One of the first jobs people often think of when they want to work at home is customer service. There are some great companies that hire people for such positions from home, and it’s work most people can do. But that doesn’t make it easy.
There are many reasons why customer service may not be the right work at home job for you. Then again, it could be perfect. So I thought I would take a look at the realities and fantasies of this job.
A highly flexible schedule where you can work the hours you select.
There’s a degree of truth to the fantasy, but it’s not as flexible as many people would hope. Companies typically want you to either set up a schedule with them for each week, or sign up for hours as they come available. You are expected to work the hours you agree to.
The trouble can come in when there’s a low call volume at the times you agreed to work. Work at home customer service positions generally pay on talk time, not on the hours you agreed to work. But you are still expected to be available. This can be really tough when the calls just aren’t there.
You can work and take care of your children at the same time.
Especially when your children are young, utterly untrue. Your typical customer service position will require that you have no background noise whatsoever. A noise cancelling headset will help, but if you have children playing in the background, you cannot count on it being enough. People do get fired over background noises.
If you have young children, you are pretty much limited to working when they are asleep and will stay asleep, or when they are at school. You will probably want an office with a door you can close. You will want to train your entire family to leave you alone when you are working.
It is easy to work in customer service once you find a job.
While finding the job is one of the most difficult parts of working at home, it’s not the only challenge. With many companies you have to test to qualify to take calls for various companies, and strict scripts to follow. Just being yourself in many cases is not allowed. There are legal reasons why you may be required to use specific phrasings.
You will also have to deal with problem customers, people who don’t want to let you say what you have to say, and people who are just simply hard to understand. You’ll have goals to meet. Some days the job will be easier than others.
Working well in customer service takes practice. It’s a skill many people can pick up, but it is not for everyone. You will have times when there is not as much work as you would like. Times when it is hard to find a workable schedule or to keep to what you agreed to. But you will also be glad to have the ability to work in your own home.