In this time and age, especially with the pandemic around, more companies outsource their customer service, which is why it is not surprising that there is an increasing number of chat agent jobs these days. If you want to try your luck in this industry? Well, you are in the right place as we are going to share with you how.
The current situation not just in the country but all over the world leads people to look for other possible ways to make a living without having to sacrifice health and safety.
With the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic still going around, many workers are starting to look for better options. Needless to say, because of the lockdowns that occurred earlier this year, a lot of people lost their jobs, too.
Outsourcing customer service is not new to the business industry. In fact, it has been around for a while now.
More popularly known as business process outsourcing (BPO), this industry provided businesses and companies’ services particularly on customer service.
According to a report by IBIS World, the BPO services in the United States have reached a $132.9bn market size in 2020. Furthermore, the report states that there was a 1.6% market size growth in the industry in the U.S. alone this year.
Meanwhile, an article published by Statista, it says that in 2017, “the global market size of outsourced services was valued at 88.9 billion U.S. dollars, increasing with 12 billion dollars from the previous year“. As with its sub-category, which is the BPO, the global industry revenue was $24.5 billion in 2017.
By the way, for clarity, business process outsourcing or BPO refers to the act of “contracting out of specific business processes, usually either internal business functions (back office), such as human resources, or customer-related functions (front office) like customer care operations in call centers,” according to Statista report.
A chat agent job is part of the BPO industry. Technically, there are three popular ways of providing customer service, through calls, e-mails, and live chats. Today, however, we are going to focus on chat agent jobs.
As mentioned earlier, while in the past, companies hire agents to work on-site, today, more and more companies are offering BPO jobs from home. Companies believe it’s equally efficient as those reporting to the office to work.
Working as a chat agent is absolutely one of the best work from home jobs especially for those who do not like call-related jobs or those that require taking phone calls.
So, with that said, for your reference, here are the key points that we are going to discuss to help you fully know and understand the industry – Basically, the important information you need to know to be able to know how to get into chat agent jobs.
- What is a chat agent?
- What does a chat agent do?
- Who qualifies to become a chat agent from home?
- How much does a chat agent make?
- Where to find remote chat agent jobs online?
WHAT IS A CHAT AGENT?
First of all, before you even start applying for chat agent jobs from home, it is important that you fully know and understand what the job is all about.
We bet you, it’s hard to just put yourself out there without knowing the facts about the job as there is a huge competition, and you might just end up not getting the position because of your lack of knowledge about the job.
Anyway, a chat agent is someone who communicates with customers either through live chat or email.
As a chat agent, your job involves answering questions regarding the products or services that the account you are handling provides, you may also assist in solving problems, as well as handle troubleshooting.
Chat agents function on the front line of customer service. Thus, it is important that as a chat agent, you are comfortable communicating directly with customers.
As mentioned earlier, while there are companies that hire chat agents to work on-site or in the office, these days, more and more companies hire chat agents who prefer working remotely.
Although in most cases, a customer service experience is required, other companies welcome those who are totally new to the industry as long as the candidate can be trained and is willing to learn the ins and outs of the industry.
WHAT DOES A CHAT AGENT DO?
Now, to help you know and understand further what is expected of you as a chat agent, in this section, we are going to provide you with some of the common duties and responsibilities of a chat agent, which include the following:
- Responds promptly to customer queries. As a chat agent, you add value to the company or business account you are handling. Thus, it is important to receive and respond to customer queries in a very timely manner. Do not worry though as char agents do have protocols to follow in order to be able to resolve customer issues and concerns.
- Document customer issues/concerns and resolutions. As a chat agent, you have to thoroughly document every customer issue or concern and the corresponding resolution to every problem. This helps improve the organization’s overall efficiency as well as functionality.
- Remain up to date on all products and services offered by the company/business. As a chat agent, it is also part of your job to learn about new product offerings, which customers may be more likely to ask questions about.
Again, these are just some of the common duties and responsibilities of a chat agent. There surely are more that can be added to this list depending on the company or business entity you are providing your customer service job for.
Meanwhile, if you want to particularly learn how to do chat support, here’s an informative video by VA Bootcamp that will provide you with that information:
WHO QUALIFIES TO BECOME A CHAT AGENT FROM HOME?
In this section, we are going to talk about the qualifications required in order to land a chat agent job.
Surely, there are a lot of chat agent jobs out there. But earlier we mentioned competition. Yes, the BPO industry is a very competitive industry. Thus, it is important that you are fully competent for the job in order to land in one.
While every organization does have their set of qualifications for a chat agent, here are some of the most popular ones that you need to have to become successful in this field:
Excellent communication skills.
This is actually given since the job mostly requires customer interaction in the form of online chat or email. As a chat agent, you must be able to communicate clearly and efficiently to be able to resolve or answer any issues or questions as quickly as possible.
Strong customer service skills.
As a chat agent, you work directly with customers to help solve issues as well as answer inquiries. With that said, it is vital to have strong customer service skills especially when it comes to handling difficult customers.
You are going to perform your job using a computer on a day to day basis. Thus, it is only right that you know how to operate a computer especially when it comes to checking and responding to emails and utilizing chat services and software.
Strong organizational skills.
As a chat agent, you are required to document each problem as well as the corresponding resolution. With such a requirement, strong organizational skills will help ensure that you are able to effectively document as well as sort large amounts of information.
Excellent problem-solving skills.
The ability to solve problems is a vital part of being a chat agent. When a problem is presented to you, you must be able to quickly address it calmly and efficiently regardless if the customer is becoming impatient or rude.
HOW MUCH DOES A CHAT AGENT MAKE?
Of course, one of the most important things you need to know is the cost of becoming a chat agent.
Technically speaking, how much a chat agent makes depends on several factors including experience, expertise, work hours (full-time or part-time), the company where you are working for, your contract (regular employment or project-based), as well as the type of account you’re going to handle.
However, to give you an idea about the salary rate, according to ZipRecruiter, chat agents in the United States makes a national average of $26,702 per year or $13 per hour.
Again, the rate varies — it could be as low as $18,500 per year up to $35,000 per year.
If you want to know exactly how much you are going to make, it would most likely be available during the recruitment process.
WHERE TO FIND REMOTE AGENT JOBS ONLINE?
At this point, we are going to provide you with some of the most popular companies that provide chat agent jobs from home.
Hopefully, the list below will help you as you embark into the world of online customer service.
If you are ready, then, let’s begin with —
LiveWorld is a “digital agency and software company specializing in social media solutions that help companies build stronger customer relationships”. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California.
LiveWorld is known to work with clients coming from a variety of industries like healthcare. The company is particularly known for providing customer service through social media channels.
As a chat agent for the company, your tasks include responding to customer inquiries, joining in conversations where a brand is mentioned, translating user content, as well as tracking social sentiment.
LiveWorld chat agent jobs are available most especially for bilingual agents who speak French, Italian, Danish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Swedish, as well as Spanish. Agent chat jobs on LiveWorld are generally on a part-time basis only and are paid at an hourly rate.
The Chat Shop
The Chat Shot is based in the United Kingdom. However, the company offers live support to a lot of large brands all over the world.
As the company name states, they hire chat agents to represent their customers from across different industries.
Although based in the UK, The Chat Shop hires remote chat agents not only in the UK but in the United States as well. The company’s chat agents are particularly responsible for providing both customer support and sales.
As The Chat Shop chat agent, you are required to commit 20 to 40 hours of work per week, which includes weekends. To qualify, you have to be fluent in speaking the English language and must have the ability to type at least 65 words per minute with 97% accuracy.
The Chat Shop pays chat agents at $10 per hour.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Just Answer is an online question and answer platform that connects visitors to knowledgeable users in various categories like automotive, legal, medical, tech support, as well as veterinary.
Because of the kind of service Just Answer provides, it is not surprising that the company particularly look for experts to provide answers to questions related to their industry or field.
To be able to land a chat agent job at Just Answer, you must be able to provide certification in your field. Additionally, you must have at least two years of research experience, as well as a bachelor’s degree holder.
Please note that Just Answer “expert” chat agents are hired as independent contractors, and could earn between 10% and 50% of what the customer pays for the answer they need.
Formerly known as Metaverse ModSquad, ModSquad “provides on-demand customer support, content moderation, social media, and community management services globally”.
Based in Sacramento, California, the company currently has more than 10,000 moderators within its network.
ModSquad hires chat agents, which they particularly call Mods, to provide service to their clients from different industries like entertainment, publishing, gaming, sports, as well as education.
As a chat agent for ModSquad, your primary job is to provide not only customer service but social media moderation as well.
Chat agents working for the company are considered independent contractors, which means you get to set your own working hours. However, generally, chat agents are limited to not more than 60 hours per week.
It is important to note, though, that ModSquad particularly looks for bilingual chat agents in various languages. Also, unfortunately, the company does not pay overtime pay. So, manage your work hours wisely.
As stated on its website, “Needle would go one better by serving chat with Advocates – brand ambassadors who live and breathe the product line – to guide shoppers from curiosity to purchase. The live chat customer experience with Needle would be like shopping with an expert.”
That basically is the kind of service you get to experience from Needle.
Now, the company hires independent chat agents to particularly assist with sales for their clients, which comes from various industries.
Unlike other companies, Needle’s model uses chat agents who are already customers or fans of a brand to provide shoppers with the type of experience as if she is talking to a peer to be able to sell.
Needle chat agents, which they call Advocates earn on points, which is based on an incentive structure. The points can be used either to buy products through the company’s redemption catalog.
Needle’s chat agents are hired as independent contractors, which means you can set your own working hours depending on when you feel most comfortable working.
Headquartered in Fremont, California, Concentrix is a very well-known American business service company.
The company is a subsidiary of SYNNEX Corporation, a technology-enabled global business services company that specializes in customer engagement, as well as in improving performance for some of the best brands in the world.
Concentrix provides chat agent jobs not just in the United States, but in other parts of the world as well.
As an online chat associate, you are responsible in providing basic to complex technical support.
Chat agents in Concentrix earn an average pay of $10 to $12 per hour.
LiveChat is a popular online customer service software that comes with an online chat, web analytics capabilities, as well as help desk software.
It was launched in 2002, and right now, it developed and offered in a SaaS business model by LiveChat Software S.A.
Obviously, the company provides chat agent jobs particularly for those who have excellent typing skills. Ideally, those who could type at least 40 words per minute, as well as those with a strong command of the English language.
Although unlike other companies that provide remote chat agent jobs on a regular basis, LiveChat only hires remote workers during unexpected situations like in the current case, the pandemic.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON FINDING CHAT AGENT JOBS
Times have definitely changed. Back in the days, you only get customer support on a face-to-face basis, and then it evolved to phone calls, and now, chat or email support.
More so, before, people are only allowed to work in the office. Today, with special thanks to technology and the internet, companies have become more open to providing work from home opportunities including customer support jobs like that of a chat agent.
As mentioned, especially during these days, the customer service support industry has learned to cope with the people’s needs – both customers and workers.
It’s nice knowing that today there is a growing number of opportunities for chat agents, making it one of the most ideal jobs for people who prefer working from home, and most especially to those who are not into taking phone jobs.
Having learned about all this information, are you excited to take the plunge and try out becoming a chat agent?