Alpine Access, Arise, formerly Willow CSN, ICT, Sitel, and LiveOps are outsourcers that deploy remote call center agents. Two of the largest North America-based contact center outsourcers, Convergys and West, employ thousands of remote call center agents. Alaska Airlines and JetBlue are two major airlines that also offer remote agent employment opportunities. In most cases, you can apply for a position or check your application status on the company's website. Most of the websites will also provide you with details about the specific skill set and equipment (phone, computer, Internet) that they require.
Before you apply, I suggest that you consider the following questions to determine your readiness for working as a remote agent:
Remote call center agent readiness checklist:
1. Do you have a private workspace in your house with a door, where ambient noise can be minimized during work time?
2. Do you have an "office space" with a desk, PC, phone with mute/hold/conference, a headset outlet and a headset?
3. Do you have a separate phone line that can be dedicated to call center calls (if not in an IP contact center environment)?
4. Do you have a second phone line for personal calls?
5. Are you technically capable of setting up and installing the remote call center technology required for your job?
6. Can you troubleshoot your remote agent technical setup?
7. Do you have a reliable personal computer that meets the company's defined system requirements?
8. Do you have a broadband Internet connection?
9. Do you have a subscription with a reliable high-speed Internet service provider (ISP) that meets the company's defined requirements?
10. Can you be on the Internet and phone at the same time (if not working in an IP environment)?
11. Can you commit to working a minimum of 20 hours per week (or the minimum number of hours established by the company)?
12. Are you willing to train for the position via online course materials and phone/webinar sessions?
13. Are you a quick and accurate typist who is comfortable communicating with a supervisor via chat?
14. Do you have a bank account for automatic payroll deposits?
15. Do you have any experience working at home or for an off-site or remote manager?
16. Are you a highly motivated self-starter who enjoys working by yourself?
This was first published in July 2008