Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Many companies are choosing to bring home jobs that were once outsourced overseas in a trend called homeshoring. Most homeshoring jobs are customer service and sales positions that involve answering questions, addressing complaints and helping customers choose the right product for their needs. Companies offer these positions to workers in the United States who operate from home offices to cut down on company overhead. These employees often enjoy flexible scheduling and the absence of a commute.
Find Homeshoring Opportunities
Most homeshoring jobs require agents to provide customer service over the phone or through chat and email. They may make hospitality reservations, provide technical support or complete data-entry tasks. Search for homeshoring opportunities with agencies such as Working Solutions or Arise, but make sure that companies are reputable by checking with the Better Business Bureau. Arise, for example, has an A+ rating with the BBB. After acceptance by an agency, home agents can select from a list of available jobs. Each job may have varying scheduling requirements, but agents generally can set their hours and select the jobs that best fit their schedules.
Home Office Requirements
Review the agency's home office and equipment requirements. In most cases, you must have a computer, high-speed Internet and a land line telephone. Working Solutions, for example, requires agents to have a computer with Windows 7 or 8; 2 or more gigabytes of RAM; Internet Explorer 9 or 10; and a headset. Because most jobs require you to provide customer service, you will need an office space that is quiet and free from interruptions. Once you are approved with the company and accept a job, you might need to download additional software.
When applying for a homeshoring position, you must typically include your contact information, education background, certifications and work history. Most companies do not have a formal education requirement; however, you might qualify for more jobs with relevant education and experience. You may be asked to verify that you have the required equipment and take a test to ensure the quality of your telephone headset and Internet connection. In most cases, companies also require a background check for work-at-home agents. Most companies do not charge a fee to apply or work with the company. However, some companies might require the applicant to pay for a background check. Arise, for example, charges agents $12.95 for the background check, as of 2014.
Once you are accepted as an agent, you must complete the required training before working on a job. Working Solutions notifies agents by email when an available job meets the agent's qualification. Other companies allow agents to search and apply for openings. Once accepted for a project, you must complete the online training to learn about the clients' needs and gain the knowledge to provide quality service to customers. For example, agents may have to learn how to navigate the company's software and database programs. They must become familiar with company policies and receive coaching on handling customer service calls.
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