Work-at-Home Call Center Jobs: What to Expect

Work-at-home call center jobs are real call center jobs. But the work-at-home element can spring some surprises, and you need to be prepared for them.

Adjusting to the call center rate of work in your own home can be difficult, a "cultural clash." While the work-at-home call center job is perhaps more comfortable and quieter, it is equally busy.

The Call Center Environment

Call centers are best viewed as high-speed production lines. This is the normal mode of operations in a call center:

  • Everybody is busy, all the time.
  • Calls back up very easily, creating a continual stream. Streams can be hours long.
  • Complex calls instantly create more backups.
  • Complaint lines are usually backed up, despite using experienced operators.
  • Menu selections get on caller's nerves. 
  • Call center managers and supervisors are always on the move as they solve issues for operators and give advice.
  • Performance is measured on turnover times, which are based on the theory of matching time, numbers of operators and call volumes.
  • Some calls simply do not fit into turnover times.
  • Quality of advice and service given to callers by operators is always a major issue with management.

The work-at-home call center situation adds some potential problems:

  • Taking "time-outs" while on duty, however essential or important, can cause concern for your employer.
  • Domestic situations don't necessarily mesh well with a workplace that takes up to 50 calls per hour per operator.
  • The home environment itself can generate major distractions.
  • Hardware, database and software issues do happen, and you may find yourself unscrambling the effects later.
  • Call dropouts can cause problems for you as a remote operator. If this situation occurs it generates a secondary set of responses checking for connection issues and client complaints.
  • You must be careful about information the management provides. Your understanding of new policies and procedures will be based on mail-outs from your employer. Remember to check about any unclear points.

Managing Your Work-at-Home Call Center Job

You should try these simple tips to ensure you experience minimum difficulties with your work-at-home call center job:

  • Isolate your workstation from your domestic environment. Keep everything and everyone out, as much as possible.
  • Do not make commitments to working at inconvenient times, when you can't devote all your attention to the job.
  • Make sure all your procedural materials are well-organized, where you can find them instantly as required.
  • Establish a working procedure with the manager to ensure you can clarify problems for clients efficiently and quickly.
  • Make sure that you understand how to access any backups when there are system issues.

Software and Database Issues for Work-at-Home Call Center Jobs

It's critically important that you can operate your database and client data notes effectively. After training, revise your notes on each form of entry and account until you're confident of your ability to handle the work. Ask for help if you're not confident. 

If the system drops out mid-call, you should have a procedure in place to deal with the information the clients provided. Make a point of asking your boss about system dropouts.