Telecommuting Technology and Remote Agents
With technology from Database Systems Corp., the concept of a virtual call center is now a practical reality. Consider having your call center workforce accepting and making calls from remote offices or even from home. Also consider having monitoring and control technology in place to make this scenario possible. Perhaps even your supervisors are working from home as well. Also consider having a phone system that answers your customer inquiries on its own, but with agents available if ever needed. This phone system can even contact your customers or prospects with announcements and alerts.
Allowing your employees to work from home gives you a competitive edge over traditional call centers. Now you can hire highly qualified individuals who could not otherwise commute to your center. Handicapped individuals, single parents and the elderly can now become an integral part of your remote workforce.
The following is an article relating to telecommuting technology products and services.
Virtual Call Center Agent - a Home Business Reality
A Home Business Article Contributed by Sharon Hill
Virtual Call Centers Offer a Unique Home Business Opportunity
Whether you want to use your customer service and phone skills to create your own call center agent service or just want to supplement your home business income until it begins to pay for itself, virtual call centers can be a real plus.
Virtual call centers contract with various firms to take their inbound calls, or make their outbound ones - or a combination of the two. Like other outsourcing call centers they offer telemarketing, customer service, sales, technical support and help desk services for many types of companies - banks, media firms, phone carriers, airlines, bus companies, medical service agencies, retailers, collection agencies and others.
Unlike brick and mortar call centers, virtual call centers are composed of folks who work from their own homes - sometimes, depending on the virtual company, as an independent contractor with a home business of their own, and sometimes as an employee of the virtual firm.
Companies Who Employ Virtual Call Center Agents, Offering Flexibility for Home Business Growth
One of the most prominent virtual call centers is Fort Lauderdale's Willow CSN. They now employ 2000 virtual agents in various states. Willow's home office is Fort Lauderdale and while they still require their virtual agents to attend 2 week training in Fort Lauderdale, they are in the process of taking that virtual as well. Which would allow their virtual call center "Cyberagents" to apply, interview, train and work all from their home offices.
Willow CSN employs folks who want their own home business. Each cyberagent spends $1200-$3700 of their own money to create their own home virtual call center agent business. They take calls for firms such as Office Depot, 1-800-FLOWERS, AAA and others. Each cyberagent bids for her or his own weekly schedule, with lots of flexibility in hours and days. Cyberagents can work for 1-4 clients of Willow CSN.
Colorado's Alpine Access employs virtual call center agents. Folks who work for Alpine Access are employees rather than independent contractors with their own home business. As are women and men who work for Sitel Corporation, whose clients include Verizon Wireless and Onstar. While these outsourcers don't offer you the chance to create your own home business they can provide an excellent way for you to earn a steady income by working hours that allow you the week day hours you need free to grow your own home business -whatever it might be.
The advantages of virtual call centers for those who want to create their own home business are many: flexible hours, financial savings due to decreased transportation and wardrobe costs, time savings due to elimination of commute, more family time, and the ability to take your job with you if you relocate or travel periodically. They also typically offer a good hourly rate and excellent benefits.
What Qualities are Needed by Home Business Owners Who Want to Work at a Virtual Center?
You need to be personable and articulate, with the ability to think on your feet. You need a good speaking voice, and basic customer service skills. You need to be able to follow prepared scripts and procedures and memorize large volumes of material quickly - typically a 2-3 week training period.
If you are interested in an inside sales position you might need some past phone sales or customer service experience; technical or help desk positions may require technical proficiency, advanced computer familiarity and/or mathematical skills. What you don't usually need is a degree. The turnover is typically sixty percent or more, which means virtual call centers are almost always hiring and offer plenty of room for advancement.
For folks who possess these skills, virtual may indeed be a home business reality.