How to Be a Home-Based Chat Agent
Gone are the days in which customer service and support is done only by phone. Many companies now offer online help through “chat” using instant online messaging. Many of these jobs require some tech related skills, but not all. Here is information about chat agent jobs, what it takes to be a chat agent, and a few sites to check for work.
What Do Chat Agents Do?
The short answer is that chat agents provide customer service and support. The types of support include helping people:
- Choose the best service or product for them
- Troubleshoot problems (i.e. web hosting issues)
- Answer questions
What Skills are Required to Become a Chat Agent?
The education and skills a chat agent needs depends on the company doing the hiring. For example, a web hosting company is looking for chat agents that can troubleshoot technical problems with a client’s website. However, some companies hire chat agents to help customers with shopping or answer questions about products and services.
Basic skills you need include:
- Knowledge and comfort of working with online chat platforms
- Ability to type quickly and accurately
- Ability to “chat” clearly and concisely so that clients understand what you mean
- A great command of language. In most cases, you’ll need to know English, but on occasion, there are bilingual chat jobs
- Customer service and/or chat experience. Some companies want sales experience, as well.
- Ability to multi-task. Some companies want you to be able to handle several chats at a time
- You may need to complete tasks or pass tests during the application process
What Equipment Do You Need to Become a Chat Agent?
Obviously, you need a computer and Internet access. Many companies ask that you have:
- High-speed Internet access. Dial-up will be too slow for online chat. Some companies don’t want you to use wireless access either.
- Specific type of computer. Some jobs say PC-owners only, while others will be looking for Mac users
- 40+ words per minute typing speed. Some companies require faster speeds.
What is the Pay and Work Schedule Like for a Chat Agent?
Pay and schedules vary depending on the company. Pay averages $9 to $15 per hour depending on the company. Most companies want at least part time (20 hours per week) commitment and set work hours, but others are completely flexible. Most of these jobs hire workers as “contractors”, so they don’t offer benefits or other perks. However, contract status means you might be eligible for tax advantages, such as home office deductions.
Where Can I Find Chat Agent Jobs?
Below are a list of places that hire chat agents. Not all may be hiring at this time. Some have other work options such as phone customer support.
Needle – works a little different than most chat jobs. You can earn money or points by helping customers in its online store.
SiteStaff (chat host)
Uber – Email support
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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