Virtual Call Center Jobs Bring Both Challenges and Opportunities
July 20, 2012
By Mae Kowalke
, TMCnet Contributor
Being home for that important UPS pickup may be a perk of many telecommuting jobs, but not if you’re a work-from-home call center rep. This is just one of the factors to consider when deciding whether to take a virtual call center representative job, according to blogger Melanie Cartwell.
“While there are many benefits to handling telephone calls from the comfort of your home, it is important to evaluate the pros and cons of the position before seeking out a job,” Cartwell said in her blog.
The need to be completely free from distractions is one aspect of virtual call center work that sets it off from many other types of telecommute work. Being a call center agent requires a person’s full attention, Cartwell said, whether that person is working from a brick-and-mortal call center or from the comfort of her home. This is unlike many other telecommuting jobs, where employees can start and stop their work as needed to accommodate a fussy baby, take a call from a friend or pause for snacks and a recorded episode of Glee.
“You’re typically on the phone the entire duration of your shift, leaving no time to care for your kids, answer the door, or deal with other situations that arise around the house,” she noted.
A lack of peer support is another down side of virtual call center work.
“When you’re working at home, you’re all on your own,” Cartwell pointed out. “There are obviously ways to chat supervisors and others for assistance, but you lose the ability to easily build relationships and get quick feedback.”
This includes the loss of entertainment to make the monotony of repetitive work more bearable.
“In a traditional call center environment, being amongst fellow employees helps to ease this problem and make the work more enjoyable,” Cartwell noted. It is just you and the phones, not the office gossip, shared glances and chatty moments between calls and before and after shifts.
A third downside when thinking about virtual call center work is that it isn’t for everyone. Handling callers with challenging problems can be a nightmare for some, and virtual call center positions such as outbound sales takes a certain type of person.
If you don’t feel like calling people who are in debt, for instance, Cartwell advised, “don’t work for a debt collection service. This may seem obvious, but often the idea of handling calls from home overshadows the actual nature of the work.”
But there are good reasons to choose a virtual call center representative job, too, such as enjoying rewarding work.
“When you pick up the phone and are able to help someone solve a problem, there’s no better feeling,” Caldwell noted. “Many jobs can’t provide this benefit, which makes call center work especially unique.”
Training usually is available, too; anyone can take an entry-level virtual call center job because all the training a rep needs is provided by the company.
The best reason of all, perhaps, is flexibility. With a freelance writing job there might be a wait for assignments, or with project work it might be necessary to be on call during certain hours – not so with many virtual call center jobs.
Many call centers work around the clock, 365 days a year, Cartwell pointed out. “Whenever you’re available, it’s likely there are calls that need answered, especially if you’re working for a larger call center with a higher call volume.”
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo