With just a few small investments in training and equipment, you can start an at-home inbound call business and create a work schedule that’s flexible and sometimes lucrative.
Many WAHMs find that inbound calling is a great business to start at home. Though you won’t have your own business, but will work other companies, you can control much about your work environment.
What is inbound calling?
First, let’s understand our terms. Inbound calling refers to calls that you answer for companies. Usually it’s to take orders, but it can also be to perform certain customer service tasks.
There are many companies (like FedEx, 1-800-Flowers.com and HSN, to name a few) that contract with other companies to do inbound calling. You are hired by the company that has a contract with, say, FedEx, as an independent contractor. Usually there will be tests, trials and others criteria to determine if you are the right fit for the company.
Most often, you can choose the hours you work, though some companies might require a set schedule from you. When you are “at work”, you will answer calls for the company, routing them to the appropriate place, or taking orders (you will be logged into a site that allows you to input the order) or performing customer service tasks like allowing people to pay on a bill, or change an address, or ask questions about items.
How can you do this at home?
Once you decide that inbound calling is for you, you have to take several steps. First, apply with companies that contract to do this kind of work. As you go through the application process, you will find that each company has different requirements for you. Some might ask you to incorporate your business, which is an investment on your part. Others will let you operate as an independent contractor.
There will be requirements for equipment. For example, you will be required to have high-speed internet access and most likely a wireless headset along with a landline phone (not a cordless phone). Some might require – or suggest – that you have a dedicated phone line.
As you work through the application process, you might be given written tests on the particular company you will work for, and you will also likely be given verbal tests, where someone will call you and act like a customer. They will be able to judge how well you would do in a real situation.
Don’t assume that you must have inbound calling experience to do this at home. Although if you have done this in the workplace before you might have a better chance of getting the job, people who have no experience at this also manage to get hired. If you can find your way around the internet, and can talk articulately and clearly, you can do this job.
Is inbound calling right for you?
If you are a mom who works at home, you might think that taking calls is dangerous. The kids might be noisy, or you might have little time to work when the kids aren’t around.
Most moms who work at home doing inbound calling will purchase a noise-cancelling headset. This ensures that no matter what noisy activity is swirling around you, it won’t be heard through your headset. Although you can work during the day when the kids are home, you can also schedule yourself to work on weekends or at night when the kids can be otherwise occupied.
Although there can be an investment up front for those looking to do inbound calling from home, doing this kind of work can be interesting, lucrative and is great for the social mom who wants to work at home but doesn’t want to give up talking to other adults.