Have you ever called a customer service hotline and wondered where your call was forwarded? In the past, major companies outsourced their customer service departments to exotic locations like India, China and Pakistan. However, thanks to the rise of U.S.-based business process outsourcing firms, much of customer service is handled by U.S. or Canada-based virtual agents who might live anywhere, even next door to you.

This means that you too can become a customer service representative, and right in the comfort of your own home. The requirements for becoming a customer service representative aren’t much; typically, you’re required to have a computer, high-speed Internet connection, landline phone, headset and a dedicated quiet area. Most work-at-home customer service companies will also train you to get you up to speed. Customer service reps earn between $7.50-$16/hour on average.

Help companies and get paid to do so.

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So, what companies can you sign up with to learn more about and become a work-at-home customer service rep? Read on.

1. ACD Direct

This company focuses on providing call center support for non-profit pledge drives and fundraisers. You are paid as an independent contractor at the starting rate of 23 cents/minute and can go as high as 35 cents/minute via bonus pay and raises. However, the minutes are only earned while you are on the phone. Thus, if you work during non-peak hours, you will not earn very much money. This also means that, if you are just starting out with ACD, you will be earning very little because the senior ICs get first dibs on time slots.

However, on the positive side of things, you will be taking calls for charities and other do-good organizations; since most of your calls will be from folks wanting to give money rather than complain, the stress level of this type of work is low.

2. Active Network 

This company specializes in online event management for outfits like IronMan, Kraft, YMCA, State of California, etc. Most of Active Network’s customer service jobs are offered through its on-site locations; however, there is also a batch of work-at-home jobs that are offered through the company’s Work-at-Home Department on a part-time and seasonal basis. It also appears that the company offers a certain percentage of its part-time work-at-home workers a chance to go full-time.

The starting pay is $7.50/hour, which is a bit on the low end and accounts for many of the complaints about the company on sites like Glassdoor. Another downside to Active Network is that it hires work-at-home workers from just 19 states. Otherwise, it appears that the company offers pretty easy work and great support staff.

3. Apple

Yes, you too can work for Apple- and all from the comfort of your own home. At Applecare, you can become an At-home Advisor (i.e., Customer Service and Support) and help customers with their iPhones, iPads, iMacs and other iThings. The company hires its at-home workers as employees and requires 20 hour workweeks via 6 hour shifts. Occasional weekend time may be required.

The pay at Apple seems better than at most other at-home companies; pay scales range from $11-$16/hour. You also get some great employee benefits including health insurance, 401(k), plus an iMac (for business use only).

Apple’s at-home jobs are listed as city and state-specific and not all cities and states are represented. However, from what I’ve heard, if you at least live in the same state as the job is offered- even if the exact city is different- you should apply anyway.

4. NCO Group

This Pennsylvania-based company offers work-at-home customer service jobs and pays $10-$12/hour. A good amount of the work involves making collections calls, which is great if you don’t mind making people sweat- though it’s not a job I would personally favor. Other jobs include technical support and sales calls.

What is really nice about NCO is that it hires workers as full-time employees and offers benefits such as health, disability and life insurance as well as 401(k) retirement plans. Employees also have access to the company’s employee assistance program or EAP.

5. Needle

Most customer service jobs require that your work environment have no background noise; this can be an issue if you have small children or (in my case) an over-protective dog. Enter Needle, a work-from-home customer service chat company.

Needle helps online shoppers better navigate through online retail sites by contracting knowledgeable sales chat agents such as yourself. With this kind of work, it helps if you have some sales experience- but it’s not required. Pay starts at $10/hour and you can also earn points that are redeemable for stuff at the Needle store.

6. Pleio GoodStart 

This company hires customer service agents that help people with their medication routines. In other words, as a Pleio Goodstart agent, you will be calling people and reminding them to take their medication and/or providing information about their prescriptions. You will also spend some time actively recruiting people to sign-up for the GoodStart program.

This company pays from $8-$16/hour depending on how many individuals you call and how many calls you actually complete. GoodStart sign-ups also earn you extra money. You are hired as an IC and the work is temporary (about 12 weeks) with some chance at obtaining a permanent position.

7. teleNetwork

If you’re handy with computers and other IT items and/or have IT support experience, this company may be for you. teleNetwork offers full-time work-at-home IT technical support jobs that pay $8-$9/hour; there are opportunities to earn $1 raises as you gain seniority. The company offers plenty of benefits to its employees including health, dental and vision insurance, vacation time and holiday pay. You may also earn commissions based on product upselling.

The main disadvantage with teleNetwork is that you can work for it only if you live in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah or Texas. Likewise, there seem to be some glitches in teleNetwork’s management, as noted on several Glassdoor reports.

Additional work-at-home customer service jobs

Click here if you’d like to peruse even more work from home customer service jobs. Just be aware that this list was compiled in 2009, so it could be a bit out-of-date.

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Join the Discussion

  • Annie Mouse
    Annie Mouse

    teleNetwork is a great place to work. The company’s owner is the best boss I’ve ever had the pleasure of working for. He is fair and kind and goes out of his way for his employees. It’s a fantastic place to learn the ropes and gain management skills. Lots of employees choose to work from home and do so successfully. Though it is a call center environment, it is not uncommon to work with employees who have been with the company more than 7 years. Which speaks highly of the culture they create throughout the company.

  • laura

    I have actually worked for Apple through Kelly connect. I was always paid on time. Never missed a payment, they had benefits and it is a very real and legitimate company. Go for it.

  • April

    Anyone tried apple with kelly connect of so do they pay to train. ….. Our do any pay to train

    • Anoni

      Yes, paid training. Pay is 10.00/hr

  • Heather Smith
    Heather Smith

    Customer Service Jobs with Carnival including many work from home jobs available. http://jobs.carnival.com/

  • Halina

    Thank you for your feedback, Anony Mous! So, it seems like there are different pay scales at Needle, perhaps set by the client companies.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    Needle pays $10/hr for some companies and $1.05 per chat for other companies.

  • Joell

    Just an FYI for teleNetwork you have to be using windows.

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