidize benefits which all cyber/virtual assistants can make use of especially who do not have benefits through their spouse or partner.
2. National Telecommuting Institute - they provide telework opportunities, especially for Americans with disabilities. They not only train you as a customer service representative, but also as a technical support agent and medical transcriptionists. Their clients include AAA Roadside Assistance and Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
3. West Corporation / West at Home
They are located in Omaha, Nebraska and it is a good starting place for anyone seeking to work from home as a customer service agent. When you apply, there is a background check you have to pass. The payscale is 17 cents per minute per call and goes upto 30 cents on busier season like Christmas. It is estimated that the West Corporation employs more than of 40,000 people in North America, Europe, and Asia. Their clients include Earthlink, Yahoo!/SBC, HSN, ProFlowers, Whirlpool and Virgin Mobile. They have been named 2008 North American Contact Center Outsourcing Company of the Year by Frost & Sullivan. Recently they have made many work from home representatives as full time employees offering better benefits.
4. LiveOps: They are probably the largest network of independently distributed agents in America. LiveOps have certified Agents in 48 states of America and they pay by per minute. Palo Alto based LiveOps offers web based management of more than 18,000 home based telephone workers. They are the nation's largest domestic outsourced call center making exclusive use of home-based agents.
5. 1800-flowers: They have atleast once been the winners of the global call center of the year award. They employ Work from Home Customer Service agents to provide professional, courteous, responsive and accurate service to their customers. They mostly require job seekers who live in the following states: Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio, New York, Texas and Virginia. The rate of pay is about $8 per hour. The concept of homeshoring was first utilized at a large scale by 1800-flowers in United States.
6. http://www.chacha.com/ - Compare Chacha with a modern day search engine like Yahoo or Google but they have an extra option - to be helped by a human guide specializing in that field you just searched. ( go to chacha then see in the bottom 'Become a Guide'). For example if you search for "Egypt Travel", it will show you the search results and also additional link on the top for "Chat Live with a Guide". If you decide to chat then they will connect you to that guide on a web based chat and after that you rate the service that the service agent provided you. The current payscale (as of May 2008) is $4 to $10 per hour. Once you earn over $100 you get paid.
NOTE (Update): Last time we visited their website we got this information there: ChaCha is a free mobile search service that allows you to get answers to any question you might have ChaCha is so simple to use. You simply send a text message containing your question to 242242 (spells ChaCha on your keypad) or call 1-800-2ChaCha and say your question. Your question will be sent to a ChaCha Guide who will research the question and send you a text back with your answer. Guides are paid per transaction basis, with text(SMS) questions paying $0.20 per transaction/answer.
This job will require some technical knowledge of html and ftp. Pay Range is very negotiable depending on experience, anywhere from US$ 5,000 - 20,000 a year.
Convergys is one of the world’s largest call center firms, with over 60,000 employees worldwide. They are more actively hiring in Asian countries than in USA and Canada. They serve clients in a broad range of industries, including communications, financial services, technology, and consumer products. Even they do not offer additional benefits directly, you can participate in their group subsidized benefits.
Staffcentrix is a leading advocate of home-based, virtual careers as a platform for stronger family life, and a leading provider of virtual work solutions and publications. Its Portable Career & Virtual Assistant Training Program for Military Spouses is now available at over 40 US military bases internationally.
VIPdesk, a pioneer of premium home-based contact center solutions and Concierge Services, is at the forefront of the "homeshoring" revolution. VIPdesk is the award-winning pioneer of home-based virtual contact center solutions for global brand leaders committed to enhancing their brand experience. VIPdesk is proud to serve more than 60 clients in the retail, financial services, travel, consumer goods and automotive industries. Founded in 1997, VIPdesk has been continuously recognized for its growth and innovation as a multi-year recipient of the Inc. 500, Deloitte & Touche "Fast 500" and the Stevie Award for Women in Business. Cyber-agents can reduce the operating cost of companies by a great margin.
Arise has 7,500 home based agents in 49 states and the selected candidates complete a 20-hour online introductory course to learn about the cyber call center industry . The compensation is usually a fixed rate, by call, by minute, or by hour and varies by client for either calls answered/transactions processed or minutes worked each hour. It generally adds up to between $10 and $14 per hour, with some sales and service applications providing performance incentives and bonuses.
12. (Discontinued Oct 2008) - Make money by writing articles and submitting them on this website (Saching.com) using Google Adsense:
If you think that you can write your original articles of about 500 words, then can make money on this site too. We are offering you to earn money in the same way we do.
This is an unconventional work and you do not get paid per hour but a very real work from home opportunity. There are thousands of people who are earning money all around the world by writing articles and short stories on the internet (like blogs). You will not start earning immediately but gradually over a period of time (say 2-3 months) and then you should see a regular inflow of money if you submit atleast one article a day. This is not an employment but an independent working opportunity which can possibly work out very well for you. You will need to write original articles only and if you do not like this work, then there are no obligations and you can stop writing any time. Not even a single dime is required to participate in this program.
If you would like to do some freelance work then visit these websites: Elance.com and oDesk.com
If you know more real life work from home examples, let us know. There are many companies like American Automobile Association (AAA), Dell, General Electric, Office Depot, Staples and CareerBuilder who have also started Stay at home, Customer Service Agent program but we do not have additional information at this point. Willow CSN served for Virgin Atlantic's flight booking, we do not know if they still do it. They also preferred agents who have traveled abroad extensively.
Disclaimer: This article is just the author's personal experience and research on the internet. It is not intended as a guide or recommendation. Please do your own research before following anything mentioned here. We do not take any responsibility resulting in loss or damage due to the information above. Article last updated on May 2008.