The idea of working from home often sounds like a pipe dream, especially as there are so many different scams out there. But, there are actually legitimate roles and jobs as well, providing that you know what to look for. In fact, this type of position is becoming increasingly popular, with many businesses realizing the advantage of having remote staff members.
In this case, we’re taking a look at legitimate customer service jobs from home, ones that actually have income potential. And, the roles do exist, although they may not be precisely what you were imagining. After all, the term customer service can be used in different ways and companies will vary in what they offer and what they expect you to do.
Legitimate Work From Home Customer Service Jobs
There are many individual jobs in the customer service field, including those that resemble traditional employment and others that are very different. There is considerable variation between the various options but there are also common themes. As a result, the approaches can be divided into general categories.
Customer service is essential for many different types of businesses, particularly those that sell a product or a service. Yet, hosting customer service in-house can get expensive quickly. For example, the company needs to provide the equipment and space for those employees, along with facilities like restrooms and refreshments. Once you count things like building rent and insurance, you can see that letting employees work from home can save you a lot of money.
There also isn’t any need for customer service representatives to be physically located in the company. Instead, companies can pay employees to work from home or they can outsource that work to another country. This is often much more efficient for the company, so many jobs like this do exist.
Because of how businesses operate there are two general types of customer services jobs, either you work for a company directly or you go through a service that hooks you up with a company. We’re going to take a look at both of those options but first, let’s consider what customer service jobs actually are and how they work.
Long Distance Assistants
In some cases, working in customer service may be a role like an office assistant, where you are expected to do other related tasks as well. In that case, what you're doing is similar to being a virtual assistant. But, most roles simply focus on customer service. You’ll often see these called either phone or virtual call center jobs.
As the name suggests, the tasks are similar to a traditional call center. As such, you are handling incoming and/or outgoing calls. Some jobs may also have you providing customer service through email and chat services.
Exactly what you have to say on the phone varies depending on the position. But, often you’ll be providing customer service for existing products and services, which can involve answering questions and stepping customers through any issues. Because of this, there may be training involved. Additionally, some companies will have more stringent requirements, especially if they want to maintain a good reputation.
Some positions may have you providing information about a single product or service, while others may mean that focusing on multiple different items, potentially from a range of companies.
As for payment, this can range. If you are hired as an employee, then the payment can be anywhere from the minimum wage to around $30 per hour. Near the minimum is typical, as relatively few customer service jobs require specific skills or specializations. Payment can be calculated on the per-call, per-minute or per-hour basis, depending on the company.
If you’re hired as an independent contractor instead and/or are working through a service, your income may be even more variable. In some cases, you could even be earning less than the minimum wage, so pay close attention to any information that is provided. When working this way, there can also be more startup costs.
The following sections describe the main types of customer service jobs, along with how to find them and what you can expect. But, you can also check out this powerful list, which highlights more than 150 different companies that hire people to do customer service from home.
At any given time, only some positions will be available and you may only be eligible for a fraction of them. But, it is a good starting point.
Going Through Online Sites And Services For Work
There are various services that aim to connect people wanting to do work with those willing to pay for it. The exact work is different depending on the company and the client. But, it typically involves answering calls and providing information. In some cases, this may be assistance with a specific type of issue. In other cases, your role may be more similar to that of a salesperson.
One such option is Liveops, which describes itself like this:
In the case of Liveops, you have to apply to join and there are various steps in the application process. This includes background checks and credit checks, which are at the cost of the applicant. There are also some certification programs involved. Completing those can potentially increase the odds of getting work – but you don’t get reimbursed for the time.
Because Liveops has a range of different clients, the amount that people can earn varies considerably. This means that there is no way to predict how much income you’ll get for your time or how much work will be available.
Reviews for the service are mixed. Some people find that they never get very far and aren’t able to earn a significant amount of money. Additionally, the service is tied into telemarketing. So, you often end up having to promote products and services that aren’t high quality, which can be unappealing.
Another issue is that the amount you can earn is based on the time you spend on the phone. As a result, you’re always limited by the number of calls that you receive. In some cases, you may not be getting that many calls, which would decrease the income potential significantly.
The list below highlights other similar services that are generally considered to be legitimate. Most of these require you to apply and you essentially become an employee or an independent contractor for the company. As with Lifeops, there is no guarantee about how much money you will earn – or if you will make money at all.
Many of these jobs will also have requirements. For example, you may need a dedicated phone line that isn’t a cell phone and your internet connection will have to be of a certain quality.
If you are going to try this type of service, it’s best to just look at one or two at a time. Each of them does take a while to get involved with and there are various costs. So, attempting too many at once may compromise your chance for success.
An Actual Customer Service Job
Some companies do offer fairly good jobs working from home and the positions can include customer service work. The idea does have advantages for the company, as it means they don’t have to worry about physical space for some employees, which can reduce costs.
You could find this type of position in the same way that you would find a regular job. That includes looking on sites like Indeed.com, along with hunting for local advertisements and even approaching companies.
In theory, this type of job can be effective but you still need to be careful. For one thing, many customer service jobs actually end up being mostly about sales. For example, this is the description of one such role:
In many cases, you may find that you only make money from the sales you make, rather than from customer service itself. If you’re good at making sales, that may be okay. But, that idea isn’t going to suit everyone. As a result, it’s important to read the description carefully to make sure that it is legitimate and matches what you want to do.
Job websites are a good place to start looking for this type of role. But, you might also search other places, such as company websites and online noticeboards. For example, Forbes offers a list of 100 legitimate companies that offer work at home jobs.
This list isn’t specific to customer service jobs and individual companies won’t always have openings. Still, if you’re willing to do a little digging, then this list isn’t a bad place to start.
One other thing to mention is that you have all the limitations of a regular job. This includes the challenge of actually getting the position and the fact that you’re directly working for someone else. As such, there will often be various requirements and you’ll probably be competing against others for the same position.
Even though you’re working from home, you may also have to keep regular hours and meet performance requirements. Doing so may be fine, especially if your main goal is simply the ability to work at home. Nevertheless, there are many more advantages in being your own boss.
Finding Good Jobs And Avoiding Scams
Working from home is a legitimate way to make money – and many different people have been successful at doing just that. Nevertheless, there is an excessive amount of scams out there and you have to pick through them to find anything remotely viable.
The various options in the previous sections are all approaches that can work as a way to make money with customer service at home. But, there are also other options out there and new approaches may arise over time. Because of this, it’s critical that you can determine which offers are legitimate and which ones are nothing but scams.
Thankfully, most of the scams out there use similar techniques, many of which are obvious. For example, you should avoid any site that makes excessive claims about how much you can earn for the work involved. This includes sites that say you can make thousands of dollars per week or those that feature ‘proof’ of income or images of boats, cars and mansions.
Another issue is vagueness. Many scam sites will tell you little about how you’re actually meant to be earning money, while legitimate sites tend to be honest about exactly what is involved. There are exceptions of course – but you will notice that conventional job ads do make sure you know all of the tasks involved before you commit to anything.
Any site that requires you to buy a handbook or a starter kit is also concerning.
Yes, there are legitimate cases where you have to buy a starter kit to be in a business. For example, the MLM Mary & Martha has members buy a $125 starter kit. But, in that case, you know roughly how you are making money beforehand, along with precisely what is in the kit.
In contrast, many scams require you to pay for the kit before you even find out the underlying mechanism. Often this means you end up paying $30 or more and are only given a PDF booklet or a flyer. This is precisely what happens with envelope stuffing scams, along with many other techniques.
So, any company and site that heavily relies on vagueness and unrealistic income claims is one to be wary of, especially if they force you to buy some type of kit to learn more. In contrast, legitimate opportunities are those that provide you with information up front and are able to answer questions about what you’ll be doing and why it works. This is true for customer service jobs and for any other field as well.
Being A Customer Service Freelancer
Whether you go through a service or apply for a traditional job at a company, most legitimate customer service jobs have the same general principles. In particular, you have little to no control over the amount of work you receive and you are subject to the terms and conditions of whoever you work for.
In many situations, this would be completely fine. If nothing else, the idea still lets you work from home and may be more appealing than a regular job at an office – especially if you face challenges with transportation or mobility. Nevertheless, there is also another approach, which is to freelance your skills.
Now, freelancing isn’t a job per se but it is one other way that you can make money from home with customer service. The key difference is that freelancers work for themselves, having clients instead of employers.
For example, freelancers have the ability to choose their own clients, along with the specific work they do. Over time, freelancers may end up building a significant customer base, which can lead to more income for the same amount of work.There are advantages and disadvantages to freelancing but it is a legitimate approach to customer service, as long as you can find good positions.
You could simply promote yourself as a freelancing customer service agent by building your own website or advertising on Fiverr. However, many people choose to rely on sites like Upwork and Freelancer instead. This type of site is designed to facilitate the relationship between freelancers and clients, so there is a wide range of jobs available. For example, some of the customer service entries on Upwork are as follows:
When freelancing, it’s still important to keep an eye out for scams. Some of the work offers that you find will just be fronts for scams or misleading jobs. This is particularly true if you are searching for work on Craigslist or similar locations. You'll often see network marketing positions offered as “jobs” even though you have to pay to join, then only get paid per sale. If you're looking for a paid per hour type of job, my advice is to avoid Craigslist in general.
Likewise, you need to seriously consider what you’re earning for the time requirement. For example, freelancers often find that they’re earning considerably less than the minimum wage, especially when they first get started. In some cases, you may end up with stressful and complicated tasks that don’t pay well.
As a result, it’s important to carefully read requirements and make sure you and your client reach and understanding before you start any work.
Overall, freelancing works as a way to earn money but doesn’t suit everyone. For one thing, you may not have a boss but managing clients can be difficult and stressful sometimes too. There is also relatively little security and it’s hard to know when a given job is going to work out well and when it won’t.
You also need to be able to manage your time effectively, to plan well and to be firm with clients, especially ones that are being unreasonable. If this sounds like you, then freelancing is one direction to consider.
Should You Do Customer Service From Home?
Customer service works can be viable as a way to make money at home, as long as you get involved with a good company and approach. Nevertheless, the idea isn’t a particularly amazing one.
The problem is that you’re still doing customer service. For the most part, customer service isn’t particularly fulfilling and it is often a frustrating and stressful role. It also tends to pay poorly, where you are frequently making at or near minimum wage. Growth potential is likely to be limited as well and many opportunities may not be around in the long-term.
This begs the question, why focus on customer service at all? The main advantage is just that you would be working from home – but there are other ways to do this as well.
My personal favorite approach is a concept called affiliate marketing. The idea is very different and you’re earning money by promoting products and services from other companies. For example, you could build a business focusing on the best makeup products from many different brands. Alternatively, you might consider surfboards as a topic, computer gear, or something else entirely.
One of the biggest advantages of doing so is that you’re working for yourself at home. So, you don’t have to actually find a job or please an employer. Instead, you’re creating your own income opportunity, which is a powerful idea. Affiliate marketing is also an online approach, so you can reach a wide audience.
There are many services out there that offer training but here's my personal recommendation. Not only is this a powerful education site but it also has a community that can help people to learn and develop their business effectively.
So are you still interested in doing customer service or will you strike out on your own to freelance? Will you build an affiliate website instead? Let's hear what you decided to do in the comment area!