I saw this article orginally in yahoo news.
Customer Service Jobs
by John Steven Niznik
Work-at-Home Customer Service Jobs on the Rise
According to a 2005 article by the New York Times, work-at-home customer service job opportunities are on the rise in the U.S. (Customer service jobs are also referred to as call center jobs.) The article indicated failed offshoring attempts due to language barriers, as one of the reasons why U.S. companies are now hiring more local representatives (agents) for work-at-home customer service jobs.
By employing work-at-home agents, companies also reduce attrition in customer service jobs while saving money on office rent, utilities and equipment. Consequently, they're relatively eager to employ work-at-home agents and motivated to pass along some of their savings in the form of increased hourly wages.
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According to the article, customer service representatives working in traditional call centers generally earn only $8 to $9 per hour, but work-at-home customer service agents generally earn $13 to $14.
The advantages for agents employed in work-at-home customer service jobs are fairly obvious, especially for stay-at-home parents and physically-challenged people who need income. But perhaps a not-so-obvious advantage is that you can sweeten your net pay, if you're eligible to take deductions at tax time for business use of your home.
Landing Work-at-Home Customer Service Jobs
Work-at-home customer service jobs range from general call handling to providing technical support. To land such a job, you'll likely need some to all of the following basic essentials. The list is a summary of requirements excerpted from a few job descriptions and application forms from various sources.
* A modern computer
* At least basic computer skills
* A fast Internet connection, such as a DSL or cable modem
* A recent computer operating system release, such as the latest version of Microsoft Windows
* Recent releases of Internet and email applications, such as Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook
* A phone line dedicated to your home-based call center, with unlimited long-distance dialing
* Good to excellent "people skills" to properly deal with customers
* Education ranging from some high school to a college degree
The hiring company might provide or reimburse you for some of the essential tools of the trade, depending on whether it hires you as an employee or independent contractor. (If hired as an independent contractor, you'll likely have to provide most to all of the essential tools for yourself.) The hiring company might also require you to successfully complete a customer service training course and submit to a background check, drug test or both.
Experience in either a traditional or work-at-home customer support, technical support, help-desk or other type of customer service job might come in handy, but isn't always required. Natch, an updated, polished resume and interviewing skills are good things to have, just as they are when applying for any job.
Finding Work-at-Home Customer Service Jobs
According to the New York Times article, the following companies hire for work-at-home customer service jobs (to some degree and at some point in time). Check the employment sections of their Websites. But they might not list such jobs specifically as "work-at-home customer service jobs". (They'd likely be overwhelmed by job applications from unqualified wannabes if they did.) Consequently, you might have to inquire about or negotiate a work-at-home option. Regardless, make sure that you qualify for the job before applying. The need or desire to work at home is likely not enough by itself.
* American Automobile Association
* General Electric
* JetBlue Airways
* Office Depot
The move to home-based call centers has also created opportunities for intermediaries. The following staffing firms, job banks and such, are just a few that include or specialize in work-at-home customer service jobs.
* Alpine Access - At this writing, hires for work-at-home customer service jobs only in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Utah, but will soon add more states. If not currently hiring in your state, they'll file your application for future opportunities.
* National Telecommuting Institute - Nonprofit organization that helps disabled Americans train for and find telecommuting jobs, primarily work-at-home customer service jobs in the private and public sectors. You must prove your disability to land one of the jobs.
* West Corporation - Recruits work-at-home customer service agents through West at Home
* Working Solutions
* Yahoo! HotJobs
Also check other job banks for work-at-home customer service jobs.
Here is a general search for those jobs.