Work at Home as a Call Center Agent

Millions of Americans try to supplement their income through various work at home opportunities. How do you separate the real from the fake. RESEARCH! I have come up with one that is the main player in the work at home arena.

West Home Agent (www.workathomeagent.com). This is the main call center employer. registering is quick and you can become certified relatively quickly. You interview over the phone answering some basic questions to recorded questions or you can have a live person If you fail the tests you are required to wait six months to reapply. You are not an employee, but an Independent Contractor. You can choose your own hours, and are free from the daily oversight of the employee. The job requires discipline.

Setup is relatively simple. They have software that examines your computer to tell you what you need. Generally it is a little update or adding them on the trusted sites to protect against them being blocked by a pop up blocker program.

The pro with this company is that they are an established company and have actual call centers around the country. One problem they had was that for about 3 months they had few hours available. People were getting $.16 cent checks because the hours and volumes were so low. That has now been rectified. West acknowledged that they did have some people who were using software to grab hours. For the honest people they would have to sit there for hours and hit refresh to get hours. Much of this could be solved if West posted their needs on regular days and times. They do offer multiple lines, so you can increase hours. The other drawback is that you rarely deal with anyone at the company. You receive feedback from people you have never heard of. The final drawback is some of the clients they take calls from are questionable, and tend to lead to lots of prank calls or complaints.

All calls are scripted, so you are never really at a loss of words. It is geared to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible. This may not work with some vendors because they try to sell everything under the sun, and then have outside vendors like magazines and discount cards that want sales as well.

The main people that work for the company are work at home mothers, who plan their work schedule around their kids. The good thing is that you can cancel shifts as long as it is not within 24 hours. You are required to show up for 90% of your shifts and be logged in to take calls 80%. If you fall below that for too long they will terminate you and you will have to reapply.

In my experiment, I worked from Thursday through Sunday. By the end of the weekend I had $252.17, but that came at the price of a lot of hours waiting. The bump came because on weekends they have moved their rate from $.17 to $.25 or$.30 per minute. It was difficult getting a read on when the best time to work was since it could be slow one hour and busy the next. What I did learn was that any hours after midnight will mainly be pranks which are sexually explicit. The company policy is to not hang up on a caller, but let’s face it, no one deserves to be violated because someone wants to be disrespectful for free.

I did learn that too many hours in front of the computer is not good. You need breaks. I worked two hours on, one off. That worked great for me, but it does make the day seems longer.

Their pay structure is unique. You are paid by the minute, but according to the program it is done in seconds. For example. One day my seconds were 15027 which is then divided by 60 which equals 250.45 minutes. At a rate of $.17 my pay for that day was $42.57 I was scheduled for 7 hours, I worked 6.81. The amount of calls equaled about 4 hours and 10 minutes. I hope that makes sense. On rare occasions they do offer guaranteed pay at $9 per hour, but on this line it is almost never done. Other factors affecting pay is that one hour could be one rate and the next at another. In general, that is mainly on the weekend. So you may have time at various rates. You are paid bi-weekly by mail or direct deposit.They also offer the opportunity to be insured.

As a secondary source of income West is good, but you would have to work 50 to 60 hours per week to bring home $400, and with children this is not usually acceptable. They do have other programs that you can work as you become qualified, but in general you have to take the main calls for at least three months in order to get invited to apply for those programs.

Mandatory Tools

A modern computer.
At least basic computer skills.
A fast Internet connection, such as a DSL or cable modem.
A recent computer operating system release, such as the latest version of Microsoft Windows.
Recent releases of Internet and email applications, such as Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook.
A phone line dedicated to your home-based call center.
Good to excellent “people skills” to properly deal with customers.
High School Graduate

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