The telephone, combined with computers and the Internet, allow 21st century Americans to have more work options than ever before. The standard paradigm is to have an office employee arrive on-site and work there from about 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, the classic “9-5” job. This is common and there are reasons to work this way, but for some employees, other options may be preferred. And for some employees, such as single parents at home, working as an inbound sales agent or working customer service jobs is their only real option. Job seekers may in fact search “work from home flexible hours” online with keywords for their desired field. This may range from “work from home flexible hours SEO writer” to “work from home flexible hours customer service rep.” Searching “work from home flexible hours” may also include the seeker’s area, as working by phone may be somewhat easier if they are at least working in the same state or city as their employer. Independent contractors may also search “work from home flexible hours” and may in fact have more than one job like this at once.
The Power of the Phone
Whether an employee is working in the office or whether they are telemarketing from home, many such jobs call for excellent phone skills. Telephones are a much older technology than the Internet and home PCs, but they are still a vital part of making sales, keeping customers loyal, and reaching out to business partners. The exact technique for good sales calls is a whole topic in itself, but in short, someone in this position must be professional and entice the other party to make a purchase while also being warm, friendly, and patient. The sales caller is responsible for bringing on board new customers as well as keeping current ones loyal, and a lot of money is riding on this. It is more expensive to bring on board new customers than keep current ones, so sales call reps and customer service reps work hard to provide loyal customers with excellent phone conversations every time.
The numbers make this clear. On the positive side, studies show that businesses which boost customer retention rates by just 5% or so may expect profit increases from 25-95%, and a lot of this is in fact done by phone. A loyal customer is worth 10 times their initial purchase, and good managers and sales call reps alike know the importance (and technique) for keeping customers loyal for repeat purchases. Conversely, it may take just one phone conversation (even out of dozens) for a loyal customer to become offended and quit that company, and a new customer will almost certainly be turned away by bad phone service.
Why might this happen? The employee may have a bad personality or act impatient, pushy, or rude, or make it clear that they aren’t really listening to the customer (and thus no rapport is built). In other cases, the employee’s work environment is noisy with other phone calls and in-person conversations, which makes it difficult for each party to hear the other. Having to say “repeat that please” over and over will frustrate both parties, and the background noise may stress employees and increase their work error rates. None of that is acceptable, so a worker may choose to work remotely.
Working From Home
Some employees, such as single parents or those with poor transportation, may have little choice but to work remotely, while other employees work remotely out of preference. Either way, there are perks to enjoy. The remote employee’s house is a private and quiet environment, ideal for phone call quality and lowering stress levels. The employee may also choose their own work hours, which is helpful if they have another job or an odd sleep schedule. Independent contractors in particular may do this, since they aren’t often expected to attend meetings via Skype with office co-workers. What is more, remote employees don’t have to spend any time on commuting, and thus free up more time for work. And if need be, that employee can easily use their PC to send and receive all sorts of files with their co-workers via email and Cloud data storage services alike.