Work from home customer service jobs are appealing for a number of reasons:
1. Anyone with a home office and a minimal amount of customer service experience can get hired.
2. No in-person interviews are required, usually just a brief telephone interview.
3. The work is relatively easy and low stress.
4. You can be located anywhere in the country.
5. You'll earn a guaranteed hourly wage, usually $8 to $12, plus bonus incentives if any selling (upgrading) is involved.
6. Shifts are available at all times of the day and night.
7. Shifts are short - generally only 6 hours.
8. Perfect for stay-at-home parents looking to supplement family income.
However, finding a legitimate work from home customer service job, or any legitimate telecommuting job for that matter, can literally feel like a job in itself. Where are these jobs hiding? When it comes to work at home positions, most online job boards are jam packed with misleading job offers, business opportunities, etc. The most prevalent bait and switch trick you'll see is companies posting ads for what sounds like a legitimate job offer which actually turns out to be a "business opportunity in disguise" which will generally end up costing you anywhere from $50 to $500 should you choose to join. Make no mistake... I am not here to tell you that all business opportunities are fraudulent in nature. There are both good and bad companies in every industry and plenty of people have made money in MLM, affiliate marketing, etc. I just want to clarify that there is a big difference between a work at home business opportunity and a work from home customer service job. Business opportunities require you to purchase a small franchise, or system, and then use the information to essentially start and run your own business, which is never as easy as it sounds. Even if you don't have to worry about billing, order fulfillment, etc. you'll still have operating expenses and competition is fierce in almost every online niche. Perhaps the most important distinction is that with biz opps there are no guarantees you'll make money, even enough to recover your initial investment. The Federal Trade Commission reports that over 95% of all home-based start-ups fail almost immediately, due to insufficient operating capital and resources. A work from home customer service job, on the other hand, is just like a normal call center job in the sense that you have a supervisor, a schedule, and a guaranteed paycheck... The difference is you're able to work from your home office anywhere in the country.
It is annoying for jobseekers to continuously encounter business opportunity ads on the major online job boards, especially if you're only interested in real work from home customer service jobs paying guaranteed wages. If you're reading this article chances are you've already gone sifting through pages of help wanted ads and maybe you're already close to your wits end. Fortunately there are a few ways you can change your strategy, spring ahead of the game, save time, and avoid bogus employment ads. Real work from home customer service jobs do exist and the following section goes over some free and low cost resources and techniques for finding them. Also included below is some practical advice for getting hired.
If you're going to be using any of the most popular free job boards to look for work from home customer service jobs you will want to avoid searching for what may seem like the most obvious keywords. The main words to avoid are "work from home" and "work at home" because those are the most commonly searched words and are therefore targeted by companies advertising business opportunities, which you are trying to avoid. Trying searching for the words "flexible" and "family friendly" and "telecommute" and "telework" and "telecommuting" because they will likely trigger relevant results.
With persistence on free job boards you can find diamonds in the rough, but they may offer little in terms of entry level telework because there are so many people browsing the listings. As more and more businesses save money by reducing office space and converting to a home-based employment model, telecommuting is becoming popular enough to warrant the appearance of a new breed of job boards - telecommuting job boards. The price of admission for jobseekers can be as low as $14.95 and what you'll get is a jobs database filled only with legitimate jobs that have been hand-screened by the staff to weed out scams and business opportunity adverts. You will often find 100+ work from home customer service jobs posted by reputable companies. Other telecommuter job categories include sales, writer/editor, medical billing, answering service operator, administrative work, technical support, consulting, researcher, online tutoring, transcription, data entry, virtual assistant, etc. If you can afford the small price of admission, joining a professional telecommuter job board is sure to knock hours off your job search.
Finding the right job is half the battle. Time to get hired. Make sure you emphasize your customer service experience on your application and resume. Most virtual call center jobs like to see 12 months, but 6 months experience handling inbound calls can suffice. Sometimes if you're eager to work experience is not required. One huge tip I cannot emphasize enough when you are applying for work at home customer service jobs is to send in photos of your home office or workspace along with your application/resume. One or two photos is fine. Don't go overboard. Make sure your workspace is clean and professional. Numerous recruiters have indicated that having a neat, tidy, dedicated workspace in your home speaks volumes about your character and how effective you'll be as a telecommuting employee. Sending in photos of a soda can and pizza box littered dungeon probably won't help you too much. Attaching photos of an admirable workspace is an easy way for you to stand out as a good job candidate. Remember, while working from home you will never have a supervisor looking over your shoulder telling you what to do, so it helps to show the hiring manager that you can stay organized on your own. Also, if you have a fairly new computer, dust it off, and include a photo of that as well, or make sure it's visible in one of the photos of your workspace.
Once you find a work from home customer service job and apply, the hiring process is generally fairly short. If there are openings and you have some previous customer service experience (either at home or in a call center) you'll probably get interviewed. Fortunately 90% of the time you will not be required to travel anywhere and sit through an in-person interview. Instead you will speak to a hiring manager on the telephone for a brief (15 minutes) telephone interview. This is a good thing! Telephone interviews are a lot less stressful and time consuming than live interviews. Still, be sure to still take the telephone interview seriously. Hiring managers for large virtual call centers talk to new (and equally qualified) applicants every single day, so you need to be on point. It may sound obvious, but if there's a loud TV or a crying baby in the background, no matter how qualified you are you will quickly move to the bottom of the pile, or be deleted. So be sure you're in a quiet room with the door shut, using a phone connected preferably to a landline. Have your resume close by so you can verify the info. You can also have notes handy because nobody can see you. Come across as friendly and eager to work! After all it's a customer service job...
Amanda K. Willis is the chief editor for PajamaJobs.com, a unique online job board for telecommuting jobs offering paid training and guaranteed wages. Unlike most job sites, every job listing is researched and hand-screened by an actual human being before being posted in order to weed out biz opps and scams. Telecommuter job categories include work from home customer service, medical billing/transcription, sales/telemarketing, data entry, tech support, online tutoring, consulting, online research, writing/editing and all sorts of clerical work that can be done from a home office. Highly recommended for stay-at-home parents.