Numerous companies that hire customer service agents for businesses around the world say that they are both saving money and also attracting better employees by letting the employees work from their own homes. Using Internet telephone technology, these customer service operators are able to hear out complaints and answer questions just as good as if they were working in a sprawling call center in an office park.
Andrea Ayers, president for customer management for Convergys Corp, has said that it gives them access to high-quality labor that would not otherwise work in a call center. Convergys is an outsourcing company that is ramping up the number of employees who work from home and they are a global leader.
Convergys and its competitors are being swamped with applications. The first spike in applications for work at home jobs came when gas prices topped $4 a gallon and when the economy was really struggling. Now, the work at home applications are surging again as unemployment either stays the same or maybe even increases. Many are looking for extra income to help pay bills and debt during these challenging times.
Home based agents often start at $8-to-$11 per hour. They can earn more depending on the knowledge and skill required for specific clients. Besides not having to pay for gasoline and other fuel type bills, home-based operators also save on car maintenance costs and the expense of keeping up an office wardrobe. Many of the employeers who work for companies such as Convergys are also involved in other work at home opportunities, such as online surveys, to help supplement their income and pay bills.
Sharon Castor is one person who had never given much thought to working at a call center, and even less to going back to the work grind in the early rising, traffic-fighting work life she had for the nearly three decades before retiring. But after the ailing parents she was helping to care for passed away, the Kentucky resident was getting restless after five years off and not working and she needed some extra income.
After researching numerous at-home work opportunities to make extra income and pay the bills, she came to Convergys. She also saw the success that many are having. More.
Soon, she converted an extra bedroom in her house into her office. Her work at home job involves her helping customers who need help with insurance matters and numerous other questions on behalf of a healthcare company. It is among the various companies that do not want their use of outsourced customer service made public. Convergys does work for many Fortune 500 businesses, including some that are based overseas.
The Cincinnati-based company has been very rapidly increasing its home based workforce. It currently has over 1,200 home based agents and it expects to triple that number next year. The company has 75,000 employees worldwide.
Convergys' home agents use Voice over Internet Protocol for their communication needs through broadband Internet connections. Very safe computer firewalls keep information secure. Agents communicate with their colleagues and managers by instant messages and online chats. Managers can monitor their work and performance virtually.
Christopher Carrington, who is the chief executive of Alpine Access, said the almost 10-year-old business that specializes in using work-at-home agents is booming. And job applications are up over 10 from a year ago.
Alpine Access, the Denver based company, started slowly but the spread of high-speed communications has helped it to grow from fewer than 1,000 home based agents in its second year to more than 7,500. Alpine has said that many US companies who outsource their customer service prefer to use US-based employees - called "homeshoring" - instead of those in call centers located overseas in India or other countries.
Arise Virtual Solutions, which is a 10-year-old company based in Miramar, Fla., has also seen rising interest. The company contracts with home based agents who perform their work as incorporated entities, in effect creating their own small home businesses. The company spends a significant amount of time questioning, training, and testing people before giving them work at home jobs.
While the list can and will constantly change, some other companies that may be hiring work at home, call center type jobs are below. The companies are always evolving so the program may be cut from their budgets, they may not have any job openings, there may be geographical restrictions, and the positions are hotly contested when there is even a job to be had. Some positions may be full time, seasonal or part time as well. They may require the applicant to have the proper equipment. A number of other conditions may apply too. However this list can serve as a starting point for a call center type position.
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