We’ve all had the following experience: after encountering a problem with a product or service, whether it’s a laptop or a toaster oven or a credit card or satellite TV, we’ve called the help line and someone with a foreign accent comes on.
While they’re polite and they try to be helpful, your problem just doesn’t get resolved. And I’m not making some bad joke about the language barrier. The real issue is that they haven’t really been trained thoroughly to really help the people on the phone – the customer. The hope is that most customers will just give up before getting their problem solved.
This is because most large companies have outsourced their customer service positions overseas. They hire companies that set up big call centers, often handling multiple accounts. The same person you talk to about the warranty on your air conditioner could very well talk to somebody about car insurance on the next call.
To make sure it costs them as little money as possible, the contracting companies skimp on training and staff numbers (that’s why you’re on hold so long). It’s a trend that started in the 80s, started going strong in the 90s and really hit its stride in the 2000s with customer service jobs going to India, the Philippines, Mexico, Eastern Europe, even Costa Rica in huge numbers. Anywhere with a large English-speaking and relatively educated population was fair game.
Why should you care? Well, I’m just setting the stage for a growing income opportunity.
You see, there’s a new trend in the customer service industry to move those jobs right back to the United States. You see, while outsourcing kept costs low, companies have found that customer satisfaction was hitting an all-time low too… in fact, they were losing customers and getting really bad press due to horrible customer service.
Having homegrown customer service personnel actually became a selling point – showcased in advertising – for many companies.
Customers everywhere, of all kinds of companies, are rejoicing at this “in-sourcing” trend.
But the really awesome thing from your point of view is that these jobs aren’t just going back to huge call centers. There are a ton of opportunities to get in on this wave right in your own home.
The Home-Based Customer Service Representative
There are a number of web-based companies who are contracting with individuals to work from home and assist customers. Forget about slogging your way through rush hour every morning to sit in a call center. These websites will pay you to help their customers from your home.
All you need is a telephone, a computer, and an Internet connection. I’m guessing you already have all three. And, although you should check with your accountant, often you can write these expenses off on your taxes if you get one of these jobs. Some companies will pay the bills for you. Cool bonus, huh?
Imagine spending your workday in comfy clothes, maybe even your pajamas. You could take on a full-time position or just do part-time. It’s perfect for stay at home moms, the unemployed or underemployed… and folks who just want the freedom and flexibility of working from home. Added bonus: no more office politics.
Here are a few ways you will assist customers from your home:
* Live video chat
* Phone calls
* Instant message
You’ll help them with the following services:
* Event registration
* Lead generation
* Appointment setting
* Technical support
* Telephone surveys
* And more…
If you have foreign language skills… you’ll be even in more demand and will probably get paid more, too. And don’t worry, if you don’t want to do telemarketing or sales… you don’t have to.
Applying for one of the “At Home Agents” positions is exactly like applying for any other job: visit their website, search their openings, and send in your resume. Here is a list of companies that happen to have home-based agent positions available right now (just click on the “careers” link on the home page):
These are providers contracted by companies to provide customer service. You can find many more online with a quick search. And there are also many companies that hire their own customer service personnel directly that you can find on job engines like Indeed.com and others listed in the resources section below. You just search for “at-home customer service” or similar terms.
Regardless of who you work for, they will give you the training – paid training, by the way – you need to help customers and resolve their issues. This is real training on the products and services offered by these companies. You’ll start out with a pretty good idea what it’s all about from your training and then get better and better as you learn on the job.
You’ll get real satisfaction from helping customers… and you’ll get viable skills and knowledge you can easily transfer to other positions if you’d like.
Some companies stipulate that you live in the United States, but others do not. So search around and find a position that fits your lifestyle. Like I said, these companies also offer full-time and part-time positions, so that’s another thing to consider. Pay varies, but most companies offer an hourly wage of around $15, as well as full benefits.
Steady, Reliable, and Comfortable
You won’t get rich by becoming a home-based customer service representative. I’ll be honest with you on that front. But you can earn just as much, if not more, than a typical office job and you’ll also be saving money by having no commute and you’ll be saving time. And make no mistake: the home-based workforce is one of the most rapidly expanding industries in the country right now.
And let’s not forget the biggest perk of home-based employment: you’re working from the comfort of your own home. You can wear what you want, you can largely set your own schedule, and there’s no annoying coworker one cubicle over who talks way too loud. Working from home is great. And by being a home-based customer service representative you’ll earn a good paycheck and you’ll be helping people, too.
I wish you the best of luck!
P.S. I’ve just given you the basics you need to start a career as a home-based customer service rep. But here are a few additional resources to help you get there.