Work From Home Customer Service
Over the last few years, work from home customer service jobs have met increasing demand, and fortunately, the job market supply has risen as well. Whereas in previous years, the trend leant itself to outsourcing customer service professionals to countries overseas, where presumably the fee was lower and companies ended up saving money. After having many issues, especially with the satisfaction of their patrons, many of these businesses have decided the best option would be to begin bringing the jobs back into the country. Often, with the outsourced positions, customers had difficulty explaining specifics to the worker, largely due to cultural differences, and often both parties had difficulty understanding and communicating effectively with each other. In light of these difficulties, many major corporations are soliciting the help of telecommunications companies to hire agents to field these calls. This is good news for anyone wanting a work from home customer service job.
At first glance, the process in choosing what type of work from home customer service position suits one best may seem a bit overwhelming. To make matters simple, however, there are two basic types of customer services agents in this field: the employee and the independent contractor. The majority of telecommunication companies hire independent workers rather than signing people on as full-fledged employees. This means several different things. First, independent contractors are regarded as being self employed; financially, people will have to pay quarterly taxes and make sure that they keep up with their financial and legal records to protect themselves. Secondly, many companies require that their independent contractors foot a portion, or some times even a majority, of the costs involved in setting up and training.
Training for independent agents is also not always paid for. Some corporations will, of course, provide their workers with income during the training process, while others withhold money and sometimes even require that the worker pay a training fee. A downside to being an independent contractor rather than an employee is that most companies that are simply hiring on an independent basis do not pay hourly. Agents are only paid for the calls that they receive and for the time they spend on the phone with a customer. While in peak seasons, this would not pose a problem, but the work load is not always dependable in this business, and so the pay may fluctuate dramatically depending on the season.
A small handful of companies will hire individuals to do work from home customer service straight on as employees. Generally, although not exclusively, these businesses will pay their employees just like any other company would, by the hour. Regardless of whether calls are actually coming in, as long as the employee is logged in during his shift, those hours worked will be credited to him. This is especially helpful during slower periods where calls may be sporadic and unreliable. Even in this particular branch, however, paid training is not always guaranteed, although there are companies who will provide a salary during that time. Others may insist that employees participate in unpaid training but then not have to contribute to the cost either.
The decision to pursue a position as an independent contractor or as an employee must be left up to the person pursuing the work from home customer service position. In either situation, the general application and hiring practices will mirror each other similarly. The first step is submitting an application to the company or companies that a person finds to be of interest. If a business finds the application to be satisfactory and believes that the prospective hire will benefit its company, an interview may be scheduled. As one would expect, these interviews and screenings are primarily conducted via the telephone. If the interviewer is satisfied and impressed with the applicant, the applicant will be recommended for the next stage of the process.
Since these work from home customer service positions require a large amount of time spent on the computer, many businesses will require testing before they hire. This testing may include typing and/or basic computer skills. In addition, many also require voice and language tests as well. The extent and depth of these examinations are contingent on the specific desires of the hiring company. And while these may sound intimidating, they are simple assessments that are used, possibly because of the fact that the interview process itself differs so much from the norm.
After being hired, the then independent contractor or employee may still have to go through several checks before officially beginning a work from home customer service position. Depending on what company a person is hired by, these may include a drug test, and a background and/or credit check. As with nearly every other factor, individual businesses will vary on their policies. Some will require that the employee or agent pay for all of the tests required, and others will provide them all as a free service. Or many will fall some where in between; regardless, it is not unusual or fraudulent to have to pay a small fee for these services.
After an individual is hired, there are just a few more things to consider before embarking on this exciting opportunity. While it may seem tedious, it is best to be prepared for any new venture as "the soul of the sluggard desireth, and [hath] nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat" (Proverbs 13:4). It is vital for a person to make sure they have the appropriate tools before beginning. The standard for most companies is a traditional land line phone, a high speed Internet connection, a headset, a computer, and a quiet atmosphere. These items, coupled with a willing and excited attitude, will help make anyone comfortable and at ease in a work from home customer service position.
Work At Home CareersMost work at home careers evolve from an individual's life skills or permanent occupation which may be temporarily or permanently curtailed. As the saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention;" and many self-employed persons go into business to earn income when full time employment becomes unavailable. In a waning economy with escalating unemployment, individuals need to be creative if they want to continue making a living. Busy executives who once strove to climb the corporate ladder are facing layoffs due to mergers, takeovers, and closures like never before. Men and women who have been kicked off the employment rolls are finding themselves with more time on their hands and less money in their pockets. Home-based careers, such as clothing and textile design, freelance writing, and contract consultant services are sometimes created by talented individuals who suddenly find themselves out of work and money. Women are particularly adept at starting cottage enterprises on a shoestring. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come" (Proverbs 31:10,24-25).
If necessity is the mother of invention, then creativity is the womb from which new businesses are born. Enterprising individuals simply won't sit still and cry over lost jobs and lower wages. Brave and adventuresome souls can turn adversity into an asset by honing the same skills that pushed them up the corporate ladder and turning them into successful work at home careers. Home-based businesses offer an opportunity to experience financial independence and freedom from the constraints of a 9-to-5. But wise individuals will need to explore careers which offer the most potential to earn enough money to match or exceed earnings from full-time employment. We've all heard success stories about unhappy workers who braved the unknown to conquer self-inflicted unemployment by opening up a bakery which netted millions. Or tales of computer geeks who turned a backyard PC repair shop into a cash-generating multimillion dollar global enterprise. And while those success stories are exhilarating, most unemployed individuals work closer to terra firma; and making millions may take decades.
But ordinary work at home careers can bring extraordinary results for individuals who are creative, persistent and self-disciplined. To determine which home-based business best suits an individual's needs, one should ask, "What can I do to make money and be happy?" Building a business based on a favorite talent or hobby is the best course to take. Jewelry making, painting, writing and illustrating children's books, light carpentry and woodworking, fashion design and clothing construction, and knitting and crocheting -- all of these are pleasurable hobbies that be transformed into lucrative work at home careers. And none of them require a large cash investment. Jewelry samples can be sold at local flea markets or on consignment. Painters can feature photos of original works on personal web pages. Writers and illustrators can develop full-time careers by joining freelance job sites which bring buyers and providers of artwork and creative writing together. Carpenters can work for homeowners and contractors building, remodeling or constructing new homes, or creating custom staircases, porch swings, or gazebos. And there is still a good market for clothing designers and seamstresses, especially those who can furnish contemporary styles for hard-to-fit sizes.
Due to the popularity of web-based advertising, individuals engaged in work at home careers can build sites featuring online stores and sell to consumers all over the world. An expensive digital camera can be used to take product photos; and website builder software enables individuals to construct attractive home pages to target a specific market. Individuals can also include website addresses on flyers, letterhead and calling cards to help drive consumers to new sites. Home pages should also include options for online customers to order and purchase products. Setting up an online merchant account will help expedite payment and make collecting monies electronically a safe and easy process. Establishing a separate commercial bank account also offers protection for an owner's personal finances and is much more professional when transacting business or making electronic purchases.
Setting up a dedicated space for work at home careers is crucial to building a professional business rather than a hobby. Design an attractive in-home office with comfortable task seating and efficient lighting. Include an up-to-date computer, web cam, laser printer, telephone, and filing system for optimum efficiency. Individuals should approach self-employment with the same determination and dedication as the 9-to-5 job they once held. Self-employed entrepreneurs should plan the workday just as if in the corporate office, with lunch breaks and scheduled appointments to keep on task. Avoid taking too many breaks, watching television, or loitering by the pool. Productive self-employment is the only way to ensure that work at home careers become profitable.
Before taking the plunge into self-employment, individuals need to seriously consider two to three possible careers and test the market to see which ones hold the most potential for success. In order for work at home careers to succeed, owners must identify a target audience and assess a demand for the goods and services the new enterprise has to offer. Drive around the neighborhood and notice what kinds of businesses are most frequented by families, teens, or senior adults. A company's clientele is indicative of the target market owners want to reach. Independent entrepreneurs can either tailor a new company to appeal to a specific demographic or create a business which attracts an untapped niche market. Being observant, taking an honest assessment of demand, and counting up the costs of starting a new business, even if it is in the home, are all first steps towards entrepreneurial success after unemployment!