Saturday, April 23, 2011

>There’s No Place like Home: The Home Call Center

>Many call centers hire remote agents - individuals who
work at home. Normally, phone calls are directed to
the remote agents, who answer them as if they were
working physically in a call center. Nowadays, remote
agents are expected to handle more than just phone
calls but e-mail or instant message inquiries as well.
However, the work mainly depends on the company the
remote agent is working for. Most call centers do not
directly employ their staffs; instead, they rely on
other companies for the recruitment, training and
management of those people answering phone calls.

The Equipments for a Work-At-Home Call Center Agent

In order to become a remote agent or a work-at-home
call center agent, there is a variety of equipments
required. First on the list of equipments is the
computer. It may be advisable to have a computer
running on Windows operating system with at least 300
MHz processor. Additionally, there might be a need for
an additional 600MB of free space on the hard drive
and at least a RAM of 256 MB. These are just the basic
overview of the specifications since the specific
requirements regarding the speed and memory of the
computer may vary from employer to employer.

Next is Internet access. Most of the communication
that will happen, as well as the actual call center
work will be done on the computer and it is necessary
to have an email address. Additionally, it is
advisable to download a VoIP application or any
instant messenger depending on the company’s
preference. In order to assist customers in an
efficient and timely manner, it is a requirement to
have a high speed Internet access via DSL or cable
modem of at least 128K.

Telephone, especially the traditional corded phone is
necessary. VoIP or cellular phones are usually not
acceptable, as well as cordless telephones. In
addition, it may be required to have the call waiting
feature from the phone disconnected since many
employers may require an agent who can solely take
work-related phone calls. This can also minimize the
chance of receiving calls that are not work-related
during the shift.

The Do’s Of Telephone Etiquette for a Remote Agent

It is necessary to have excellent phone skills when
working as a remote agent. Take time to listen and
understand what the customers are saying. By doing
this, the customers would feel respected and
important, which can increase satisfaction and
retention. Additionally, always be aware of the tone
of your voice - be upbeat and enthusiastic. Usually,
negative response from a caller results from the
agent’s tone of voice. It is important to sound happy
and inviting to achieve positive reactions from the
customers. Asking questions can prevent dead air when
you are looking for or typing information for the
customer. This skill normally takes time to develop
but you can start by asking simple questions about the
caller’s needs and show that you care about his or her
queries.

Through practice and diligence, anyone can be a
successful remote agent. However, it is important to
undergo training and collect knowledge, which are
useful in handling phone calls successfully. Remember,
training materials should always be kept on your
workstation to help you refresh your memory and ensure
that you are not only following the policies set by
the company but also be able to handle any calls that
come you way.

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