Being a home based agent has a lot of benefits. You can easily define your own hours, you do not have to commute to work and there will be more time for your family. It’s fairly easy to work from home now that a lot of companies are preferring this setup. Below are some of the basic equipment you need to get you started on being a home based call center agent.
Technology is advancing so fast that what would seem impossible ten years ago can easily be done nowadays. With the advent of internet, more and more people can now have a stable job and take care of their home. Home based call center agents are expanding in number exponentially over the decade.
Home based agent’s Holy Trinity
Essentially, there are three basic things you need to start working home based: a headset, computer and internet connection.
In the market right now, there are dozens of headsets available. These are the things you need to consider when choosing one for call center work:
-Noise Cancelling Microphone
Working with only calls limits your communication over the phone. The key to having a successful call is both parties should understand each other perfectly. For that to happen, you need to have headsets with microphones that have noise cancellation features. Background noise is a big turn off for most people. It can also seem unprofessional and may cause your customer to prematurely hang up on you.
A good way to test if your microphone has clear audio is to record yourself using your equipment. Also, take note that a good microphone should have a foam windscreen over it to reduce the amount of the air it picks up. A foam windscreen is the small sponge-like tip covering the microphone. This is usually used in boom mics and by professional studios.
Having the customer understand you is one thing but understanding the customer is another. It’s good that your voice is heard properly but it is as equally important that you hear your customer clearly as well. Communication is a two-way process you should both understand each other. Noise cancellation headsets can help you in this. Noise cancellation means that you are receiving the audio and the excess noise is being minimized by the headsets.
A good way to know if you have quality headsets is to listen to a song with lyrics. If you can hear the small pop of the letter ‘p’ when it is being pronounced then it has good audio. Also, it should sound like it has good bass and not like it comes from a tin can. The sounds of drums should sound like it’s round rather than flat.
There is also a debate between wireless headphones and corded phones. The best sounding ones are actually the corded headphones. The more direct the line to your headphones are, the crisper the sound.
A good headset can range anywhere from $25 to $1,000. It really depends on which brand you choose. Investing in a good headset is a must when you are working in a home based call center. It affects not only the quality of your work but your productivity as well.
A good computer is everything when it comes to home based call center agents. Without an incompatible computer, your entire work can be jeopardized. Agents would often buy just any ordinary computer but this should not be. There are some computers that you buy that are more expensive than others but do not actually have the specifications that you need. Here are some of the minimum specs that are required in a call center setup:
• Processor – 1 GHz Intel Pentium P4 processor or better
• Memory – minimum of 2 GB of RAM Memory (the higher the better)
• Operating System – must be one of the following: Windows Vista Professional Edition, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 (Please note that Windows 10 is not compatible with some programs. Always consult with the company first.)
• Browser – Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, Google Chrome (latest version)
• Java – must be Java 8.4 or higher (this is a plug-in that you install on your computer)
• Monitor – must be capable of displaying at least 1024 X 768 pixels in at least 15” in width.
• Virus and spyware protection software and a working firewall. Windows firewall be fine, but sometimes purchase of another spyware software is required.
• Software programs that may be required includes Microsoft Office (Microsoft Word and Excel), WinZip and/or Adobe Acrobat reader. (Again, consult with the company first)
• Graphics Card – This is optional depending on the line of work that you do. There are times when this is not needed but if you edit graphics or deal with a lot of visuals in your work, 1GB of graphics card is a good start.
It also good to take note that there are some companies that have their own specifications for their own programs. Consult with them first.
The internet is your lifeline when it comes to your work. You should have a stable internet connection at all times to ensure that you do not loss your progress with your work. As with all connections, cables are usually the best. Thick cables are almost guaranteed to have a stronger connection. If you have an option of having a DSL line or fiber lines, go for it. The speed for your internet should be at least 2 Mbps. Do not connect via WiFi. Always have a direct line with your modem.
There are some companies that require a specific speed. Again, consult with your company first.